Community Arts Education

Posted by José Ochoa On March - 5 - 20101 COMMENT

Thank you for visiting this blog. Over the next few months I look forward to an exciting dialogue from many diverse voices about the future of community arts education.  I hope you will subscribe to the feed so you can keep up with this important discussion.

My earliest memory of a community arts experience was when my parents enrolled my sister and me in a community theatre program in League City, Texas when we were in elementary school.  I brought home a flyer from school from the local playhouse and I thought the black and white drawing of a mime and stage lights looked very exciting. We went to theatre class for several weeks and then we ‘put on a play.’  The unforgettable smell of wet paint and cut lumber as the set was being constructed, the hours of memorizing lines, the heat of the stage lights, and the excitement of our first opening night are all things that I’ve never forgotten. Although it was years before I would return to the world of theatre, I was hooked.

The Nationals Guild’s Green Paper beautifully describes the diverse field of community arts education with “more than 5,000 nonprofit, arts organizations and government agencies are providing professionally-led, direct instruction in the arts to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities in community settings “ Whether it be community music schools in Chicago, Illinois or Whitefish, Montana, civic ballet organizations like the Greenville Civic Ballet in North Carolina, visual arts centers such as Inner-City Arts in the heart of Skid Row in Los Angeles, or a playhouse in a small Texas town, community arts providers throughout the nation are providing opportunities in the arts that are “essential to individual fulfillment and community life.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Residency Green Paper states that: The first artists’ residencies were developed in the late 1800’s…(and were) not about retreat from the industry and fierceness of the city, but rather about advancing a different way of life.  Residencies have nurtured the creative development of artists like Marcel Duchamp, Alice Walker, and Leonard Bernstein… Surely no one would argue against the benefit of that time to those artists (and many more) and that their work has added tremendous value to our society as a whole.  It is a great community service that they provide.

Fast forward to 2010 when there are over 400 residencies in the US alone.  Like the towns, cities, and woods that they exist in and the people who run their programs and sit on their boards – they are all different. Many residencies do not offer retreat but instead require some type of a more public community outreach or work exchange. Looking out – community outreach can have a great impact on the locals who are involved and can also attract funding. Looking in – meaningful community service can have a tremendous impact on the direction of one’s work, on the direction one takes in their art career, and in the actions one takes in the communities that they settle in. The goal then is to make sure that community service and work requirements enhance the residency experience and that the AiRs take ownership of the good work that they do outside of their studio space. In other words – the goal is to provide experiences that are specific and meaningful to that individual.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Securing private funding is more competitive than ever given this current recession. So, how do we make the case for supporting the arts and how do we maintain a vital relationship with the private sector in spite of the funding downturn? How do we define the relevance of the arts to business in the face of urgent and basic social needs?

Our Private Sector Initiatives department at Americans for the Arts is leading efforts to stimulate additional support from the three major areas of the private sector: business, foundations, and individuals.

As part of our efforts, we are planning two interactive opportunities for the public to weigh in on the future of private sector support. The first is a blog salon for the week of March 8, 2010, focusing on building awareness about why and how the private sector supports the arts. This salon event will appear on ARTSblog, with a team of 20 bloggers from the private sector and local arts agencies contributing to the cause. Some of the authors include Diane Swonk, Chief Economist for Mesirow Financial; Gary Steuer, Chief Cultural Officer for the City of Philadelphia; Janet Brown, Executive Director, Grantmakers in the Arts; Colin Tweedy, Chief Executive, Arts & Business UK; Larry Thompson, President of Ringling College; Mark Brewer, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Central Florida, Inc., and many others. The bloggers will attemp to answer these questions and raise issues of their own. Read the rest of this entry »

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I am now a little over four days removed from attendance at an event that reinforced my belief in my profession.  Not that I really needed any reinforcement – I have always believed in the work that we do – but every once in a while it’s nice to experience a moment that solidifies all of the thoughts and reasons we have for our work.

I spent last week in Santa Clara, California, with 120 high school students from 32 states.  The event was the National High School Honors Orchestra, and I had the honor of serving as the chair for the event.  With the help of a hand-picked staff of eleven of the best music educators (and dear friends) from all over the country, the guidance of the phenomenal Maestro Raymond Harvey, and lots of administrative assistance from the talented ASTA staff, we brought these 120 individuals together on Tuesday afternoon for a week that one student would later refer to as “one of the best experiences of my life.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Over the past few months, questions about the creative economy have lit up the phone lines at Americans for the Arts. Members are interested in learning of examples of communities where efforts are thriving; others want to build successful initiatives to engage their local community in the support and promotion of the creative economy; and some members are just wondering what the “creative economy” is all about.

The discussion on the the topic has taken on a high profile around the country (and around the globe) over the past decade. In 2002, Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class highlighted the need for creativity as an asset in the economy. Communities across the country face challenges in attracting and retaining highly skilled workers, developing creative industries, as well as expanding for creative products and services.

A creative economy is dependent on a creative workforce and the presence of creative industries—for-profit and nonprofit businesses involved in the creation or distribution of the arts. They are businesses that we participate in for enjoyment (seeing a movie, attending a concert, or reading a novel); engage in for business (architecture, design, musical instrument manufacturing); and invest in to enrich community livability (museums, public art, performing arts centers). Creative industries contribute to economic growth by attracting a dynamic workforce, serving as a destination for cultural tourism, and creating exportable cultural products. Read the rest of this entry »

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Brian Reich

Brian Reich, managing director of little m media, is leading a Social Media 101 webinar this coming Wednesday, March 3 and he’d love to address any burning questions you may have on the topic. You can submit a question by adding a comment to this blog post.

  • The webinar is free for Americans for the Arts members and Half-Century Summit registrants
  • It takes place from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. EST on March 3
  • Click here to register

Brian’s webinar will address how organizations can better understand ways people get and share information and how this can impact marketing and communications work. The webinar is meant as an introductory primer to deeper conversations about social media that will take place this June at the Half-Century Summit in Baltimore.

This month is proving to be one heck of a roller coaster ride for arts education advocates. On the up side, a U.S. Department of Education “stakeholders” meeting on the reauthorization of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was ground breaking in that it was the first time that the national arts education community had been invited to specifically address the reauthorization policy efforts. On the other hand, on the heels of that meeting, the White House unveiled an education budget that eliminated the 40 million that was allocated specifically to arts education.

While it will be argued that arts education is not eliminated from the budget, just reassigned under other programs, we cannot let this pass by without pause. Reassigning arts education to broader categories and taking the words “arts education” off the budget pages, effectively is a signal of importance–or rather lack of importance in the minds of the officials who have oversight of the budget. This is a terrible move, and one which cannot no go unaddressed. Arts education is core to NCLB, and thus must remain core to the budget and how the budget is outlined in print. But beyond rhetoric, arts education is truly core to how we are as a people in society and how our children will learn to be engaged citizens.  Read the rest of this entry »

HUB-BUB artists-in-residence

Posted by Alix Refshauge On February - 19 - 20101 COMMENT

I’m crawling out from a mountain of artists-in-residence applications to post my very first Green Paper blog entry and further introduce myself and HUB-BUB.  If you’ve read my bio, you know that I’ve spent the last 3 blissful years running the AiR Program at HUB-BUB.  Blissful because each year I really get to know 4 of the most interesting and talented emerging artists/writers in the country who are in residence at HUB-BUB.  During their time here, it’s my job to accommodate their needs, get them connected in our community, learn from them, be their friend, and help them make the most of this awesome experience.  Blissful because my colleagues in the HUB-BUB office are not only the most passionate and talented people I’ve ever known, but they are good friends who are open to ideas and make working 50-60 hour work weeks fun.  Our volunteers and board members are a huge part of the happy HUB-BUB family that makes my world go round.  Blissful because Spartanburg is a town that encourages citizen involvement – it is possible to have a tremendous impact here.  And blissful because the field of artists-in-residence programs is full of good, capable, passionate people who make a difference everyday in the lives of the artists who they work with and the communities that they work in.  The residency field is fortunate to have the Alliance of Artists Communities and their dedicated staff and board who help connect us, educate us, and keep us happy.  Is what I am trying to say is – life is good. Read the rest of this entry »

In this ARTcast, Nina Ozlu Tunceli, Chief Counsel of Government and Public Affairs at Americans for the Arts, discusses President Obama’s proposed 2011 budget, the effects it could have on arts funding, and how arts advocates can help fight for increased funding for the arts. For more information on the president’s budget, click here.

Welcome to the Green Paper discussion on The Future of the Public Voice in Arts Advocacy. We encourage you to read the full Green Paper available in the tab above and make general comments at this time. Be sure to keep your comments brief—Mike Latvis, the Ambassador for this Green Paper will soon begin deeper, threaded conversations around specific paragraphs, sections or themes that appear in this Green Paper. Follow this conversation thoroughly by adding the The Future of the Public Voice in Arts Advocacy feed to your RSS reader!

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Americans for the Arts announces a March 1 deadline for applications for its Professional Development Fund for Emerging Arts Leaders of Color. A total of five Joyce Fellows from the Great Lakes region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin) will be chosen to participate in this year-long program in 2010/11. Fellows will receive stipends of $3,000 to support their attendance at the 2010 Americans for the Arts Half Century Summit, the 2010 National Arts Marketing Project Conference, Arts Advocacy Day 2011. In addition, fellows will have special opportunities to meet field leaders, work alongside mentors, and receive individualized career coaching. The fellowships are made possible with support from the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation.

Visit Americans for the Arts website to download application materials and eligibility information.  Questions?  Contact Stephanie Evans, Local Arts Agency Services Coordinator, at or 202-371-2830.

Welcome to the Green Paper discussion on Artists’ and Arts Organizations’ Preparedness and Emergency Response. We encourage you to read the full Green Paper available in the tab above and make general comments at this time. Be sure to keep your comments brief—Matthew Deleget, the Ambassador for this Green Paper will soon begin deeper, threaded conversations around specific paragraphs, sections or themes that appear in this Green Paper. Follow this conversation thoroughly by adding the Artists’ and Arts Organizations’ Preparedness and Emergency Response feed to your RSS reader!

Although 2010 is just underway, most states are in the process of preparing budgets for FY 2011 (and beyond). Coming into this year it was known that the next few budget cycles would be difficult for a large portion of states, and arts advocates would be in for a battle in many cases.

Unfortunately, so far that is the case if proposed budgets by governors are taken at face value; however, experts agree that if states can hang on for another year or two, the recession’s impact will finally end, and recovery will begin to advance at a more rapid pace.

Here’s a quick look at current proposed state arts budgets:

One of the most drastic cuts proposed so far was in Rhode Island where Gov. Donald Carcieri offered to eliminate the state arts agency’s entire $700,000 grants budget. In Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer has proposed a $2 million allocation for the Arizona Commission for the Arts, down from $4.9 million just a few years ago. Also, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is not only proposing to cut the Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism’s general fund in half, but he also wants to eliminate the position of Lieutenant Governor, who oversees the department. Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to the Green Paper discussion on Artists’ Residency Programs. We encourage you to read the full Green Paper and make general comments at this time. Be sure to keep your comments brief—Alix Refshauge, the Ambassador for this Green Paper will soon begin deeper, threaded conversations around specific paragraphs, sections or themes that appear in this Green Paper. Follow this conversation thoroughly by adding the Artists’ Residency Programs feed to your RSS reader!

Green Paper: Arts Education

Posted by Rob Davidson On February - 16 - 20106 COMMENTS

Welcome to the Green Paper discussion on Arts Education. We encourage you to read the full Green Paper available in the tab above and make general comments at this time. Be sure to keep your comments brief—Rob Davidson, the Ambassador for this Green Paper will soon begin deeper, threaded conversations around specific paragraphs, sections or themes that appear in this Green Paper. Follow this conversation thoroughly by adding the Arts Education feed to your RSS reader!

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