Merce Cunningham, the renown and prolific dancer, has died. He died in his sleep last night. He was 90.
“The only way to do it is to do it.” - Merce Cunningham
Nick Rabkin, former founder and director of the Center for Arts Policy at Columbia College Chicago, researcher, teaching artist expert, and esteemed colleague, has moved from the Center over to the University of Chicago and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC). He’s conducting the first-ever, national research project about teaching artists. The number one need? Teaching artists who will fill out the survey.
If you’re a TA, click here to be heard. There are geographic restrictions, but if you don’t try you’ll never been seen.
If you’re an arts org, contribute. Send a message to your TA’s urging them to participate in the survey. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that “without numbers, you’re just another person with an opinion.” This means that if someone asks for money, for say, a national association for teaching artists or for health insurance programs for teaching artists, they’ll need numbers and other data to show that it’s truly needed. Nick’s work could bring huge visibility and benefit to the entire field of teaching artistry. Read the rest of this entry »
First lady Michelle Obama hosted the National Design Awards last Friday, July 24, in the East Room of the White House. At the event she called for more arts exposure for children to further supplement early education.
“An educational foundation is only part of the equation,” Michelle Obama said. “In order for creativity to flourish and imagination to take hold, we also need to expose our children to the arts from a very young age.”
Are there other ways the first lady and President can put the arts on the national agenda? What are your suggestions?
On Friday, July 24, 2009, the House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee passed their funding bill, setting the initial appropriation level for both the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and Arts in Education programs (AIE) at the U.S. Department of Education for fiscal year 2010. The Senate Appropriations Committee is preparing to take up this funding legislation within the next week, and Americans for the Arts needs your help to urge your Senators to match, or exceed, the funding levels for these programs set in the House.
Play your part. Visit our Arts Action Center and take two minutes to send an email to Congress.
In the next few months we’ll be working to improve the functionality and design of our blog. We want to make it easier for you to scan page, find information you need, and comment on blog posts. Another aim is to help you quickly find blog posts in specific categories such as arts education, public art, marketing, community building, and other topics.
If you have any ideas of blog functions you think we should investigate, or for that matter any other suggestions or comments, please email them to us or comment below. We’re hoping ArtsBlog can be a place to discuss important topics with colleagues and friends; be inspired about the arts; and discover new ideas and best practices.
At the recent Americans for the Arts annual convention, Animating Democracy debuted a newly published essay by Ron Chew, former director of the Wing Luke Asian Museum in Seattle. In “Community-based Arts Organizations: A New Center of Gravity,” Ron underscores the crucial contributions of small and mid-sized community-based arts organizations, often culturally specific, to the cultural ecosystem, to civic engagement, and toward achieving healthy communities and a healthy democracy. He points out that these groups offer artistic excellence and innovation, astute leadership connected to community needs, and important institutional and engagement models for the arts field amid changing demographics, a new political climate, technological advances, and globalization.
We distributed the essay at several convention sessions, including two of the pre-conferences. After only one day, we were amazed at how many people had already read it cover to cover (notable given jet lag, the convention’s juicy program, and Seattle’s enticing distractions) and gratified by the enthusiastic comments about the importance of what it has to say. Read the rest of this entry »
A question I hear constantly from emerging leaders is “Should I go to Graduate School or Not?” This has been a topic of conversation on the Emerging Leader Listserv, and the same question was asked during the Career360 roundtable sessions at the Americans for the Arts 2009 Convention in Seattle. Even after all these conversations, the only answer I can provide to this question is that the choice to go to graduate school is a very individual decision. There is no “magic formula” for a successful career. If you choose to go back to school, you’ll likely learn some very valuable lessons, build up a network of peers, and perhaps have other doors open to you that may not be there otherwise. However, if you decide graduate school is not the right path for you at this time, you will still be learning on the job, building up a different network of peers, and be in the job market instead of out of it.
There are an endless amount of professional development opportunities out there, with arts management graduate degree programs being one of them. I did choose to go back to graduate school after working for a few years. At American University’s Arts Management program, I learned the basics of fundraising, financial management, presenting and programming, and running an arts organization. All of these skills are necessary for an arts manager to have.
However, now that I’ve been out of school for a bit, I’ve begun to question what the next generation of leadership would look like if in addition to being taught fundraising and financial management, we were also taught how to advocate and build relationships with city/state government. What would our future look like if young leaders learned how to reach beyond the walls of their organizations, into their community, and understood the connection between the arts and community development? What if we are taught today how to be true leaders in our community tomorrow? By learning and practicing advocacy and community development skills, emerging leaders will not only be successful managers of arts organizations, we’ll have the resources necessary to communicate our organizations’ value to those who need to hear it.
Did you graduate from an arts management degree program? If so, what else would you have liked to see offered? For professionals working in the field, what professional development do you need now to be successful at your job?
The White House music series, an effort to support the arts and demonstrate the importance of arts education in America, continues this week when the president and first lady host country music artists Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss and her band Union Station. Joining them will be 120 young music students, forty of which will travel from the Nashville area, who will get the opportunity to attend a workshop and an evening concert with the country artists. This is the second installment of the White House music series, which last month featured jazz music with the Marsalis family, and will feature classical music in the fall. For more information on this week’s event, click here.
Even without being a knitter I quickly understood the attraction of the quiet, creative, collegial atmosphere that quickly emerged in the Knitting, Networking & Conversation evening session at the 2009 Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in Seattle. It was the closest to calm I have been during an Americans for the Arts Convention in 20 years. This “informal arts” session readily demonstrated the power of the arts to engage, restore, and build community.
Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer, Executive Director of the Queens Arts Council in NYC knitted the group together (so to speak) by engaging everyone and inviting introductions. Each participant brought a project and each project had a story. There was a bit of every kind of needlework – crocheters, quilters, embroiderers were all there. The circle expanded easily, tips and tools were traded, amateurs and professionals connected and degrees of separation melted away. Mandy Greer, a distinguished fiber artist from Seattle joined us, coached us and shared examples of her exciting and creative work. We eagerly await the announcement of her “river” exhibition.
The torch is already passed for Baltimore — so plan to join us — or start your own “informal arts” session (we used to have a chorus at convention) – Who knows, next year I may even knit!
Hoong Yee has also created a short video of the Knitting, Networking & Conversation session in Seattle. Check it out.
Posted on behalf of Barbara Schaffer Bacon
I was on hiatus briefly to run a summer institute: DREAM – Developing Reading Education through Arts methods. DREAM is a research/programmatic project and one of the fifteen Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement Grants for 2008-2009. Our grant provides training for 3d and 4th grade teachers on how to use visual art and theater to teach reading, and is a cooperative venture between Center ARTES, the San Diego County Office of Education, and multiple school districts in the north part of San Diego County.
We just completed a truly exciting and inspiring week-long institute whereby nearly 50 teachers were trained on methods to teach reading through arts-based methods touching on the intersection of reading and arts standards – of which there are many! We amassed quite a team for the institute consisting of several professional teaching artists, a terrific researcher evaluator, Patti Saraniero – who has been mentioned in various blogs on this page – and check out her blog on arts education and ethics as well as guest presenters from my university, and a few celebs including Greg Evans, Luann comic strip writer, Sara Pennypacker, author of the Clementine series, and Marla Frazee, illustrator for the Clementine series.
All in all we had the teachers going from 8:15 in the morning until 3:30 each day in completely hands-on activities. We used two books as the texts – The Talented Clementine, by Sara Pennypacker, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney. The two books feature characters that could be described as underdogs. Throughout the week the teachers learned techniques that culminated in small groups creating short silent films (with narration) whereby either Clementine or the Wimpy Kid were transformed in superheroes. In some cases it was one character – in other cases the two actually met. In order for the teachers to create their “silent” movies, they had to become detectives and search the books for clues as to what their character would be like if she or he was to become a superhero – and of course they had to use their detective skills in order to find clues as to develop a plausible storyline, acting skills, and visual arts skills (for backgrounds, costuming, makeup, etc.). Read the rest of this entry »
Arts education is as political an issue as an educational one. One could say that education itself is a political issue. After all, education and arts education decisions are made by thousands of adults each day–adults that do not see the faces of hear the voices of the children about whom these adults are making decisions. This is true of arts education too.
Federal legislators, federal employees such as USDE staff, and the president and his administration, all have specific impact on arts education. This is evident in the passage of No Child Left Behind.
State legislators, state department of education employees, state public university systems, state teacher unions, and statewide nonprofits have dramatic impact on arts education in the classroom. For example, state university systems that require one or two years of arts instruction as an entrance requirement often result in statewide arts education for high school students. Similarly, the state legislature may mandate a one or two year arts education graduation requirement for high schoolers. These policy actions put the arts firmly back in the schools (though not always as intended, I admit).
Program profiles on state and local efforts, as well as more info on arts ed as a political issue after the jump.
Here’s an effective video about the value of IMAGINATION, featuring Sir Ken and giants of the industrial field. It’s pretty inspiring; it’s fun. Good music.
Do you have an advocacy video you use to change decision-makers’ opinion?
Tomorrow my eight-year old daughter will play Gretel in her summer camp production of “Fairy Tale Courtroom.” She took an entire backpack of potential costume choices with her on the bus this morning. She figured out, additionally, that the bandana she was taking for her costume could serve double duty to keep her hair out of her face during her photography elective, in which she is—honest to God—using chemicals in a darkroom and developing actual black and white photographs.
Jon Hawkes, the writer, thinker, artist, and agitator from Melbourne, Australia attended the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention as the economic development innovator. Although he protested the categorization, I asked him to come under that mantle based on his great book of a few years ago called The Four Pillars of Sustainability, in which, trying to influence urban planners, he makes the case that cultural development is as important in a healthy community as social, economic and environmental factors.
How are these two paragraphs tied together? As part of Jon’s path, he discovered that part of supporting a vibrant culture in any community is ensuring the ability for people to make art. To participate. That participation is not attending a concert or a museum, but making art. After writing the book, he spent ten years at the helm of a group called Community Music Victoria, an outfit dedicated to creating simple structures to bring people together to sing. Jon’s leap from the conceptual to creating ways to support people making art was an inspiration. Read the rest of this entry »
Are you an artist? Do you work with artists?
Art/Work is a book for the working artist, replete with the business and legal information one needs to be effective while navigating all the parts of art that have nothing to do with being creative: intellectual property, financing, taxes, etc.
Their website has more information such as artist opportunities and further resources not included in the book. The authors are giving talks around the country now, so you could even talk one-on-one. Check it out: http://artworkbook.net
Take a listen to an adapted version of Lex Leifheit’s recent speech from the Newcomers’ Orientation at the 2009 Seattle Convention. She gives networking tips that relate to emerging, mid-level, and seasoned leaders.
|ARTSblog holds week-long Blog Salons, a series of posts by guest bloggers, that focus on an overarching theme within a core area of Americans for the Arts' work. Here are links to the most recent Salons:
Alec Baldwin and Nigel Lythgoe talk about the state of the arts in America at Arts Advocacy Day 2012. The acclaimed actor and famed producer discuss arts education and what inspires them.