Randy Cohen

Randy Cohen

With the arts advocacy season fully upon us, the following is my updated “10 Reasons to Support the Arts.” Changes this year include updating #3 with the BEA’s new Arts in the GDP research, #8 to include a statement about the benefits of the arts in the military, and #10 includes the new Creative Industries data (now current as of January 2015).

This is just one of many arrows to include in your arts advocacy quiver. While it’s a helpful one, we know there are many more reasons to support the arts. What are yours? Please share your #11 (and more!) in the comments section below. What a great collection we can build together. Read the rest of this entry »

Randy Cohen

Randy Cohen

BEA’s Arts in the GDP Study: What Next?

In January 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) released its revised Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA)—a set of measures of arts and culture in the economy, including its share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Much has been written about the truly mind-bending sum of $698.7 billion in industry expenditures—a substantial contributor to the economy that supported 4.7 million jobs in 2012 and represented 4.32 percent of GDP. Read the rest of this entry »

Lucy Wang

Lucy Wang

Editor’s Note: Lucy Wang is the 2015 recipient of the NABE Scholarship, presented annually by Americans for the Arts and the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) Foundation to a student of both economics and the arts.

Even though economics and art are two very distinct fields, I feel that they are best understood in combination with one another. Art inspires me but can’t reveal the quantitative foundations of modern life. Economics allows me to understand the underlying influences of the world, but I synthesize and process the things I learn through art. Read the rest of this entry »

Kate McClanahan

Kate McClanahan

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved new rules for enforcing net neutrality. Independent agency rulemaking might sound like a sleepy topic, but over 4 million people – a record-setting number – sent in comments. What does the rule mean for artists and arts organizations?

First, what is “net neutrality?”

It’s the idea that your Internet Service Provider (ISP), like Verizon or Comcast, doesn’t discriminate when it comes to Internet traffic—meaning throttling or blocking legal content that you want to access or share. A company also can’t pay your ISP to speed up service for certain sites. Read the rest of this entry »

Ken Busby

Ken Busby

Those of you who read my periodic blogs know that I have a real passion for Tulsa.  As I’ve described the Brady Arts District where the Hardesty Arts Center, Guthrie Green, Philbrook Downtown, and Woody Guthrie Center reside along with a growing number of arts-related venues, restaurants, and boutiques, I’ve received comments from a number of readers that they had no idea Tulsa had so much going on in the arts.

Today, I’m sharing with you a tremendous opportunity for early and mid-career artists – the Tulsa Artist Fellowship.  This new fellowship will cultivate Tulsa’s art scene by both supporting local artists and attracting national artists. The Tulsa Artist Fellowship provides an unrestricted stipend of between $15,000 and $40,000, free housing, and workspace. Artists will live and work in Tulsa’s Brady Arts District, participating in the local arts community. Fellowships are merit-based with a one-year term with the option to renew for a second year. In this inaugural class of fellows, the fellowship will focus on Public and/or Gallery-Oriented Visual Arts. Read the rest of this entry »

Jordan Shue

Jordan Shue

Raaja Nemani

Raaja Nemani

Recently in our travels through the internet, my colleagues and I stumbled upon a young, Chicago-based company that supports artists by collaborating with them to design and sell canvas shoes (reminding us of VANS Custom Culture Contest, going on in schools across the country right now!). We were thrilled to see how explicit the company is in its support of the arts, and were even more excited when Co-Founder and CEO, Raaja Nemani, responded to my email immediately, graciously agreeing to answer some of my questions about such an amazing company. Read the rest of this entry »

Meg Salocks

Meg Salocks

For our last peek at Arts Ed in a New England museum space, it seems fitting to end in the state and museum that first sparked my interest in community engagement and museum education: The Shelburne Museum in Vermont. The Shelburne Museum is ineffably unique, as it is not exactly an art, history, or craft museum, but a delightful medley of seemingly anything and everything. This is apparent even at the most basic level: the Shelburne Museum is not housed in one building, but instead operates of a campus of 39 independently standing structures – including a schoolhouse, covered bridge, antique carousel, and a fully restored 1906 steamboat! Read the rest of this entry »

Narric Rome

Narric Rome

Last night it was confirmed that the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to consider over three dozen amendments to “The Student Success Act” (HR 5), a bill to reauthorize federal education programs. This is a legislative effort last completed 13 years ago through the No Child Left Behind Act. There is a great need to improve upon that outdated legislation.

Through Friday’s floor consideration in the House, members of Congress will have an opportunity to vote on HR 5 and a Democratic alternative – but both bills are expected to receive partisan vote outcomes. Read the rest of this entry »

Myran Parker-Brass

Myran Parker-Brass

In 2009, the Boston Public Schools (BPS) committed to building and deepening arts education for all students K-12. They created the Arts Expansion Initiative (AEI). This commitment of the district, local funders and partners has resulted in:

  • increased numbers of certified arts teachers in our schools;
  • increased percentage of K-8 students receiving weekly arts instruction from 67% to 87%;
  • an increase of high school students receiving any arts instruction from 24% to 56%;
  • increased capacity for arts partners supporting arts education in schools.

We have made significant and steady progress in building back arts education as evidenced by the quality of our programs, the changing culture in our buildings, and the broad parent and community advocacy for arts education. Read the rest of this entry »

Matt D'Arrigo

Matt D’Arrigo

During my less-than-stellar freshman year of college, my mother and sister were both diagnosed with cancer within a few months of each other. It was devastating news. I ended up taking the following year off, both to get my head on straight and to help around the house during their treatments.

It was an extremely difficult time with many emotions that were hard to process – sadness, anger, guilt, confusion, etc. I found myself retreating to my bedroom on a daily basis, shutting the door, putting on one of my Grateful Dead bootlegs, and disappearing for hours into a painting. I had created my own artistic refuge with my easel, drawing table, stereo, artwork, posters, décor, music, etc. It became my world when the world outside was too overwhelming. I would re-emerge with a totally different outlook on life, with a sense of hope and joy. I felt good. It was the first time I realized the power of place; having a sacred space to go that’s dedicated to creating and engaging in the arts. Read the rest of this entry »

Kristen Engebretsen

Kristen Engebretsen

Dear Educators,

How many times have you been in this situation?

A classroom full of students sits arms crossed, slouched, or fiddling with their phones. Their thoughts are elsewhere. You can tell because of their daydreaming absent gazes.

Is this a typical High School classroom? Perhaps, but today I’m talking about one of the many professional development courses I’ve attended over the years. You see, these students are also educators. And ideally they are being taught new ways to teach.

Most of them have seen this kind of thing before. Fads and trends in education policy are nothing new to them. So it makes sense that they’re not connected to the material in front of them. Read the rest of this entry »

Ian Paglia

Ian Paglia

Editor’s note: This blog is part of a miniseries about the suite of tools, Encourage Creativity. The first portion of this post was written by Kristen Paglia, Ian’s mother.

Last year my son, Ian, had the rare opportunity for a ten year-old kid to share his thoughts, opinions, and the details of his daily life with a group of adults who were actually interested. The director of an arts education organization, I jumped at the chance for my son to be involved in a video series aimed at “expanding the conversation of arts education nationwide.”

I wasn’t sure how it would go, though. Ian can be shy. He’d rather draw than speak, and I knew it wouldn’t be easy to get him to agree to being on camera for an entire day. He was reluctant, but what ultimately sold him was the idea that other kids like him, and the parents and teachers of kids like him, might see the videos and invest more deeply in the arts and arts education. As an arts educator and (mostly) a parent, the experience of being a fly on the wall while Ian just did what he did to get by everyday was pretty eye opening. Read the rest of this entry »

Natalie Resendiz

Natalie Resendiz

I had no idea that art would even be one of my passions or interests. I quickly figured out that I loved to dance, play the clarinet, and that the stage felt a little like home. Now, as an eighteen year-old college student, I find that educating younger students like me is also one of my passions. Teaching dance is one of my favorite things I’ve ever done. I know what it is like to not have an outlet or activity to channel your emotions or feelings. Art can serve as this outlet for many. The importance of art for young inner-city kids like myself is substantial, but I believe it goes beyond that; art is a necessity for everyone. Read the rest of this entry »

Barbara Whitney

Barbara Whitney

I will be forever grateful to Americans for the Arts (AFTA) for the timely research and training they provided for our region’s arts education advocacy efforts in the spring of 2013. Americans for the Arts’ Narric Rome reached out to the Arts Council of Greater Lansing after hearing headlines regarding the Lansing School District’s decision to disproportionately eliminate arts, music, physical education, and media teachers. As we were later to discover, news had quickly traveled to multiple national conferences, delivering fear of similar situations to follow in communities across the country. Read the rest of this entry »

Andrew Moses

Andrew Moses

Andrew Moses (age 14) is a home-schooled, Tae Kwon Do black belt, with a composer fellowship at the LA Philharmonic. In the 90 second video below, Andrew and other students describe their experience with the arts in a colorful, rich, and beautiful description of the impact of arts education. Below, the director of the film interviews Andrew about his experience shooting this video.

Editor’s note: This blog is part of a miniseries about Americans for the Arts new suite of tools for Arts Education Advocates, Encourage Creativity videos. Read the rest of this entry »