Janet Starke

Janet Starke

Creativity. The Creative Worker. Creative Problem-Solvers. The Creative Class, (as coined by Richard Florida), Creativity in the Workplace. A Google search on the word “creativity” elicits 216,000,000 listings. Many of the scholarly articles address the role of creativity in the workplace, the relationship between creativity and cognition, or how to cultivate creativity. Mention creativity, and it’s only a matter of time before the conversation turns to the debate of STEM vs. STEAM. What I have increasingly observed in both articles and conversations on creativity is that some include the arts as an integral component in cultivating creativity, while many others do not. Read the rest of this entry »

J. Kevin McMahon

J. Kevin McMahon

Numerous editorials have covered the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s work in overseeing Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations—turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners.  Founded in 1984, the Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of the 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, which attracts over two million visitors annually. The organization has grown from a $170k budget in 1984 to a $53M budget today.  Most importantly, 90% of the annual budget is allocated to the mission and programs and the organization has maintained a balanced budget year to year.

Below are seven key principles that informed the development of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. Read the rest of this entry »

Neighbors and Strangers

Posted by Caron Atlas On February - 3 - 2015No comments yet
Caron Atlas

Caron Atlas

“We fought poverty, violence and blight, and we made the Southside a better place to live. We are now strangers in our own neighborhood, and it’s painful.”

These words from longtime Brooklyn resident and community leader Evelyn Cruz at a forum about gentrification in Williamsburg have stuck with me for years. I thought of them as we created Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts New York (NOCD-NY), a citywide alliance of artists, cultural organizations, and community leaders coming together to revitalize New York City from the neighborhood up. And I’m thinking about them now as I write this blog about cultural districts and communities as catalysts of change. How can we make sure that our work does not make people strangers in their own neighborhoods? Read the rest of this entry »

Rebecca Chan

Rebecca Chan

Baltimore’s three cultural districts are each reflections of the distinctive neighborhoods and communities in which they are situated: the Bromo Tower, Highlandtown, and Station North Arts & Entertainment District. An inherently place-based practice, each District operates under a different management structure, producing programming and projects tailored to the strengths and challenges in each District that serve the artists, businesses, and residents in their respective neighborhoods. Read the rest of this entry »

Jessica Ferey

Jessica Ferey

My fascination with cultural districts first started while living in Richmond, Virginia when the city announced the creation of an Arts District within the Broad Street Corridor. As an avid “culture vulture,” I had strolled through many First Fridays Arts Walks and attended a variety of performances at the newly built CenterStage performing arts center. I was thrilled to know the city recognized the potential impact culture could have on this area. Even after leaving Richmond for Washington, D.C. to attend graduate school, I continued to stay updated on the project and would bring it up in conversation whenever I returned to visit. Read the rest of this entry »

John Davis

John Davis

Failure. Unanimous rejection. Back to square one. That was the reaction nearly 15 years ago when I first proposed the idea that the entire town of Lanesboro, Minnesota (pop. 754) could be transformed into an arts campus.

Fast forward to today: Lanesboro is now a national model arts community, tourist community, and agricultural community. A scenic town with a river running through it (great for trout), it boasts a historic main street, a bike trail, and a waterfall on the town’s edge. Read the rest of this entry »

Theresa Cameron

Theresa Cameron

Welcome to our newest blog salon on Cultural Districts and Communities:  Catalysts for Change - our first blog salon of 2015!

Americans for the Arts defines cultural districts as well-recognized, labeled areas of a city in which a high concentration of cultural facilities and programs serve as the main anchor of attraction. They help strengthen local economies, create an enhanced sense of place, and deepen local cultural capacity.

In 1998, there were less than 100 cultural districts in the United States. Today, there are over 500 cultural districts and 14 states have enacted legislation for the development of cultural districts.  There has been growing interest in using cultural districts as a tool for community development and as an economic development strategy. How are communities doing this work?  What are the steps to creating a successful cultural district? Read the rest of this entry »

Meg Salocks

Meg Salocks

The Farnsworth Art Museum is a small art museum in Rockland, ME – approximately 70 miles north of the state’s capital – that is really anything but small. Founded in 1948, the museum’s collection was designed specifically to celebrate “Maine’s role in American Art.” With this in mind, it is not at all surprising that the Farnsworth Art Museum’s current focus is building “life-long connections” with all the diverse and divergent audiences in Maine’s mid-coast region. Read the rest of this entry »

Jeff Poulin

Jeff Poulin

In the Arts Education world, Chicago has been in the news a lot lately. To best understand what has gone on the past 2 or so years, we have compiled a concise list of events, news stories and reports to tell the tale for all of us non-Chicagoans.

1. Chicago’s Cultural Plan

In February 2012, a celebration was held to mark the release of the City of Chicago’s Cultural Plan. Developed in conjunction with advocates, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) along with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the plan called for specific attention on Arts Education within Chicago Public Schools (CPS). After one year in effect, the several studies have been completed, data has been compiled and analysis is beginning. Read the rest of this entry »

Narric Rome

Narric Rome

If you have a generally pessimistic view of how our federal government works, and have been distressed about lack of productivity by Congress in recent years, read this quote from Senate education committee chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and then you can stop reading this blog post.

I know that there will have to be 60 votes to move out of the Senate, 60 votes to go to conference, and 60 votes to pass a bill in the end. That takes working with all senators here, including those on the other side. I also know … that if we want it to be a law, it takes a presidential signature and that president today is President Obama.”

With a U.S. Senate of 56 Republicans and 46 Democrats and Independents, a GOP House and a Democratic Administration, it’s hard to see how federal education reform legislation can be successfully passed with this divided government.

However, if you enjoy a good policy debate, then welcome to a new round of Reauthorizing the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA)! Read the rest of this entry »

Josh Russell Headshot

Joshua Russell

As a long-time re-granting organization, Silicon Valley Creates knows how critically important money is to our arts and culture ecosystem. Organizations will also prioritize funding before any other form of support.

But when Arts Council Silicon Valley, a 30-year old United Arts Fund, merged with 1stACT Silicon Valley, a community catalyst, to form Silicon Valley Creates just over a year ago, we opted to take a new approach to how we strengthen our creative ecosystem–which was one of four main goals in our strategic plan.

So we developed a framework (pdf) of what we believe to be the key elements to a sustainable artist or arts organization in Silicon Valley. Read the rest of this entry »

NancyNG1

Nancy Ng

The typical structure of 99% of U.S. non-profit arts organizations includes segregated artistic, administrative, and development departments. My colleagues who work in such segregated institutions experience chasms between departments and waste time bickering and competing for an even share of resources. Aside from the intention of human resource efficiency, I have never understood the acceptance of this structure.

Upon leaving graduate school I was fortunate to co-lead a small organization, Asian American Dance Performances, where there was no division between the artistic and administrative staff. I happily danced and choreographed while writing my first grants and figuring out excel spreadsheets. I always loved math and spatial relationships, which were the modalities I used to learn dance. After completing a graduate program where my portfolio included a written thesis, performance thesis, and written and oral comprehensive examinations, I was able to talk and write about dance with ease. I could make a case for my artistic work and the work of my fellow artists. Read the rest of this entry »

Meg Salocks

Meg Salocks

Welcome to our mini-series on #ArtsEd in #MuseumSpaces!

Over the past year, we have spent a lot of time discussing and promoting a healthy arts education ecosystem in communities across every town and state in the country. The Shared Endeavor model is garnering more support everyday as schools and communities work together to share the responsibility of providing a high-quality arts education to their students. Schools are taking up the banner to find creative solutions to integrate arts into classrooms. We’ve heard from teachers and teaching artists in our Teaching Artists Blog Salon this past March, and in our webinar “Arts Education: A Shared Responsibility” just last month.

But what about beyond the school? Read the rest of this entry »

Deb Vaughn

Deb Vaughn

True confession: I am not a strategic evaluator. Anyone else want to come clean? Try this easy quiz:

  • Do you churn out Survey monkey questionnaires the day before your workshops begin?
  • Do you frantically google “student evaluation rubric” as the touring van pulls out of the theatre loading dock?
  • Do you regularly practice post-event justification, working backwards through your program as you rush to complete a final report for a funder the night before it’s due?

If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, you might need an evaluation intervention. Read the rest of this entry »

Crystal Benavides

Crystal Benavides

Inspired by the shift toward outcome-driven art projects, I was struck by arts potential to be used as a technique for data collection. When we look at art, we tend to focus primarily on its aesthetic and emotive qualities. We think about art as the result of an action and not as a conduit or vehicle leading up to a result. For example, the creation of a painting begins by gathering materials (canvas, brushes, and paint) and using these materials to create a painting. Read the rest of this entry »