Anna Huntington

Anna Huntington

Confession #1: I had to Google “cognitive development” before I started writing this. I’m an arts administrator, after all, not an educator.

Confession #2: From my perspective, it seems clear that art makes kids smart. To the body of research demonstrating art education’s score-boosting, transferrable-skills, and college-readiness cognitive development superpowers, I say, “Yup.”

Confession #3. I live in Rapid City, South Dakota (not far from Mount Rushmore). Our community, which encompasses nearby Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, has long, deep, painful struggles with racism. Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Kulik

Jennifer Kulik

I grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, in a neighborhood with lots of people my age. When the weather was nice, the neighborhood kids and I would play outside, inventing new games, creating special spaces in trees, and learning how to negotiate our wants and needs with those of others.

Play is an important part of learning and thinking. It helps us make sense of the world, experiment, and negotiate within it. Play:

  1. promotes cognitive, linguistic, physical, and social development;
  2. sparks creativity, innovation, and imagination;
  3. aids in finding new possibilities and solutions, re-inventing and re-creating the world;
  4. helps foster empathy and develop new understandings and connections with others.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dance as an Escape

Posted by Rachael Carnes On March - 18 - 2015No comments yet
Rachael Carnes

Rachael Carnes

Juggling. We’re all juggling, aren’t we? Racing from work to activities to home to work, in a never-ending loop. But what if the balls we were trying to keep in the air carried more weight? What if dropping one of them meant something really bad might happen to us, something difficult, something damaging? What if we’re born juggling – “risk factors” is the term we’ve coined. What if these risk factors load us up, right from the get-go, with punishing amounts of instability? What if there’s a shortage of food in our home? Or heat? What if one or more of our parents have a disability, or a drinking problem, or issues with drugs? What if our parents are embroiled in a relationship that includes abuse, of mom, of dad, of… me?

The children I work with in the arts, on a daily basis, are at-risk for abuse and neglect. Ranging in age from 2-5, my little students are eager, enthusiastic dancers. But it hasn’t always been this way. Slowly, over time, they’ve come to accept dance in their therapeutic classroom environments. They’ve come to see the scarves and the music as outlets for creative expression, socialization, and fun. Dance helps them to relieve some stress, to smile, to be kids. Read the rest of this entry »

Evan Sanderson

Evan Sanderson

My first role was as a knight. I was eight. The audience consisted of my friend, Steven, also playing a knight, and the various woodland creatures that inhabited the backyard of our house in suburban Maryland. You see, I had recently been to the Maryland Renaissance Festival, and like many young boys and girls my age, had fallen in love with the costumes, the swords, the accents, and the meat on a stick. And so, back at the castle (my house), I was determined to recreate the excitement, the vivacity, and the magic of the experience … if only in my head. Read the rest of this entry »

Peter Duffy

Peter Duffy

When I talk with teachers around the country about arts education and cognition they all ask the same question, “What research can I show my principal to prove the benefit of arts education?” It is as if teachers seek a holy grail that will prove once and for all its significant value. Teachers want to verify art education’s impact to prevent its relegation to a merely fun or acculturating activity within schools. Their question is an important and, of course, complicated one. Read the rest of this entry »

All Writing Is Creative Writing

Posted by BJ Buckley On March - 17 - 20151 COMMENT
BJ Buckley

BJ Buckley

What is thinking? Are there different modes of thought? How do we learn? Why do we respond so powerfully and intensely to the world’s beauty and to the beauty of things made by humans in response, to art in all its forms? What are the connections between our responses to paintings, music, dance, theater, poetry, and stories, our own impulses to make and create, and learning? Read the rest of this entry »

Mariale Hardiman

Mariale Hardiman

Do you still sing the alphabet when you need to recall the order of letters? Do you chant the poem “Thirty Days Hath September…” when trying to remember how many days there are in a month? Now think about your time in school. My guess is that, like me, you remember school plays, a catchy song when you studied a foreign language, or the content of a science or history lesson when you made a poster or diorama. Yet, how many of us remember the content of the tests or quizzes we took in school? Read the rest of this entry »

Jeff Poulin

Jeff Poulin

More and more, we at Americans for the Arts are talking about the transformative power of the arts, echoing the work that has happened at a local level in the arts across America for the past several decades. However, as I move more and more into the education space, I hear a call for the hard facts amongst the heart-warming stories. Education decision makers want to see results, they want to see change, and they want to draw a correlation between the two.

As a professional arts education advocate, I can keep up with most of these requests, but recently I found myself at a bit of a cross roads. I was in Los Angeles, speaking with a self-described ‘music education evangelist,’ who was telling me all about some research that had been conducted on the impact of arts education on the cognitive functions of the brain. Arts Education, he said, could work to close the opportunity gap faster than other – more conventional – tactics. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »