Margie Johnson Reese

Margie Johnson Reese

I am a registered card carrying bureaucrat.  I don’t do passion. The job isn’t what you’re excited about; it’s what you accomplish. My staff might disagree with this self-assessment especially after summer 2014.

This past summer, in less time than any organization should be given; Big Thought implemented Dallas City of Learning, an expansion on a connected learning initiative first created in Chicago. To put it simply, the Cities of Learning initiative connects students to learning opportunities based on their burgeoning interests and the peer communities those interests created, with the goal of tying those creative experiences to academic outcomes. Student achievements are codified and recognized through digital badges that contain within their code the granular information about each accomplishment. Read the rest of this entry »

Getting Organized

Posted by Jonathan Herman On September - 15 - 2014No comments yet
Jonathan_headshot

Jonathan Herman

Young people have immense energy and a unique capacity to imagine, experiment, and take positive risks. But opportunities for them to develop their creativity and exercise these valuable qualities are in many cases limited.

Without opportunities to realize their own creative capacities, and thereby engage in the social and civic processes that directly affect their lives, young people are “at risk” of not realizing their own potential. And as a result our communities forgo the benefit of young people’s creativity, commitment, and leadership.

In an age of rapidly changing economic, social, technological, and environmental challenges (just to name a few), we need the talents of young people to help us innovate, renew, and build a brighter future. Read the rest of this entry »

Denise Montgomery

Denise Montgomery

We know what quality creative youth development (CYD) programs look like through our own work, thanks to model programs, and through publications such as Engaging Adolescents, Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs From Urban Youth and Other Experts, and The Mosaic Model for Youth Development through the Arts. So let’s just implement the principles and increase the number of young people who are benefiting from such programs.

If only it were that simple. Read the rest of this entry »

Erik Holmgren

Erik Holmgren

August 4, 2014 was the 180th Birthday of John Venn.  If you’ve ever sat through a PowerPoint presentation, chances are you know John’s work.  A Venn Diagram is a way of visually depicting the intersection of ideas, concepts or, in the case of Creative Youth Development, sectors of work.

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Creative Youth Development (CYD) embodies elements and experiences from each circle of this, admittedly rudimentary, diagram because it infuses art-making into the lived experiences of young people. Creative Youth Development programs introduce the arts to as a way for them to explore the forces of their world, to imagine new possibilities, and to develop the confidence, skill, and purpose to be agents of change in their communities. Read the rest of this entry »

Jeff Poulin

Jeff Poulin

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Arts Education Partnership’s annual National Forum. Aside from the connecting with arts education friends and learning tons (I mean tons!) in the sessions, I also had the opportunity to sit in on a session titled, “Fostering Student Success by Leveraging the Impact of Out of School Time, Creative Youth Development Programs.” What was great about the session was the interconnectivity of people, research and agenda from so many other national conversations which were initiated as a result of the policy and advocacy agenda produced after the first National Summit on Creative Youth Development in Boston. Read the rest of this entry »

Caleb Way

Caleb Way

This summer, eleven students descended upon New York City from all over the country with an arts administration gleam in their eyes. Different backgrounds, interests, schools, majors, and futures all converged at Con Edison’s headquarters in Union Square to kick off what would prove to be a very rewarding shared experience.

The Arts and Business Council of New York’s Multicultural Arts Management Internship Program places students and recent graduates at host arts organizations throughout the city. Participants find themselves thrust into a bustling and fast-paced city while working in various departments of institutions that are doing great work to enhance every discipline of the arts. As the students settle into their various organizations and departments, from development to programming to marketing, they not only rely on the support of their fellow peers but also on support from a volunteer mentor from the New York business community. This relationship is another avenue of development and investment–one that provides guidance as each intern navigates a new role, a new city, and their future plans. Read the rest of this entry »

Deb Vaughn

Deb Vaughn

Marna Stalcup

Marna Stalcup

Arts instruction has long been used as a tool for reaching English Language Learners. In fact, the origins of the children’s theatre genre lie in the Settlement Houses of Chicago in the early Twentieth Century, where Jane Addams utilized theatre and poetry to help students learn English (this tradition can be seen today in the plethora of children’s books adapted for the stage.)

There is a wealth of information available today about the usefulness of the arts for reaching multiple learning styles but there are few studies that directly link arts integration with student test scores (particularly long-term, richly collaborative integration models).

It is fitting that the week before National Arts in Education Week (September 15 – 19), The Right Brain Initiative is releasing new data that demonstrates the impact of rich classroom arts-integrated instruction on student test scores. Read the rest of this entry »

Nine Lives by Peter Reiquam, Photographer: Benjamin Benschneider

Nine Lives by Peter Reiquam, Photographer: Benjamin Benschneider

What a great week filled with aspirations and reflections from emerging leaders in the public art field!

Thank you to all of our bloggers who made this salon a success by sharing their thoughts and inspiration for their thoughts and inspirations on their careers and the future of the public art field.

Reading these posts throughout the week has given light to some of the great talent that will be guiding the future of public art. We heard from Kati Stegall reflecting on how we can keep up with the changes happening throughout the country and from Meredith Frazier Britt, an up-and-coming city planner who is eager to work with public art (we need more of her!) Read the rest of this entry »

Alex White-Mazzarella

Alex White-Mazzarella

 

It was about six years ago, in 2007, sitting in my small Hong Kong apartment, that I put down ideas for a work practice that would use public art and modern culture as means of developing community and habitat. A practice where the arts would be used not just as an aesthetic to beautify or to activate space, but as productions of communality with the residents of a place and through a process that would open a space for community members to develop and connect. It came from contact with arts in public spaces. Read the rest of this entry »

Felipe Sanchez

Felipe Sanchez

By 2008, the world-renowned murals of Los Angeles metaphorically had a nail in their coffin; they had become a faded memory in the consciousness of the city. This amnesia of preserving the cultural patrimony of LA was a social epidemic that I later learned was happening to public art in many cities across the country. Mural after mural along the LA’s freeways and neighborhoods were disappeared and abandoned by the city – scenes so appalling that I set out to find organizations that could shed some light on the issue. Little did I know this small but significant action would set the stage for the next phase of my career in the arts. Read the rest of this entry »

Take Me to Tomorrowland

Posted by Jennifer Lieu On September - 5 - 2014No comments yet
Jennifer Leiu

Jennifer Lieu

I walked away with three things upon finishing my graduate studies in Public Art and Urban Planning: a diploma and two questions. How can I help make art that is more accessible intellectually, emotionally and physically? What are alternative and sustainable income resources for artists to make a living besides selling art in galleries and trying to find work as a tenured art professor? These questions follow me to every informational interview I participate in and panel discussion I attend. I continually think about them.

These questions shaped how I was going to accomplish my goals and led to my interest in public art. I identified that I want to help artists produce artwork that people can relate to, and would be willing to see without feeling like they have to be dragged into a museum. I also want to help connect artists with alternative resources for income and skill growth. When discussing these goals with my peers and mentors, I have been encouraged to learn more about public art. Now that I am working in the field, I find that these goals continuously resonate with me and inform questions about my future in public art. Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Lantzas

Jennifer Lantzas

I am a firm believer that you have to understand where you have been to know where you are going—and public art in NYC has changed drastically over the past century and a half. The first sculpture in a New York City park was George Washington by Henry Kirk Brown, which was unveiled in Union Square in 1856. For the next 100 years public artworks were predominantly commemorative or memorial in nature—realistic representations of notable politicians, soldiers, and leaders.

By the 1960s, new ideas about what constituted artwork freed artists to explore new forms of materials and exhibitions. Sculpture grew beyond the constraints of studio and gallery spaces, and people embraced the social and political impact of art. With big sculptures, big ideas, and performance artists’ impromptu “happenings” in the City’s public spaces, it was only natural that visual artists wanted to bring their artwork outdoors. Read the rest of this entry »

Stephanie Sherman

Stephanie Sherman

Abigail Satinsky

Abigail Satinsky

Arts organizers face a unique set of problems, probably similar to that of a circus ringleader. You need diplomacy, imagination, creativity, flexibility. You also have to be incredibly practical – managing budgets, funders, logistics. You’re often working with volunteers and supporters who need to receive non-economic benefits and feel engaged and excited. Communication is key.

First, what is “the field” we’re talking about? Artist-run spaces, experimental venues, artists creating platforms and opportunities for other artists, and organizations that put supporting artists’ work at the heart and center of their mission. We operate across a wide range of organizing principles – from being a 501(c)3 organization to a co-operative or collective, from long-running institutions to short-term projects – but we all struggle with a similar set of questions. Why is supporting experimental visual art practice important? Who are our audiences and partners? What are our tactics and strategies? What does sustainability look like? How can articulate more broadly the values and impacts emerging from this work? Read the rest of this entry »

Barrie Cline

Barrie Cline

Some years back, I was fortunate enough to be asked to develop an arts course for the mainly rank and file construction workers that are required by their union to attend our Labor College. I chose to develop a class on public art seeing it as a vehicle to take up issues around working class studies by initially focusing on the built environment of New York City, thinking that engagement might be sought as my (sometimes reluctant) students were builders of that environment.

The emphasis on NYC’s built environment in Tom Finkelpearl’s text Dialogues in Public Art proved one way to introduce this study, as well as to take up issues of representation and to open up what art can be and whom it can be for. At some point, it became obvious that the class actually should allow for making art, particularly after incorporatingreadings from Larry Shiner’s The Invention of Art which helped us look at the possible re-elevation of the construction tradesperson’s own artisanship, given Shiner’s argument that Fine Art is a relatively recent construct of the west in the eighteenth century. We began to think about work as art, and about making their labor—and the worker—more visible. Read the rest of this entry »

Cameron Russell

Cameron Russell

It often strikes me that pundits and political scientists are engaged in a very limited discussion about politics. I am bored hearing about the political elite and about the influence of money. I think people that have been considered politically marginalized often illuminate sites of equality and of hope. Their stories of effecting change from the margins are especially relevant as an increasing majority of Americans find themselves marginalized from our political and economic systems.

My first encounter with public art was reading Jack Stewart’s book Graffiti Kings. At its height, during the 1970s, Stewart wrote, “Few urban communities had ever experienced such a rapid and concentrated alteration of their visual environment.” An alteration accomplished largely by 8 to 16 year old Black and Latino boys. Why was the demographic least likely to vote, or engage in organizational work, in control of one of the fastest visual changes of an urban environment? Read the rest of this entry »