Jon rocks out with students.

By day I am an elementary school teacher; by night I’m a wannabe blues musician. For years I kept these two callings separate, but with the Kids Like Blues Band, I found a way to combine my love for the blues and teaching.

By using blues music to engage kids in academic core subjects and the visual and performing arts, my students and I have discovered an innovative program that has brought endless creativity and excitement to thematic, standards-based teaching.

The gig hasn’t ended there though—we’ve taken our act on the road and performed at a street fair, a local college, and live on television. My students and I approach school with a sense of excitement and eagerness, motivated by the blues and rocking out each day!

In addition to having tons of fun, we’ve received recognition from the academic community. The U.S. Department of Education recently featured our work in their “Teaching Matters” newsletter, KPBS-TV did a feature on us, and several professors of education are using our videos to teach their students how to integrate the visual and performing arts into academic instruction.

Using Blues as a Thematic Teaching Tool

Wondering how this creative approach to learning works? Check out this video: Read the rest of this entry »

Eloise Damrosch

On November 6, Portland voters passed ballot measure 26-146 to restore arts and music programs in Portland schools and fund arts access citywide.

Needless to say, we are thrilled with the results—the measure passed with 62% approval! Measure 26-126 creates a new income tax of $35 per income-earning resident (above the federal poverty level), which will generate an estimated $12.5 million every year starting in 2013.

Approximately $6.8 million will pay for 68.5 certified arts education teachers in Portland’s school districts (Centennial, David Douglas, Parkrose, Portland Public, Reynolds, and Riverdale) —that’s one arts specialist for every 500 students. Districts receiving these funds will be required to maintain weekly arts instruction in grades K–5.

In addition, the new tax will generate about $5.7 million per year for our local arts agency:

  • $3.8 million will fund arts organizations that provide arts programming and access for every Portland resident through RACC’s general support grants program
  • $1.6 million will fund project grants to schools and arts organizations that provide arts programming for K-12 students and underserved residents
  • $366,000 is being set aside to coordinate arts education programs across Portland’s six school districts. Our partnership with the Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child program will be our foundation for this work.

In the months ahead, we will be having lots of conversations with local arts organizations to help them build plans that leverage these resources. Our ultimate goal is to improve arts access in the City of Portland and build new audiences. Read the rest of this entry »

Megan Pagado

One of my favorite sessions at this year’s National Arts Marketing Project Conference in Charlotte, NC was the very first session I attended: Stereotypes, Exoticism and Cultural Competency.

Moderated by Jerry Yoshitomi of MeaningMatters LLC with panelists Rosetta Thurman, Mayumi Tsutakawa, and Michelle Witt, it addressed the use of stereotypes and other “shorthand” in marketing.

In short, stereotypes are the boxes in which our brains sort information to simplify the world around us. Because they’re the easiest, quickest way for storytellers to create a character in our heads, they’re everywhere—from sitcoms to, of course, marketing messages.

I had one overwhelming takeaway from the session: Marketers are creators of public perception and need to take that responsibility seriously.

At the beginning of the session, we were asked to think about a time that a stereotype had bothered us. After sharing that experience with a person nearby, we were invited to share our frustration with the rest of the room.

It fascinated (but didn’t surprise) me how many of us were just downright frustrated by assumptions that have plagued us or our art. From exoticism and heteronormativity to common perceptions of art forms like opera, we were all frustrated about something. (The term “HULK SMASH!” was even used to describe one person’s feelings!)  Read the rest of this entry »

Tim McClimon

The week before Hurricane Sandy turned the East Coast upside down, American Express and other companies joined the Taproot Foundation in celebrating Pro Bono Week.

We participated by hosting a Scope-a-thon, an effort to engage our employees in helping to scope projects from nonprofits in order to prepare them to more fully benefit from pro bono consulting in the future.

We had 35 American Express employees in our New York office assist 11 nonprofits in a three-hour marathon Scope-a-thon. The nonprofits included:

  • Brooklyn Public Library
  • City Parks Foundation
  • Creative Alternatives of New York
  • GallopNYC
  • God’s Love We Deliver
  • Historic House Trust
  • Japan Society
  • Neighborhood Housing Services of NYC
  • New York Blood Center
  • Reel Works Teen Filmmaking
  • Studio Museum in Harlem

The Taproot Foundation did a terrific job of structuring the conversation around these four questions:

1. First, what hurts?
2. Next, what are some ways to fix it?
3. So, what’s the specific prescription?
4. And finally, what’s the treatment plan?

The response from both employees and nonprofits was extremely positive. 100 percent of employees said that they would participate again and refer the program to a colleague. One employee went so far as to say that it was her “best day” at American Express. Read the rest of this entry »

Katryn Geane

While sitting in the second row of seats looking at heat and confetti maps of sample websites, I was reminded of the number one reason I love attending the National Arts Marketing Project Conference (NAMPC): all these smart people are sharing information that I get to go home and use, and everyone else will think I’m a genius.

OK, maybe not that last part, but how lucky can we get with colleagues who are willing to help us out like this? I’m as much of an internet nerd as the next new media manager, but it seems that there’s a new resource or tool every week that promises to track, update, monitor, and help you do something with your website, and I can’t be the only one who doesn’t have oodles of extra time to be cruising the internet testing new tools.

In the measuring and improving your ROI session, Caleb Custer and Dan Leatherman presented a metrics-driven and scientific method-inspired “try, learn, think” cycle for testing and implementing changes to an organization’s website.

By using tools they introduced as well as now old standards like Google Analytics, they urged us to “prove the user’s expectations right and they will feel more in control” (paraphrased from Jakob Nielson) and therefore happier with their experience with your site.

Plunk, Clue, Crazy Egg, and others were offered as options for testing user interface, and there were resources for tracking links, segmenting visitors, optimizing landing pages, and then even more about email layout and design, A/B testing…and so on, and so on…and more. Read the rest of this entry »

Tim Scales

I made a friend at the National Arts Marketing Project Conference who told me that she had come to the conference to “recharge.”

This was Monday morning, after two full days of breakout sessions and two late nights of conference festivities, and I may have looked at her like she was crazy. “Recharge?” I asked her. “But I’m exhausted!”

She clarified: “I needed to fall in love again with what I do.” Ahh, now I understood.

I knew what she meant and I think the sentiment may be shared by many of my fellow conference attendees. Like them, I work hard…and a lot.

I also work freelance, which means that I’m juggling the competing demands of six or seven clients at any given time. Add to this keeping up with laundry and trying to go on dates with my girlfriend, and it’s rare that I have a spare moment to reflect on why I do what I do.

This professional self-reflection is crucial, however, as the conference weekend reminded me.

The sessions were, for the most part, excellent. The keynotes were fantastic. The networking was valuable. I feel like I’ve come away concrete tools, supportive connections, and useful insights.

But what I’m most happy to take away is a renewed love of what I do. Read the rest of this entry »

Trenten Derryberry

This was my first time attending not only the National Arts Marketing Project Conference (NAMPC), but also any conference. I am very happy to conclude that my experience was amazing and I would recommend this to anyone that is in any marketing field (and also if you are a student)!

I was asked to write this post-NAMPC piece to deliver a student perspective on the conference…here it goes!

Engagement, Mission, Alive, Active, Participatory, Stickiness, Contextualization, Spry, and Pray…all the words that come to my mind when I think of this past weekend (the list is endless!).

As a student, I came to NAMPC to primarily explore and listen to some of the TOP professionals in the marketing industry. What I received was something I wasn’t ready for.

Presenters sprawled from all areas of business (banks, agencies, venues, organizations, institutions)—both in and out of the confides of the performing arts, which I felt was an awesome exposure and a true springboard for discussions within the sessions.

Like I said earlier one of the reasons why I decided to attend was to listen and expand my critical thinking in an industry that I’m still learning about, that quickly changed to networking and participating within the sessions—I thought ‘when would be the next time I would be able to ask an audience engaging question directly to Alan Brown?’ So I did. Read the rest of this entry »

#NAMPC Takeaways

Posted by Shoshana Fanizza On November - 15 - 2012No comments yet

Shoshana Fanizza

I wanted to start out by giving you the link to my Storify—My #NAMPC experience via Twitter. I ended up winning the Most Tweets Award [at the National Arts Marketing Project Conference (NAMPC)] and I received a fun t-shirt!

I also won by connecting with more people on Twitter and getting to meet some of these people during the conference. It has been a fun and educational experience for me. If you had to miss the conference they promised to archive the keynote presentations soon.

NAMPC had its ups and downs, but mostly ups. However, through the entire conference, this year, like last year, there were some common themes running through most of the presentations.

Instead of a complete play-by-play like I did last year, I would like to leave you with the my most impressionable takeaways and some of my own thoughts (in no particular order):

  • You gotta have passion—if you don’t, people will not be attracted to your mission, cause, project, program…Without passion, what is the point?
  • Be weird and silly—or in other terms, be true to your own particular self. It’s not about being similar—it’s about standing out.
  • Adding your own personality will increase your likeability.
  • Have fun! What makes people want to join? Fun! If it is not enjoyable to you, it probably won’t be to your audiences.
  • Everyone is diverse in one way or another. These are my personal thoughts: We can learn to reach out to others after we discover our own sense of diversity and understand personally what it feels like to be stereotyped and discounted.
  • Keep ego out of the organization.
  • Visual impact is necessary! There is so much blah, blah, blah, and not enough “language” of our arts. If you are a music organization, it would be good to have clips and videos of performances and music. If you are an artist, make viewing your art an experience. If you are theater and dance, videos are a must. How can people figure out if your art is for them if they can’t “see” it and feel it? Read the rest of this entry »

As you saw in a previous ARTSblog post, Brunswick Acres Elementary School in Kendall Park, NJ was very dedicated to winning the third annual “Art of Education” contest sponsored by KRIS Wine and Americans for the Arts.

Not only did this video help them jump out to an early lead, but it helped them score the top prize of $5,000 for their arts education programs:

Even more amazingly, they secured 16,000 of the 90,000 total votes in the contest!

Art teacher Suzanne Tiedemann plans to use the funds to support her recent “Shells for NJ Shores Program” for which students will create shell-themed art to raise money for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy late last month.

In addition, 15 other schools in 9 states will receive a total of $20,000. Read the rest of this entry »

Laura Ng

Arts administrators, emerging philanthropists, cultural patrons, and arts practitioners converged at the Atwater Village Theater on October 20 for Emerging Arts Leaders/Los Angeles‘ full-day Creative Conversation, asking again, what is “creative placemaking”? Or, in the long-form title, to explore “Sparking Inclusive Dialogue Through Creative Placemaking.”

Dan Kwong, project leader for Great Leap’s COLLABORATORY, may have put it best when he compared broaching the question to the ambivalence and trepidation felt when one is asked to measure the impact of arts on social building.

With disciplines as divergent as Anne Bray’s work in media arts, Dan Kwong in performance, and Brian Janeczko in architecture and industrial design/fabrication, one unifying outlook voiced by the panelists was that creative placemaking must happen organically with a collaborative conscientiousness responsive to a specific community.

Keynote speaker John Malpede framed the particularity of elements needed to come together by sharing his own experience at the Los Angeles Poverty Department, which he founded almost serendipitously.

The performance artist volunteered with a group of lawyers offering their services pro-bono to the residents of L.A.’s Skid Row until he became a de facto paralegal, who so galvanized the community that those same clients involved themselves into launching self-produced dramatic performances.

With no permanent headquarters, their activities attracted the attention of screenwriters from other parts of the city and instigating conversations with numerous neighborhood organizations, such as LAMP and the Skid Row Players’ drummers, materializing improvement amenities such as the “funky trash cans” provided by OG Man that would not be readily perceived as an urgent need to those outside in what they termed Normalville. Read the rest of this entry »

When I began working at Drexel University earlier this year, one of the most interesting developments that fell on my radar was hearing of College of Engineering’s Professor Youngmoo Kim’s directorship of the Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center:

Professor Kim’s background in music includes performing with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and Boston Symphony Orchestra coupled with his Ph.D. degrees in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT and Masters degrees in Electrical Engineering and Music (Vocal Performance Practice) from Stanford University.

The mission of the ExCITe Center focuses on harnessing the talents of professionals working in the fields of research, education, civic engagement, and entrepreneurship as interdependent ingredients for creating transformative regional development. Read the rest of this entry »

Danielle Walter

I enrolled in an arts management graduate program with plans of pursuing a leadership position within a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to enhancing community engagement in contemporary art and craft.

Community-based art centers had made a powerful impact on my own artistic and personal development, and I wanted to contribute to that field in a way that would impact others.

In just a few short months, my graduate coursework opened my eyes to the national arena of arts policy and advocacy. I realized that supporting community arts engagement was layered and complex. My professional interests began to shift towards the major challenges and strategies influencing the advancement of local arts development across the United States.

It was around this time that I heard about the Local Arts Classroom, a web-based leadership development series offered by Americans for the Arts through a combination of interactive webinars and conference calls.

The opportunity was open to professionals with less than 10 years of experience in the arts sector and graduate students. The curriculum was focused around key topics, including:

  • Community Arts Development
  • Creative Placemaking
  • Stewardship & Resource Development
  • Cultural Planning
  • Arts Advocacy
  • Board & Staff Development

Some of these topics were new to me, but many resonated with my current graduate coursework and research interests. I remember thinking—I wonder what I could learn from discussing these issues with a whole new group of people? What new connections would I draw between my academic studies and professional practice? Who would I meet? What new material would I be exposed to in a setting outside the university environment? Read the rest of this entry »

John R. Killacky in “Dreaming Awake” (Photo by Laurie Toby Edison)

Sixteen years ago, I had surgery to remove a tumor from inside my spinal cord. Although the tumor was benign, the surgery paralyzed me from the neck down. I spent six weeks in a hospital and months learning to walk again.

I called upon my artist-self during those darkest hours. My fingers were the first part of my body to experience any functional return. While others at the rehab hospital were wheeled off to occupational therapy, I asked to go to the computer lab to tap out sentences with the one finger up to the task.

I felt an overwhelming urge to put on paper the thoughts crowding my brain, make some sense of the experience, and reassert authority over my body. Some of this writing was later featured in the Lambda Award-winning anthology I co-edited entitled “Queer Crips: Disabled Gay Men and Their Stories.”

As the weeks progressed, standard physical rehab provided little success. I realized when being transferred from bed to wheelchair my body could hold itself up (although briefly and with assistance). While the kinesthetic connections were lost, I thought I might be able to learn to stand up visually. So I asked to work in front of the mirrors. Therapists were skeptical and reminded me everything is backward in a mirror. “Yes,” I countered, “but as a young man I was a dancer and learned to dance with mirrors”

It took some days with leg braces and a walker, but eventually I stood in front of that mirror. What I could not do kinesthetically, I accomplished visually. Over the next weeks, I began to walk between two parallel bars in front of the mirror. Tentative steps grew ever more confident. The dancer in me taught my mis-circuited body to walk again. Sixteen years later, I continue dancing through life, albeit slowly and with the assistance of a cane. Read the rest of this entry »

Katherine Mooring

“Charlotte in 2012” is becoming quite a theme this year, as we prepare to welcome more than 600 arts marketing and development practitioners from across the country to the National Arts Marketing Project Conference (NAMPC), November 9–12.

The National Arts Marketing Project is a program of Americans for the Arts that, in addition to the annual conference, hosts monthly webinars, organizes regional training programs, and provides on-site workshops on a range of arts marketing topics.

The three-and-a-half day NAMP Conference includes two full-day pre-conferences, four keynote addresses, and more than 100 presenters in more than 50 workshops and discussion groups. Attendees will gain new ideas to build audience, learn ways to stretch even the tightest budget, and discover methods to better engage donors. Past host cities include Louisville, KY, San Jose, CA, Providence, RI, Houston, TX, and Miami, FL.

Method Products Co-Founder and Chief Brand Architect Eric Ryan launches the 2012 Conference as the Opening Keynote. Nina Simon, author and executive director of the Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz, CA, will invigorate attendees on day two. The Conference closes with author and strategist Rohit Bhargava who will not only share his marketing expertise, but also his new book, Likeonomics, which was just named a must-read of 2012 by Forbes! (Editor’s Note: You can watch all of the keynotes live online!)

Individual session titles will tackle diverse topics like, Innovations That Pay: How Arts Organizations Are Adapting and Finding New Income Streams, Consumer Psychology: New Experiments That Use Science to Grow Your Audience, and The Win-Win: Arts Organizations and Businesses Partner to Achieve More. Read the rest of this entry »

Laura Bruney

When business supports the arts, everyone profits. I had the honor of serving as a judge for The BCA 10 awards this year and found tangible evidence that this is true.

The annual awards recognize 10 U.S. companies for their exceptional commitment to the arts. We evaluated nominees from across America—from small mom and pop companies to mega multi-national firms, the businesses we judged were all making valuable contributions to the arts that were paying dividends for their employees, their clients, and their communities. The value of the arts is proven over and over in neighborhoods, cities, states, and our nation.

Deciding the winners was difficult. I was impressed with all of the nominees. As a member of the Americans for the Arts Private Sector Council, I was gratified to see such a wide variety of enterprises that treasure and support  the arts. After much consideration and comparison 10 amazing winners were selected.

The winners were honored in October at an evening gala at the Central Park Boathouse in New York City and the representatives from the winning companies all had something important to say about why the arts matter.

Alltech believes the arts are essential to creating a strong community. They sponsor cultural programs across Kentucky that impact more than 500,000. In accepting the award Pearse Lyons, president and founder, sent a clear message about his sustained support for the arts. When other companies cut back on the arts, Alltech cuts forward. Read the rest of this entry »