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 There is a great need to improve upon that outdated legislation.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 »

Making Major Asks to Private Donors

Posted by John Bryan On February - 18 - 20151 COMMENT
John Bryan

John Bryan

There is a gigantic, come-and-have-some, boatload of private sector money available to all arts organizations. New research from Richmond, Virginia confirms that most don’t ask for it.

What’s the pot of money? It is the money in personal pocketbooks of the arts organizations’ most loyal constituents: pocketbooks that already make ongoing donations in response to grassroots solicitations such as direct mail, special events, and crowd-source platforms. But new research shows that most arts organizations rarely have personal, look-you-in-the-eye meetings with their best donors to ask for major amounts of money. The donor who loyally and happily writes an annual $1,000 check never experiences a personal meeting to ask for $25,000. Read the rest of this entry »

Meg Salocks

Meg Salocks

The Fitchburg Art Museum (FAM), located in Central Massachusetts, is an interesting example of a small community museum founded for a very different local population than the one in which it finds itself today. This has led to an even more interesting fold of arts education within their walls, as you’re about to find out!

The FAM was originally founded by Fitchburg native and painter, Eleanor Norcross, in 1929 to share her collections of European, Egyptian, and ancient art with local middle class families. Today, the local population is approximately 40% Hispanic, as well as Laotian, Mung, and Cambodian. The Fitchburg Art Museum must not only appeal to this varied population that is so different from its founding environment, but also to a significantly different base of older families and private schools that also consider the greater Central Massachusetts area home; a tricky task for any small institution. Read the rest of this entry »

Kristen Engebretsen

Kristen Engebretsen

Americans for the Arts (AFTA) believes that the arts are an essential part of preparing students for success in school, work, and life. We provide practical tools, advocacy resources, and research-based publications, such as our Field Guide and Navigator e-book series to help convince leaders of this important role the arts play in student success.

Because we work in the arts, one of most powerful forms of advocacy is using our art forms to communicate. Having artistic and high-quality materials, such as the Field Guide and Navigator e-books, is essential to how valuable these advocacy tools are. Read the rest of this entry »

Lane Harwell

Lane Harwell

Recent studies by Americans for the Arts, Giving USA, and others have drawn welcome public attention to the role of corporate giving in the creative ecology–some sounding alarms and others offering rays of hope.

Now, the organization I run, Dance/NYC, is weighing in with State of NYC Dance and Corporate Giving, which segments available Cultural Data Project data on dance group budget size, type and geography to address equity in the distribution of resources. No matter how we segment the data, the findings are bleak for most dance groups and invite collective action to enlarge and stabilize business support. Read the rest of this entry »

Stephanie Milling

Stephanie Milling

In my last blog, I spoke about developing future arts advocates and some of the misconceptions that might prevent individuals from participating. To continue on a similar trajectory, there is one population, in my opinion, that we should target as the next generation of arts leaders who will continue to sustain theatre, dance, creative writing, visual art, and music for many generations to come: students. Read the rest of this entry »

Theresa Cameron

Theresa Cameron

This week’s blog salon on Cultural Districts and Communities:  Catalysts for Change explored how cultural districts are improving, engaging, and sometimes changing their communities. Kicking off the salon, I introduced our new tool – the National Cultural Districts Exchange, which is a suite of online tools and resources to provide research and information about cultural districts. This new resource is meant to be an exchange of ideas, information, and resources – and this blog salon supplemented this new tool with great viewpoints and unique perspectives on cultural districts. Read the rest of this entry »

Tom Borrup

Tom Borrup

I’ve had many great opportunities to witness how different communities organize themselves through, around, or into arts and cultural districts. In September, 2014, I had the pleasure of visiting a community in Marseille (800,000 population) in the south of France, a cluster of 8 small neighborhoods that formed a fascinating and alluring heritage and creative district with an approach I hadn’t seen in the United States.

Marseille was motivated by the opportunity to serve as European Capital of Culture for 2013, an effort that brought together players across government, creative, and business sectors to build working relationships like they never had before. The now 30-year-old Capital of Culture program rotates through the nations of the EU selecting cities to show off their distinctive creative and cultural assets. A total of 75 municipal entities in the Provence region (1.8 million population) – an area with no history of regional planning and little cooperation – demonstrated unprecedented unity and cultural vitality for their year in the European spotlight. It was branded Marseille-Provence 2013 or MP2013. Read the rest of this entry »