Makers’ Fever Spreads Throughout the District

Posted by Asha Holden On July - 2 - 2015
Asha Holden

Asha Holden

*achoo*A couple weeks after the festivities, this humble intern is still recovering from Makers’ fever. I caught it while attending two of the Maker Faires held in the District the week of June 12th.Last year, President Obama caught the fever when the White House hosted its first Maker Faire after submitting a Presidential Proclamation declaring June 17th a National Day of Making. This year he updated the Proclamation, declaring June 12th-18th a National Week of Making. That’s one serious case of the Makers’ bug, if you ask me! Read the rest of this entry »

So, What Do You Do?

Posted by Ashley McDonald On June - 26 - 2015
Ashley McDonald

Ashley McDonald

Felicia Shaw Headshot

Felicia Shaw

Editor’s Note: Ashley McDonald, Membership Associate at Americans for the Arts, interviewed our member Felicia Shaw about her work in the arts field. At the time of this interview Felicia was in the process of transitioning from her role as interim executive director of Young Audiences of San Diego to her new role as executive director of the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) in her hometown of St. Louis, MO.

AM: Can you describe your role at St. Louis Regional Arts Commission (RAC)?

FS: My job at RAC will be to assume the leadership role of a local arts agency that has had an impressive 30-year history of growing the arts and culture community throughout the St. Louis region. I’ll be working to preserve the vitality of a successful organization that is ready to grow to the next level, particularly at a time when St. Louis is turning the corner and looking to the future. I am charged with establishing a vision for RAC and strategically moving the organization forward in a new and impactful way for the next decade and beyond. Read the rest of this entry »

Some Expressions about the Arts and Creative Expression

Posted by Charles Jensen On June - 23 - 2015
Charlie Jensen

Charlie Jensen

I was thrilled to sit in on the “Vocabulary for Arts and Arts Education” session at Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention this year. All three presenters—Christopher Audain, Kevin Kirkpatrick, and Margy Waller, along with moderator Margie Reese—were all on point for the session and I perhaps overtweeted in my enthusiasm over what they shared. Read the rest of this entry »

VANS Inspires the Next Generation of Artists, Designers, and Innovators

Posted by Kristen Engebretsen On June - 22 - 2015
Kristen Engebretsen

Kristen Engebretsen

Editor’s Note: Americans for the Arts partners with VANS on their Custom Culture program. Last week in New York City was the final event of the competition, where the winning shoe design was picked. Below are remarks that our Arts Education Program Manager made during the event:

My name is Kristen, and my organization, Americans for the Arts, partners with Vans to ensure that schools all over the country have amazing arts programs, just like yours.

Custom Culture was developed to encourage high school students to embrace their creativity and inspire a new generation of youth culture. Read the rest of this entry »

Working Smarter – not Harder – when Advocating for the Arts

Posted by Stephanie Milling On June - 18 - 2015
Stephanie Milling

Stephanie Milling

It is an interesting time in arts education. Two distinct, relatively recent developments–the National Core Arts Standards and New Models of Teacher Evaluation for non-tested subject areas–have greatly contributed to arts education and will continue to have a positive impact on the field for years to come. These projects have provided the field with current perspectives on best practices in teaching and assessing learning in the arts. In addition to providing guidance for educators’ practices in the classroom, these developments in our field also help illustrate the positive impact of the arts in education. While these different tools provide arts educators and administrators with a means to shape valuable arts experiences in education, their relevance could also be used in current advocacy efforts. Read the rest of this entry »

Justice in Education

Posted by Lara Davis On June - 5 - 2015
Lara Davis

Lara Davis

Across the country, communities are calling for justice in education. High stakes testing, disproportionate discipline by race, and the mass closing of public schools in certain regions profoundly impact the lives of young people. In an environment where education reform, vouchers, charter schools, and increased accountability dominate the landscape, what does it mean to impact the very heart and bureaucratic structure of public school districts and build trust, equity, and meaningful change? Read the rest of this entry »

Great Expectations: One Measure at a Time

Posted by Janet Starke On June - 3 - 2015
Janet Starke

Janet Starke

Tis the season for all things grants. Grant applications, grant reports, grant prospecting (well really, that season never ends). In the past 90 days, I have had my hand in nearly a dozen grants, mostly to corporate and community foundations, as well as (state) government.

Those of you who work in this realm or in tandem with your development team know the drill: mission, check. Need, check. Project description, check. Impact, check. Or in this one, outcomes. But wait, the other one is asking for metrics and measurements. This one is looking for more quantitative measurement. That one encourages qualitative data. And the school systems to whom I am providing services are looking to still different outcomes and measurements altogether. And while so many benevolent community funders have taken the seemingly Herculean effort to equitably support both social services and cultural (education) funding, so often then, we are asked to complete evaluation templates that are really geared towards social service sector outcomes. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Going on Internationally in Arts Education?

Posted by Jeff Poulin On June - 2 - 2015
Jeff Poulin

Jeff Poulin

As we celebrated International Arts Education Week 2015 last week, I have a renewed interest in exploring what is happening around the world in the fields of arts and education; specifically where they come together.

The first International Arts education Week was held in 2012 at the UNESCO headquarters with representatives from all sectors involved including artists, educators, NGO’s and the like. To coordinate global efforts in celebration of the power and impact of arts education, the delegates at the UNESCO general conference approved a resolution designating a week to join together as a global community to celebrate on the 4th week of May annually. This guide book is a great starting place for your celebration. Read the rest of this entry »

It All Started With a Teacher

Posted by Ann Marie Miller On June - 2 - 2015
Ann Marie Miller

Ann Marie Miller

At times I have been asked, “How did you find your career path in the arts?” Actually, it’s more often phrased, “How’d you get in this business?” I have held a number of wonderful posts, both public and private, and am currently Director of Advocacy and Public Policy for ArtPride New Jersey, the state arts advocacy organization. My story is evolutionary, organic, and having tilled these fields for over 30 years, long. In this age of sound bites I’ll boil it down to this—“teachers and inspiring leaders.” For me and so many others, it all started with an art teacher. Read the rest of this entry »

The Field of Teaching Artistry

Posted by Eric Booth On June - 1 - 2015
Eric Booth

Eric Booth

Thank you Americans for the Arts for giving your Arts Education award to a Teaching Artist for the first time (me!)! I take it as a public recognition of teaching artistry’s usually-overlooked contribution to the arts education ecosystem. So let’s take a look at teaching artistry.

When is the last time you thought about the national field of teaching artistry? For the vast majority of readers, the answer is probably somewhere between “a long time ago” and “never.” Let’s poke you into thinking about it again right now. Read the rest of this entry »

Five Fundamentals to Creating a District Arts Plan

Posted by Una McAlinden On May - 21 - 2015

Una McAlinden

Although each of us can probably recall a time when success could be defined as not losing (too much) ground, we all want to feel like our efforts have been worth the commitment and have made a lasting difference in some way.

During my ten years at ArtsEd Washington, we saw these rewards when we worked with school principals implementing the Principals Arts Leadership program to help them be effective instructional leaders for the arts. This program confirmed the importance of the principals’ role in the day-to-day provision of arts learning and also illuminated for us how difficult that role is to sustain without the context of a supportive school district publicly committed to the arts. Read the rest of this entry »

Academic Rigor through the Arts

Posted by Deborah Vaughn On May - 20 - 2015
Deb Vaughn

Deb Vaughn

Arts integration has ebbed and flowed in American schools since the 1940’s, in various forms. I read a recent grant proposal that pointed out the challenges of the arts in service of other subjects versus the arts as equal too all subjects. The tension between STEM and STEAM demonstrates ongoing discomfort with integrating subject areas. But intellectual rigor and intense creativity are not mutually exclusive. Read the rest of this entry »

Glenna Avila

Glenna Avila

What a treat to be in Sweet’s Ballroom in Oakland, home-away-from-home for Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Tito Puente, Dizzie Gillespie, Lalo Guerrero, Xavier Cugat, and so many more! And how wonderful for Sweet’s Ballroom to be a part of the Oakland School of the Arts, allowing their talented students to follow in the footsteps of the some of the greatest musicians in history.

The convening on January 30-31, 2015, was made possible by CREATE CA, which brought together over 225 arts leaders from across California for two days of listening, working, and participating in learning about CREATE CA and its release of A Blueprint for Creative Schools (funded by the California Arts Council). Spearheaded by the amazing Malissa Feruzzi Shriver and others, this important work began in 2011 as part of the Education Leaders Institute (ELI) funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Read the rest of this entry »

The Role of the Arts Specialist

Posted by Lauren Hess On May - 19 - 2015
Lauren Hess

Lauren Hess

Public schools are full of turmoil these days. Debate over the shift to the Common Core Standards that has taken place over the last few years is causing tension. Teachers are working overtime to figure out the new standardized tests that have been created by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) to assess the new standards. People are concerned about the amount of standardized testing occurring in our schools throughout the year. Most recently, parents in some communities are taking action and pulling their children from taking the standardized tests. Read the rest of this entry »

The Arts and Arts Education Are Part of the Solution

Posted by Robert Lynch On May - 6 - 2015
Robert L. Lynch

Robert L. Lynch

We are in a springtime of mixed messages in America. Some graduation ceremonies feature stories of great opportunity by commencement speakers, while others are solemn events where graduating seniors are simply processed out the door toward an uncertain future. Clearly, some systems and communities are doing a better job of preparing our children for a creative, successful future. The arts can make a difference between these two outcomes–while there are certainly many other factors involved, the arts are proven to make a positive difference toward graduation and a better learning experience. That is why Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that arts education, or the lack of it, has become “a civil rights issue in America.” And The Conference Board’s Ready to Innovate study found that employers want 21st century employees who are creative; this age of innovation demands a creative workforce. At the top of the list for how to become creative is having the arts in the curriculum when the young people were in school. Read the rest of this entry »