The Power of the Arts to Affect Change

Posted by Rob Schultz On November - 26 - 2014
Rob Schultz

Rob Schultz

One of the most gratifying things about working at the Mesa Arts Center is the opportunity to partner with local arts organizations, artists, and educators, help present their work, and bring it to the attention of our patrons. These partnerships come in all shapes and sizes, with varying degrees of success, affecting different audiences in different ways. So, since this is an arts education-oriented blog, let’s focus on one of my favorite partnerships, and favorite organizations: Phonetic Spit. Read the rest of this entry »

Developing Arts Advocates: The Future of the Arts

Posted by Stephanie Milling On November - 21 - 2014
Stephanie Milling

Stephanie Milling

The last few months I have been speaking a lot about arts advocacy in various venues. While sharing information about advocacy with others involved in the arts, I have come to realize that there are many who feel the work that advocates do is important; however, they are reluctant or unsure how to become involved themselves. In these conversations, I began to realize that advocating for the arts might not be enough. Perhaps arts advocates need to identify the citizens, leaders, artists, and arts audiences in our respective communities who could become arts advocates and contribute to our efforts in sustaining the presence of the arts in our respective communities. Read the rest of this entry »

A Conversation Starter: Arts Marketing and Education at NAMPC

Posted by Janet Starke On November - 14 - 2014
Janet Starke

Janet Starke

An Arts Educator’s Report from NAMPC 2014

I had the privilege and honor to attend this past weekend’s NAMP (National Arts Marketing Project) Conference in Atlanta. I co-presented a session with AFTA’s Arts Education Program Coordinator, Jeff Poulin. This stemmed from a conversation we first began last winter, when we discussed the concept of the “shared space between arts marketing and education.” Mind you, even as we might picture the “center” of the highly-valued Venn Diagram, there are varied tracks within that center:

1) Marketing arts education for the advancement of the programs

2) Using education as a tool for marketing the organization

3) Using education as a vehicle for increased audience development and ticketing sales Read the rest of this entry »

“Mrs. Murphy! I never knew there was so much art!”

Posted by Amanda Murphy On October - 24 - 2014
Amanda Murphy

Amanda Murphy

My two after school art clubs, six parent chaperones, and I were walking back from our enormously successful field trip when one of my students beamed: “Mrs. Murphy! I never knew there was so much art!” We’d spent the day elbow deep in art processes at The Shirt Factory in Glens Falls–a historic shirt factory turned haven for artists, crafters, and healers. If you find yourself in upstate New York, do yourself the favor of checking it out.

My students had the incredible opportunity to participate in hour long workshops in pottery, digital photography, felt making, flower pressing, and ‘plarn’ bracelet making–crocheted bracelets made from reused plastic shopping bags. My “art clubbers” were deeply engaged during each workshop, all of which were led by working artists. I excitedly traipsed through the stairwells trying to be in all the workshops simultaneously.

I loved watching them dive into the art making they’d only heard of in our pre-field trip meetings.

I loved watching students who weren’t typically friends bond without reservation over the processes they were sharing.

I loved watching them realize the arts are a viable career option, not only an activity to complete in the art room. Read the rest of this entry »

Champion Your Cause

Posted by Nora Orphanides On October - 22 - 2014
Nora Orphanides

Nora Orphanides

In this age of rapid technological change, it seems that the number of worthy causes known to people around the country and indeed the world is also growing at an exponential rate. Take the incredible ALS #IceBucketChallenge, for example, which reached millions on social media and raised over $115 million! But when videos are not flooding your newsfeed, how do you decide which organization to support, and when? Taking this thought one step further, how do you become an ambassador for your cause and inspire others to follow your example? Read the rest of this entry »

Why Is It So Hard? Seriously.

Posted by Matt D'Arrigo On October - 22 - 2014
Matt D'Arrigo

Matt D’Arrigo

I write this as an arts leader but, more importantly, I also write this as a dad. My wife and I have two amazing children, ages 5 and 8, who are lucky to have both parents who are artists and work in the arts. They receive daily

artistic and creative encouragement at home. We want our children to be creative in their approach to everything in life, to learn and grow with a sense of wonderment, curiosity, and discovery. We want them to express themselves in authentic ways and to respect and understand the immense role the arts and humanities play in shaping all of our lives to be more meaningful, fulfilling, and enjoyable.

They attend a fantastic public school, one of the best in San Diego (I know, I’m biased). They receive arts programming once a week, but only through the generosity of parents and families donating to a foundation that pays for it and volunteers who help support in the classroom. We’re lucky they attend a school in a more “well off” area of town whose families have the means to fund the arts programs. If they attended a lower income school, and we didn’t hold the arts as a highest priority in our home, they would receive very little to no arts exposure or engagement. I don’t think that’s fair.

Read the rest of this entry »

Investing in the Artists and Fans of Tomorrow: StubHub’s Story

Posted by Emma Leggat On October - 20 - 2014
Emma Leggat

Emma Leggat

I have the pleasure of serving as StubHub’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and in September 2012, had a life-changing opportunity to visit New Orleans with a special mission.

New Orleans was to host Super Bowl XLVIII, meaning it would also be the site of StubHub’s annual Super Bowl Pregame Bash, which attracts some 7,000 attendees each year. The city of New Orleans has given so much to sports and music fans alike, and as the world’s largest ticket marketplace, these very fans are the core of our business. Naturally, we wanted to give back.

While considering ways to narrow StubHub’s CSR focus to increase our positive impact, we uncovered findings any Americans for the Arts member knows all too well: while more research than ever before demonstrates how vital the arts are to youth development and future achievement, budget cuts continue to threaten arts education in schools across the country, particularly those in underserved communities. These findings further spurred our drive to give back. Read the rest of this entry »

A Dancers Life Made Immortal

Posted by Jennifer Oliver On October - 12 - 2014
Jennifer Oliver

Jennifer Oliver

On the fourth Saturday in May, every year, I wake up early to begin a day that continues to ground me in the field of arts education. I arrive at Dance Place San Diego to set up for the Carrie Anne Fipps Memorial Scholarship. Typically, Carrie’s family and friends are hanging banners and posting direction signs as I walk up. I am greeted by warm and cheerful embraces before I run upstairs to set up the check-in tables, the audition space and the judges table. It is an hour before the event will begin and parents and children have already begun to line up in the narrow hallway.

Once the doors open, students are signed in, given their number and ushered into the large dance space. The room quiets as I approach the middle of the floor to greet students and families, “Thank you all for coming today to support your child and this gift. We are all here because of one child – one young dancer who believed that dancing was a gift worth fighting for and one family whose mission has been to provide that gift to others – help me in welcoming Carrie Anne Fipps’ parents and brother to the microphone.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Shared Space of Arts Marketing & Education

Posted by Jeff Poulin On October - 8 - 2014
Jeff Poulin

Jeff Poulin

In my last job, I worked to develop audiences. Today, I work in arts education. Many people curiously ask me why and how the two are connected. To which, I respond: “To develop audiences in the long run, a venue must work to ensure that future audience members receive a quality arts education.” This is exactly how I ended up in my previous position, before uncovering a chicken-and-egg style conundrum.

The Task-At-Hand

My work was with a large (2,111 seat) theatre in a European country capitol city. The venue was the first of its kind to bring blockbuster musical theatre to its audiences and capitalized on the new-found economic stability in a post-2008 economy. The time was ripe to be developing robust theatrical calendars, and audiences were justly on board.  However, the question became: how is this sustainable in the long run?  I began my work in the Marketing Department to understand the audience and devise strategies which would deliver on long term audience development goals. Read the rest of this entry »

Geeking Out on Data

Posted by Deborah Vaughn On October - 8 - 2014
Deb Vaughn

Deb Vaughn

If you read past the title of this blog entry you are probably one of the chosen people: the data geeks. You are the ones who love debating bar graphs vs pie charts (answer: bar graphs win. In general, they are clearer and easier to understand.) You spend hours deciding if a survey question should be multiple choice or single answer. You look for any opportunity to include an excel chart in your presentation. Yes, I’m talking about YOU. Don’t be afraid: you are among friends.

In the world of arts education, data can have a negative connotation. We live in an age of over-collection of data, much of which is never used to make decisions or change policy. This is frustrating for the data generators (schools, teachers, grantees) and data gatherers (parents, teachers, funders, administrators, policy makers). When data is presented, it is often over-visualized, leading to confusion and misinterpretation. Google “data visualization” and prepare to have a psychedelic experience with some really pretty designs. But in no way will it increase your understanding of any important issue. Read the rest of this entry »

86+ Actions to Take and Growing: Carrying Our Collective Agenda Forward

Posted by Heather Ikemire On September - 19 - 2014
Heather Ikemire

Heather Ikemire

March 29, 2014, was the final day of the first-ever National Summit on Creative Youth Development in Boston—a national convening of more than 200 youth arts practitioners, funders, policymakers, and students designed to bring new energy and focus to creative youth development. On that day 86 individuals stood up at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and declared personal commitments to advancing creative youth development. I was proud to be one of them. Read the rest of this entry »

Evaluating Creative Youth Development Programs: Who Wins and Why?

Posted by Traci Slater-Rigaud On September - 19 - 2014
Traci Slater-Rigaud

Traci Slater-Rigaud

The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the nation’s highest honor for the field of out-of-school time arts and humanities programs, particularly those that reach children and youth with tremendous potential, but limited opportunities.  It is a signature initiative of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Every year the President’s Committee and our cultural partners present National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards to 12 outstanding programs across the US and one International Spotlight Awardee. Thirty-eight finalist programs also receive certificates of excellence for their work. Read the rest of this entry »

NEA Supports Creative Youth Development

Posted by Terry Liu On September - 19 - 2014
Terry Liu

Terry Liu

As an Arts Education Specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts, I am fortunate to see new blooms in the field of education.  Earlier this year, I was honored to join more than 200 national, state, local, and community-based youth arts leaders for the National Summit on Creative Youth Development in Boston, sponsored by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the National Guild for Community Arts Education.

It’s exciting to have a quorum of leaders who are committed to taking creative youth development to the next level.  We came with decades of experience in this field, and we left with a clear policy and advocacy agenda that our respective organizations could implement at the local, state, and national levels. Read the rest of this entry »

Get to know your assumptions, then throw them out the window.

Posted by Sarah Cunningham On September - 18 - 2014
Sarah Bainter Cunningham

Sarah Bainter Cunningham

New sustainability models break through belief barriers about the business of arts education.  If teens must be employed during their high school career, why not employ them to make art? One organization pays students to participate as employees and upends assumptions about student participation. If fund-raising is challenging for smaller organizations, why not gather together tackle this beast? Another organization runs common development events for multiple arts education organizations, and upends the assumptions that local organizations must be pitted competitively against one another.  Both of these examples threw out prior assumptions to create new models. Read the rest of this entry »

Connecting Creative Youth Development and In-School Arts Education

Posted by Laura Perille On September - 18 - 2014
Laura Perille

Laura Perille

Is it possible to rapidly increase the level of arts education offered in an urban district? Based on the example of the Boston Public Schools (BPS) Arts Expansion Initiative launched in 2009 by EdVestors, the BPS Superintendent, and local foundations, the resounding answer to that question is yes. This effort was rooted in the belief that arts opportunities play a powerful role in the life and learning of students in urban schools, and that a fundamental part of creating these opportunities was increasing access to quality arts education in order to create equity for all students.

One of the main challenges initially faced by BPS Arts Expansion was increasing the amount of in-school arts education offered in Boston Public Schools. Read the rest of this entry »