The Shelburne Museum in Vermont: Last Study in our Museum Spaces Series

Posted by Meg Salocks On February - 27 - 2015
Meg Salocks

Meg Salocks

For our last peek at Arts Ed in a New England museum space, it seems fitting to end in the state and museum that first sparked my interest in community engagement and museum education: The Shelburne Museum in Vermont. The Shelburne Museum is ineffably unique, as it is not exactly an art, history, or craft museum, but a delightful medley of seemingly anything and everything. This is apparent even at the most basic level: the Shelburne Museum is not housed in one building, but instead operates of a campus of 39 independently standing structures – including a schoolhouse, covered bridge, antique carousel, and a fully restored 1906 steamboat! Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. House Votes Impacting Arts Education

Posted by Narric Rome On February - 26 - 2015
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 There is a great need to improve upon that outdated legislation.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 »

Youth Arts – Pathways to Mastery

Posted by Myran Parker Brass On February - 25 - 2015
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 »

Inspiration Needs to be the Starting Line for Professional Development

Posted by Kristen Engebretsen On February - 20 - 2015
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 »

Teen Turns From ArtsEd Participant to ArtsEd Spokesperson

Posted by Natalie Resendiz On February - 19 - 2015
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 »

Remaining True to the Deep Inner Conviction in Your Art

Posted by Andrew Moses On February - 18 - 2015
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 »

Arts Ed in Museum Spaces: The Rebirth of the Fitchburg Art Museum

Posted by Meg Salocks On February - 13 - 2015
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 »

Introducing…”Encourage Creativity: Teach the Arts”

Posted by Kristen Engebretsen On February - 13 - 2015
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 »

Student Advocates for the Arts in the College Classroom

Posted by Stephanie Milling On February - 11 - 2015
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 »

Arts Education in Museum Spaces: The Enriching Kidspace at MASS MoCA

Posted by Meg Salocks On February - 6 - 2015
Meg Salocks

Meg Salocks

If you haven’t heard of it, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams, is well worth a visit – no matter how long it takes to get there. If you have heard of it, then you know what I’m talking about.

FullSizeRender

Photo Credit: Meg Salocks

Opened in 2000, in a massive factory complex that takes up nearly a third of downtown North Adams, MASS MoCA is a seamless blend of contemporary art, community, and education. Read the rest of this entry »

Creativity AND the Arts: not an “either/or”

Posted by Janet Starke On February - 4 - 2015
Janet Starke

Janet Starke

Creativity. The Creative Worker. Creative Problem-Solvers. The Creative Class, (as coined by Richard Florida), Creativity in the Workplace. A Google search on the word “creativity” elicits 216,000,000 listings. Many of the scholarly articles address the role of creativity in the workplace, the relationship between creativity and cognition, or how to cultivate creativity. Mention creativity, and it’s only a matter of time before the conversation turns to the debate of STEM vs. STEAM. What I have increasingly observed in both articles and conversations on creativity is that some include the arts as an integral component in cultivating creativity, while many others do not. Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Ed in Museum Spaces: Maine’s Own, the Farnsworth Art Museum

Posted by Meg Salocks On January - 23 - 2015
Meg Salocks

Meg Salocks

The Farnsworth Art Museum is a small art museum in Rockland, ME – approximately 70 miles north of the state’s capital – that is really anything but small. Founded in 1948, the museum’s collection was designed specifically to celebrate “Maine’s role in American Art.” With this in mind, it is not at all surprising that the Farnsworth Art Museum’s current focus is building “life-long connections” with all the diverse and divergent audiences in Maine’s mid-coast region. Read the rest of this entry »

Jeff Poulin

Jeff Poulin

In the Arts Education world, Chicago has been in the news a lot lately. To best understand what has gone on the past 2 or so years, we have compiled a concise list of events, news stories and reports to tell the tale for all of us non-Chicagoans.

1. Chicago’s Cultural Plan

In February 2012, a celebration was held to mark the release of the City of Chicago’s Cultural Plan. Developed in conjunction with advocates, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) along with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the plan called for specific attention on Arts Education within Chicago Public Schools (CPS). After one year in effect, the several studies have been completed, data has been compiled and analysis is beginning. Read the rest of this entry »