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 »

Narric Rome

Narric Rome

If you have a generally pessimistic view of how our federal government works, and have been distressed about lack of productivity by Congress in recent years, read this quote from Senate education committee chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and then you can stop reading this blog post.

I know that there will have to be 60 votes to move out of the Senate, 60 votes to go to conference, and 60 votes to pass a bill in the end. That takes working with all senators here, including those on the other side. I also know … that if we want it to be a law, it takes a presidential signature and that president today is President Obama.”

With a U.S. Senate of 56 Republicans and 46 Democrats and Independents, a GOP House and a Democratic Administration, it’s hard to see how federal education reform legislation can be successfully passed with this divided government.

However, if you enjoy a good policy debate, then welcome to a new round of Reauthorizing the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA)! Read the rest of this entry »

Teaching Artists: Applying the Breadth of their Skills

Posted by Nancy Ng On January - 21 - 2015

Nancy Ng

The typical structure of 99% of U.S. non-profit arts organizations includes segregated artistic, administrative, and development departments. My colleagues who work in such segregated institutions experience chasms between departments and waste time bickering and competing for an even share of resources. Aside from the intention of human resource efficiency, I have never understood the acceptance of this structure.

Upon leaving graduate school I was fortunate to co-lead a small organization, Asian American Dance Performances, where there was no division between the artistic and administrative staff. I happily danced and choreographed while writing my first grants and figuring out excel spreadsheets. I always loved math and spatial relationships, which were the modalities I used to learn dance. After completing a graduate program where my portfolio included a written thesis, performance thesis, and written and oral comprehensive examinations, I was able to talk and write about dance with ease. I could make a case for my artistic work and the work of my fellow artists. Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Ed in Museum Spaces: An Introduction

Posted by Meg Salocks On January - 16 - 2015
Meg Salocks

Meg Salocks

Welcome to our mini-series on #ArtsEd in #MuseumSpaces!

Over the past year, we have spent a lot of time discussing and promoting a healthy arts education ecosystem in communities across every town and state in the country. The Shared Endeavor model is garnering more support everyday as schools and communities work together to share the responsibility of providing a high-quality arts education to their students. Schools are taking up the banner to find creative solutions to integrate arts into classrooms. We’ve heard from teachers and teaching artists in our Teaching Artists Blog Salon this past March, and in our webinar “Arts Education: A Shared Responsibility” just last month.

But what about beyond the school? Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve Got My Data, Now What?

Posted by Deborah Vaughn On January - 14 - 2015
Deb Vaughn

Deb Vaughn

True confession: I am not a strategic evaluator. Anyone else want to come clean? Try this easy quiz:

  • Do you churn out Survey monkey questionnaires the day before your workshops begin?
  • Do you frantically google “student evaluation rubric” as the touring van pulls out of the theatre loading dock?
  • Do you regularly practice post-event justification, working backwards through your program as you rush to complete a final report for a funder the night before it’s due?

If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, you might need an evaluation intervention. Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Education: Ten Things to Remember from 2014

Posted by Jeff Poulin On January - 9 - 2015
Jeff Poulin

Jeff Poulin

I can now affirmatively say that I have been at Americans for the Arts for over a year! Woohoo! …And what a year it has been.

Each month the Arts Education Advisory Council of Americans for the Arts has a monthly call. In December, we sat on the call reflecting on the previous year and what we had all accomplished personally, collectively, and throughout the field. In my role as the Arts Education Program Coordinator, I am privileged to see a lot of things that happen on a national scale across the country, and the council often provides insight into the impacts of these trends or brings my attention to something that is up-and-coming before it has actually made a splash.

In our reflective state, we began compiling a list of the ten things that every arts-interested person should know about arts education from 2014 – it was an incredible year! Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections for the New Year…

Posted by Ken Busby On December - 23 - 2014
Ken Busby

Ken Busby

“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” ~ Margaret J. Wheatley

As we approach the final days of 2014, it’s natural and important to stop and reflect on the accomplishments of the year. But we are quicker to think about the New Year – its promise of exciting things to come. And we resolve to make so many things happen: create new programs, find new donors, develop new partnerships – the sky’s the limit!

But before we cast aside this year, let’s take stock of what we already accomplished and consider lessons learned that could help guide us in the New Year. Read the rest of this entry »

Too Early To Structure Creativity?

Posted by Erin Ronder Neves On December - 22 - 2014
Erin Ronder Neves

Erin Ronder Neves

As a new mother dedicated to fostering a creative and arts filled environment for my daughter, I consistently attend a variety of art, gym, swimming, etc. classes for her that promise to increase her social, physical and emotional growth. My daughter is 14 months old. That’s right- 14 months old. Who knew that such high expectations would be put on my daughter at such a young age?! A recent experience with a music class has made me wonder if arts programming in particular for the very young (6 months- pre-K) should have less structure and more freedom in order to help a child develop at his/her’s own pace and interest level. After all, aren’t the arts inherently differentiated? The arts let us focus more on process versus product, so is there a need to structure one’s creativity when so young? Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Education Poised to Make Quantum Leap in Maryland Public Schools

Posted by Mary Ann Mears On December - 17 - 2014
Mary Ann Mears

Mary Ann Mears

As a life-long advocate for the arts in Maryland, I am thrilled, as are my colleagues and friends of education and the arts, with the break-through opportunity for arts education we now have in our state. On September 16, 2014 our Governor’s Leadership Council, which is a Prek-20 group of state leaders in education and business, unanimously approved a task force report on arts education. I co-chaired the task force and had the privilege of working with an exceptional group of educators, artists, and people from the business sector. Read the rest of this entry »

Freestyle Love Supreme Shows Some Love for Arts Education

Posted by Kristen Engebretsen On December - 10 - 2014
Kristen Engebretsen

Kristen Engebretsen

Freestyle Love Supreme. It sounds a bit like a funk band from the 70’s. It’s not. It’s an improv group that uses freestyle rap as its style. The group has been described as a mashup between the Wu-Tang Clan and Whose Line is it Anyway. They’re featured on a new reality show on Pivot TV, where they take their freestylin’ to the streets and schools of NYC.

As part of all new content created at Participant Media (the parent company of Pivot TV and producers of An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman, and The Help), the company uses its social platform, TakePart, to encourage readers to take action around a cause inspired by the content. In this case Freestyle Love Supreme inspired an action campaign about the importance of arts education called Love Arts Ed. Since we here at Americans for the Arts do indeed Love Arts Ed, we caught up with the leader of Freestyle Love Supreme, Anthony Veneziale, to ask him about his passion for improv, and how it connects to arts education. Answers are edited for brevity. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »