Investing in Arts Education = Investing in Innovation

Posted by Kristen Engebretsen On July - 14 - 2011

Kristen Engebretsen

During our recent Arts Education Council meeting in San Diego, the council members suggested posting some blogs about the federal grant Investing in Innovation (i3) in preparation of the deadline for the next round of applications. So, for the next couple of days, Americans for the Arts will be encouraging a spotlight on the i3 program.

Expect to see some lessons learned from last year’s arts-focused grantees and links to helpful resources if you’re finishing up your application or wanting to resubmit your application from last year.

During that same meeting, the council had the pleasure of hearing Rachel Goslins, executive director of the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities (PCAH), speak via Skype about their recent Reinvesting in Arts Education report. Read the rest of this entry »

Taking the Hassle Out of Giving

Posted by Roger Vacovsky On July - 12 - 2011

Capital One No Hassle Giving Widget

As many of you know, Capital One has recently partnered with Alec Baldwin and Americans for the Arts to promote nonprofit arts funding with their No Hassle Giving Site.

Now, you can get potential funders closer to the GivingSite and supporting the arts with a Capital One Custom Charity Widget on your webpage, Facebook site, etc. It’s an easy and effective way to allow those that believe in our cause to advocate for the arts help to support us in these seemingly tumultuous economic times for artists and arts professionals.

Show that you believe in Americans for the Arts’ and Mr. Baldwin’s unified vision to keep  arts funding of the utmost public importance by following just a couple of quick steps. Read the rest of this entry »

Inspiring Your Inner Artist

Posted by Michael R. Gagliardo On July - 12 - 2011
Mike Gagliardo

Mike Gagliardo

Quick – raise your hand if you got into your job in the arts for the money.

That’s what I thought.

Now raise your hand if you spend a majority of your work day worrying about and dealing with your budget, stressing over where the cash to fund the next big project is going to come from, or simply wondering where and how hard you’re going to have to squeeze to make payroll.

Hands down.

The truth of the matter is this – we’re so damned consumed with trying to scrape together every penny that we’ve forgotten why we got into this “business” in the first place.  And I call it a business because, for better or for worse, that’s what it’s become.

The arts have seemingly become a part of the business of survival. Read the rest of this entry »

Josh Groban Sheds ‘Light’ On Arts Education

Posted by Tim Mikulski On July - 8 - 2011

Josh Groban

Singer-songwriter Josh Groban was a strong supporter of the arts and arts education long before gaining the attention of the music industry in 1998. His initial foray into charitable causes has always included arts education, in addition to a number of other causes.

However, Groban also recognizes that access to quality arts education has been declining and he wants to do as much as he can to help students be exposed to, and trained in, music, theater, dance, and visual arts.

Yesterday he announced that he is refocusing his charitable efforts on arts education under a new name, the Find Your Light Foundation.

Seeking to make a difference in schools across America and around the world, the foundation will focus on providing instruments and funding for arts programs in schools. Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Integration Isn’t Enough

Posted by Katherine Damkohler On July - 6 - 2011

Katherine Damkohler

Integration across academic disciplines can strengthen a child’s learning. When teachers reinforce content through a variety of approaches it helps children retain information and fully appreciate academic concepts. However, one academic discipline cannot fully convey the fundamentals of another.

For instance, a History teacher cannot expect to effectively relate the scientific processes of an electrical current to students by teaching them the historical biographies of Nicola Tesla and Thomas Edison. And yet, many educators apply this approach of substituting subject instruction to the artistic disciplines.

I have seen too many schools refrain from hiring an arts teacher because they have been lulled into thinking that training a classroom teacher to integrate the arts into their lessons serves as an acceptable substitute for bringing a full-time arts instructor on staff. Read the rest of this entry »

Alec Baldwin: A Critical Time for Arts Funding

Posted by admin On July - 5 - 2011
Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin speaks at Arts Advocacy Day 2011.

Hello. I’m Alec Baldwin.

Over the past few months, you may have seen me on television doing a series of commercials for Capital One.

What you may not know is that I am donating all of the proceeds from this work to cultural charities, including some of the organizations with which I’m involved: Guild Hall of East Hampton, The New York Philharmonic, Roundabout Theater, the Hamptons International Film Festival, and of course, Americans for the Arts.

But these spots are not about me getting money and then giving it to charity. Actually, Capital One is partnering with me.

That’s right. Capital One has partnered with me to help the arts by letting these advertisements serve as a platform through which I can raise awareness about the need for public funding of the arts and arts education.

In these tough economic times, I don’t want people to forget about the arts and arts education. People need to understand what’s at stake. Read the rest of this entry »

Old School New School, A New Documentary

Posted by Steven Fischer On July - 1 - 2011

Steven Fischer

Snag Films has released Old School New School, an educational documentary on the nature of creativity.

The movie explores the mystery of creativity with a cast of artistic heavyweights including celebrated actor Brian Cox (known for standout work in King Lear, X-Men, and Manhunter – Cox was the first to play Hannibal Lecter), innovative jazz pianist McCoy Tyner (Four-time Grammy® Award winner and pianist for the John Coltrane Quartet), and six-time Oscar® nominee William Fraker (the cinematographer who created the memorable photography of Bullitt, Rosemary’s Baby, WarGames, and Tombstone.)

In the movie, an independent filmmaker (me) questioning how he can realize his full creative potential travels the United States in search of answers. The journey takes him into the lives and homes of some of today’s most accomplished and illuminating artists. Their conversations explore three central themes: finding one’s voice, risk, and the definition of success in the arts.  Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Education Advocacy Success in Sunny San Diego

Posted by Tim Mikulski On June - 30 - 2011
Tim Mikulski

Tim Mikulski

For those of you who were able to attend our local arts education advocacy session at the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention, you know all about the work of the San Diego Alliance for Arts Education.

For those that couldn’t make it to San Diego a few weeks ago, the Alliance was created as part of a statewide effort by the California Alliance for Arts Education to launch local advocacy groups.

Led by Americans for the Arts’ Arts Education Council Chair Victoria Plettner-Saunders, the group has recently been attempting to restore funding to the San Diego Unified School District’s (SDUSD) Visual and Performing Arts Department (VAPA). (You can read more about their efforts in an earlier post from ARTSblog or by purchasing our full slate of sessions on our Convention On-Demand site and viewing the local arts education advocacy session).

On June 21, all of their relationship-building and advocacy efforts led to a unanimous vote by the board of education that restored full funding to arts education programs for the 2011-2012 school year. Read the rest of this entry »

South Carolina Governor Vetoes Arts Funding

Posted by admin On June - 28 - 2011

Editors Note: Click here for an update on this story.

In response to South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s decision to veto funding for the South Carolina Arts Commission, Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, issued the following statement:

“In vetoing funding for the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC), Gov. Nikki Haley offers another unfortunate example of newly-elected gubernatorial leadership being out of touch with the wishes of voters for ideological reasons.

Betty Plumb, executive director of the South Carolina Arts Alliance states, ‘South Carolinians have spoken and the General Assembly has listened. The budget is balanced, and it includes the arts. The state’s small investment in the arts yields significant, statewide returns for education, quality of life, and our economy. The support and services the arts commission provides make a positive difference in our communities and schools. We don’t need to sacrifice this valuable public asset when there is no practical necessity to do so.’  Read the rest of this entry »

Making the Case for the Arts Session - #AFTA11

It is now more important than ever to defend funding and preservation of the arts. This was the subject of “Making the Case for the Arts,” a session at this year’s Americans for the Arts convention.

While many reasons for supporting the arts were addressed, Randy Cohen, Vice President of Research and Policy at Americans for the Arts, presented research mostly on the significance of the arts with regard to education, the economy, personal development, and healthcare.

Education. Studies show that, regardless of income level, students who are highly active in the arts are less likely to drop out of school by 10th grade (1.4 percent vs. 4.8 percent). Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Not ‘What Future?’, It’s ‘What a Future!’

Posted by Ken Busby On June - 21 - 2011

Ken Busby

The Americans for the Arts Annual Conference just wrapped up in San Diego. It was terrific!

On the plane from Tulsa, I had begun writing my blog for this week. I had just received an urgent e-mail from the Arts Action Fund that immediate action was needed to oppose any effort to terminate arts education as currently proposed in H.R. 1891, the “Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act.”

I had dutifully written my congressman, using the step-by-step process from the Action Fund website, personalizing my message with anecdotes from my organization, and adding my voice to thousands of others who have written or will write to their congressman or congresswoman on this important issue.

As I was sitting on the plane, thinking about why the arts always seem to be under attack given the mountains of data and research that we have that prove that arts education improves student behavior, keeps students in school longer, improves SAT scores by an average of 100 points, etc., I began writing this blog. It was filled with the reasons why the arts matter. Read the rest of this entry »

I Have A Problem…A Civic Engagement Problem

Posted by Danielle Brazell On June - 21 - 2011

Danielle Brazell

I run a local arts advocacy organization in a small fishing village on the west coast that’s home to 10 million people, 88 cities, and 81 school districts in a geography that spans thousands of square miles.

Yes, my little fishing village (aka Los Angeles) is massive!

Our advocacy approach has been high-tech/high-touch advocacy approach and is focused on three critical issue areas:

•    Arts Education
•    Cultural Economy
•    Civic Engagement

Within this context, I constantly ask the question: How can we connect more people to advocate for the arts in their community? I think the answer lies somewhere between community organizing and community development. Read the rest of this entry »

Sending An Arts Message to the President

Posted by Sheryl Oring On June - 20 - 2011

Penny Ross eyed my “I Wish to Say” office from across the room and I beckoned her over and invited her to dictate a postcard to the President.

It was early in the morning at the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in San Diego, and Ms. Ross clearly had something to say.

She started her postcard to the White House like this: “I live in Chandler, Arizona. Arizona has eliminated all of the funding for the arts.”

Ms. Ross went on to tell me that she’d been teaching art to junior high students for 12 years, but that her job was just eliminated. “They don’t want to spend money on art supplies,” she said. “But the annual budget was $500. And that served 1,000 students.” Read the rest of this entry »

Well, I Do Declare: Studying Arts Not A Major Mistake

Posted by Breena Loraine On June - 18 - 2011

Higher Education Peer Group Session - AFTA11

I have the great privilege of attending this year’s Americans for the Arts Annual Convention as a student representative of San Diego State University. As a student, I was excited to attend the Higher Education Peer Group.

During the session, the conversation gravitated toward the difficult decision college students face as they declare their major. In a fickle economic environment and uncertain job market, students may be deterred from choosing to major in their true passion—music, dance, theater, art, photography, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

Reporting from San Diego

Posted by Sally Gaskill On June - 17 - 2011

Sally Gaskill

Yesterday morning I happened to walk down the hall and saw a sign for a “Higher Education Peer Group” session. I am an arts administrator who works in higher education, so I hoped the session would be open to anyone, and I was in luck. I immediately recognized the person in charge: the bow-tied Ron Jones, newly appointed president of the Memphis College of Art.

In Ron’s previous position as Dean of the Arts at the University of South Florida, he had spoken out about the need for data on the people who graduate with arts degrees from our colleges and universities. He had, in fact, become a poster child for the research project I manage at Indiana University – the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project – and is quoted on the SNAAP brochure as follows:  “Accountability is our future, and SNAAP is providing data that heretofore we made up or assumed.”  Read the rest of this entry »