New Coalition Moving Forward with Arts Education Standards

Posted by Tim Mikulski On June - 13 - 2011
Tim Mikulski

Tim Mikulski

Editor’s Note: For the latest on the national arts education standards movement, read this post by Arts Education Council Member Lynne Kingsley published on 9/20/11!

Late last week, it was announced that a coalition of arts education groups will begin revising the 1994 National Standards for Arts Education, with a plan in place to have completed standards ready in 2012.

The process, which began in May 2010 with a two-day meeting that I attended here in D.C., will now continue under the governance of 8 organizations: American Alliance for Theatre and Education; Arts Education Partnership; Educational Theatre Association; The College Board; MENC-The National Association for Music Education; National Art Education Association; National Dance Education Organization; and State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education.

According to the press release, the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS):

“will make the creation of the new arts standards an inclusive process, with input from a broad range of arts educators and decision-makers. The revised standards will be grounded in arts education best practice drawn from the United States and abroad, as well as a comprehensive review of developmental research. Read the rest of this entry »

Bringing Arts Education Home – San Diego Style

Posted by Victoria Plettner-Saunders On June - 10 - 2011

Victoria Plettner-Saunders

Just as I’m preparing for a convention session about how attendees can create their own local arts education advocacy networks based on a model we’ve been using in San Diego and throughout California, I get word from a key district decision maker about their need for some information that may help them take some critical steps to avoid big cuts to the visual and performing arts department budget.

This is a milestone for our newly formed San Diego Alliance for Arts Education. We are being recognized by district decision makers for our ability to help them make more informed decisions to keep arts education in San Diego schools. While we’re not out of the woods yet, I certainly feel a victory for the role that the Alliance’s carefully planned advocacy is playing. Read the rest of this entry »

Kansas: Unexpected Attempt at Veto Override Unsuccessful

Posted by Tim Mikulski On June - 2 - 2011
Tim Mikulski

Tim Mikulski

Yesterday, members of the Kansas House of Representatives unexpectedly attempted to override Gov. Brownback’s line item veto of funding for the Kansas Arts Commission, but the body fell short of the needed votes to do so.

Here are more details from the Associated Press:

“The vote in the House was 50-44. But legislators who wanted to override the veto needed a two-thirds majority, or 84 of 125 votes. Thirty-one House members were absent. That’s not unusual for the day the Legislature sets aside for its adjournment ceremony, because typically no substantial business is conducted...Of the 92 Republicans, 23 voted “yes,” 44 voted “no,” and 25 did not vote. Of the 33 Democrats, 27 voted “yes” and six did not vote.”

The article also lists the vote tally by legislator name. Read the rest of this entry »

Memorial Day Reflections of an Arts Educator

Posted by Jessica Wilt On June - 1 - 2011

Jessica Wilt

The arrival of Memorial Day represents honoring the men and women who lost their lives serving our country and celebrating the unofficial start of summer with family and friends. For me, Memorial Day also marks that time of year when another school season draws to a close.

As the temperature starts to rise and thoughts of swimming pools and summer vacation dance around in our heads, Alice Cooper’s rock anthem “Schools Out” becomes a lively soundtrack for the final countdown.

Cooper was inspired to write the song when asked, “What’s the greatest three minutes of your life?” After mentioning Christmas morning, Cooper responded: “the last three minutes of the last day of school when you’re sitting there and it’s like a slow fuse burning.” I’m in no way condoning the ideas of “school’s out forever, school’s been blown to pieces.”

I think you know where I’m going with this. It’s been a very challenging year for the arts and I will do all that I can to ensure the fuse that is arts education burns a little while longer. Read the rest of this entry »

Do People Really Sing in the Rain?

Posted by Una McAlinden On May - 27 - 2011

Una McAlinden

Yes – when you live in Washington State! With more cloudy days than sunshine – you often have to sing, dance, act, and create in the rain! Yes, these activities are usually happening in buildings, but the rain is ubiquitous. And during our coldest wettest spring on record, we’re singing the praises of the arts this month as Washington State celebrates Arts Education Month in May.

From the grand Olympic mountains to the lush rolling hills of the Palouse, support of arts education is heard in harmony from the Governor, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the School Directors Association, city and county governments, state and local PTAs, local media outlets, and from communities across the state.

ArtsEd Washington (the Washington Alliance for Arts Education) led the efforts to begin highlighting and recognizing the importance of arts education back in 2006 by memorializing an “Arts Education Week” during the third week in May.  Read the rest of this entry »

Federal Arts Education Program UPDATE

Posted by Gladstone Payton On May - 26 - 2011

Gladstone Payton

Yesterday, the House Education and Workforce Committee voted to approve HR 1891, the resolution sponsored by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) that terminates the authorization of 43 U.S. Department of Education programs, including the Arts in Education program.

This bill marks the first attempt at reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), popularly know of late as “No Child Left Behind.” The Committee is promising to move several like pieces of legislation in the coming months toward remaking ESEA.

The Arts in Education program is invaluable to many communities across the country as it funds not only professional development opportunities for arts educators in high-poverty areas, but it also provides money to model programs that support “the enhancement, expansion, documentation, evaluation, and dissemination of innovative, cohesive models that demonstrate effectiveness in: integrating into and strengthening arts in the core elementary and middle school curricula; strengthening arts instruction in those grades; and improving students’ academic performance, including their skills in creating, performing, and responding to the arts.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Federal Arts Education Program In Danger, Again

Posted by Tim Mikulski On May - 24 - 2011

*For an update to this story, visit a newer post by Gladstone Payton.

Just 11 days ago, U.S. House Education Subcommittee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) introduced legislation (H.R. 1891) that seeks to terminate 43 federal education programs, including the Arts in Education program at the U.S. Department of Education.

The bill is now coming up for a vote in the House Education Committee tomorrow.

This measure is more serious than the annual funding bills that have recently threatened to de-fund arts education, as HR 1891 would permanently strip policy language out of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that allows the Arts in Education program to be funded annually.  Read the rest of this entry »

“I’m Just Glad I Got to Be Here and Share My Poems”

Posted by Deborah Vaughn On May - 24 - 2011
Deb Vaughn

Deb Vaughn

We live in secret cities
And we travel unmapped roads.
We speak words between us that we recognize
But which cannot be looked up.
~ “The Cities Inside Us” by Alberto Ríos

On April 28, at the tail end of the fifteenth annual National Poetry Month, 53 high school students (one from every state and territory in the United States) gathered in Washington, DC, to recite poetry. And here’s the best part: no one even looked at them funny. Every one of those students found themselves in a room full of kids exactly like them.  Read the rest of this entry »

Jeanie Duncan

(Continued from Part 1 posted earlier this week)

Process: Constituency Research Yields Insight

As we surveyed our situation, we knew our approach could not be a typical strategic planning process. Board and staff discussion charted an outside-in strategy for data gathering. Our selected consultant was a branding, PR, and market research firm whose representatives reminded us from the beginning that “it doesn’t matter what you think. What matters is what your customer – the community – thinks.”

With the potential for change to be significant, it was essential that the United Arts Council of Greensboro (UAC) communicate openly, early, and often to the constituents who relied on our funding, as well as their core audiences and supporters. For some agencies,our investment comprised as much as 20 percent of their contributed revenue. Regardless of the percentage, the resource was critical; we wanted to mitigate negative impact while giving historically funded agencies ample lead time for planning and preparation.  Read the rest of this entry »

What IS Your Business Model?

Posted by Maud Lyon On May - 19 - 2011

Maud Lyon

Business structures are one thing; business models are another. For all nonprofit arts and culture organizations, there are six sources of revenue: Gifts from individuals; gifts from corporations; foundation grants; government support; earned revenue (tickets or sales, fees for service, rentals, etc.) and investments (including endowments).

Your business structure establishes a foundation and sets the stage. (For all the charitable support, being a 5o1(c)3 is essential. An LC3 would focus more on earned revenue.) However, your business model is the mix of those six sources. Cultural organizations are not all the same – they have a number of different business models, all within the 501(c)3 structure. Each drives different behavior and requires a different attitude. As a thought-starter, here are five ways to think about it. In our experience, most organizations have a mixed model and are not purely one or another.  Read the rest of this entry »

Incubators – Not Just for Chickens

Posted by Valerie Beaman On May - 18 - 2011

Valerie Beaman

Arts incubators are not a new model, but it seems to me that recently some of them have taken on a new joie de vivre. I attribute this to the fact that they are no longer necessarily focused on developing artists into new 501(c)(3) organizations, but empowering ordinary mortals to try their hand at creating something for their own imagination and amusement.

The success of organizations like Brooklyn’s 3rd Ward is confirming research which finds that the younger generation wants to participate in art, not passively observe it. 3rd Ward is a for-profit membership organization which provides space, back office services, food, galleries, a supportive community, and top-of-the-line creative resources, including photo studios, media lab, jewelry studio, wood & metal shops, along with a huge education program. You don’t have to be a member to enjoy the classes, but membership gets you access to the studios.  Read the rest of this entry »

Improving Lives Through Community Arts Education

Posted by Rob Schultz On May - 17 - 2011

Rob Schultz

As an arts administrator with responsibility for community arts education programs, it’s too easy to get caught up in the routine side of management: revenue, expenses, supervising staff, policies, procedures, publicity, and the rest. While necessary, these are merely tools to reach the more crucial and satisfying aspect of community arts education: improving people’s lives and helping them be happy.

In Mesa, AZ, our community arts education programs are fairly comprehensive, and growing.

In 2005, through a “Quality of Life” half-cent sales tax increase approved in 1998 by our citizens, Mesa completed a $99.8 million arts complex just a few blocks north of the original Arts Center site. Because our arts education classes had grown over the years and demand was high, the new Mesa Arts Center’s design included 14 fully-equipped visual and performing arts studios on two floors in two buildings, including an 8,000 square-foot ceramics studio and kiln courtyard.  Read the rest of this entry »

White House Blogs on Arts Education

Posted by Tim Mikulski On May - 16 - 2011
Tim Mikulski

Tim Mikulski

Late last week Melody Barnes, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, took to the White House website to inform the voting public of the recent President’s Council on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH) report, Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools.

Although the report recently made a splash in the arts education world and it was picked up for publication in some publications across the country, it was comforting to see that Ms. Barnes felt it important to utilize the stature of whitehouse.gov to spread the word, too.

In addition to highlighting the work of PCAH, Barnes also spotlighted the first family’s series of concerts (and poetry reading) held at their home since moving to Pennsylvania Avenue.  Read the rest of this entry »

Lessons from Harvard’s Arts in Education Program

Posted by Stephanie Riven On May - 10 - 2011

Stephanie Riven

I have just spent three months as a visiting practitioner at the Harvard Graduate School of Education/Arts in Education (AIE) Program. Steve Seidel, director of AIE, extended an invitation to me to study, teach, and serve as a resource for students during the semester.

So what did I discover after three months of talking and meeting with young people, auditing classes, and attending forums, lectures, and workshops on arts education, education reform, and leadership?

Three takeaways, among many, include:

1) With changes in the economy, the influence of technology and the expansion of entertainment and leisure options, there is a need for bold ideas and creative leadership in shaping a new vision to move the arts and arts education forward. It is our young leaders who possess many of these ideas. Edward Clapp’s collection of essays from emerging leaders in the field entitled 20UNDER40 is quite simply one of the most exciting and hopeful set of ideas for our field that I encountered. I encourage everyone to get your hands on a copy of this book and pass it around to your staff and board members to create an intergenerational dialogue about how to conceive of, program, and sustain the arts and arts education in the future.  Read the rest of this entry »

Tim Mikulski

Tim Mikulski

As previewed by Marete Wester last week on ARTSblog, this week has been chock full of data and recommendations from our own organization’s National Arts Policy Roundtable (NAPR); the U.S. Department of Education’s first look at national arts education from 2009-2010; and the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH) recommendations for the field.

The PCAH report, released today, seeks to put into practice President Obama’s campaign commitment to arts education as the committee has spent the past 18 months assessing the status of the subject, conducting research, and identifying ways to improve and advance arts education.

Their report offers five recommendations to “clarify the position of the arts in a comprehensive, well-rounded K-12 education that is appropriate for all students; unify and focus efforts to expand arts education offerings to underserved students and communities; and, strengthen the evidence base for high-quality arts education.”

PCAH recommends the following:

1. Build collaborations among different approaches – “move beyond internal debates in the arts education field about modes of delivery of arts instruction in order to address more pressing issues of equitable access and infusing more schools with a creativity-rich environment.”  Read the rest of this entry »