Our offices will be closed on Thursday and Friday so our dedicated staff can enjoy the holiday. We’ll be back to work on Monday! Have a safe and happy holiday!
By day I am an elementary school teacher; by night I’m a wannabe blues musician. For years I kept these two callings separate, but with the Kids Like Blues Band, I found a way to combine my love for the blues and teaching.
By using blues music to engage kids in academic core subjects and the visual and performing arts, my students and I have discovered an innovative program that has brought endless creativity and excitement to thematic, standards-based teaching.
The gig hasn’t ended there though—we’ve taken our act on the road and performed at a street fair, a local college, and live on television. My students and I approach school with a sense of excitement and eagerness, motivated by the blues and rocking out each day!
In addition to having tons of fun, we’ve received recognition from the academic community. The U.S. Department of Education recently featured our work in their “Teaching Matters” newsletter, KPBS-TV did a feature on us, and several professors of education are using our videos to teach their students how to integrate the visual and performing arts into academic instruction.
Using Blues as a Thematic Teaching Tool
Wondering how this creative approach to learning works? Check out this video: Read the rest of this entry »
On November 6, Portland voters passed ballot measure 26-146 to restore arts and music programs in Portland schools and fund arts access citywide.
Needless to say, we are thrilled with the results—the measure passed with 62% approval! Measure 26-126 creates a new income tax of $35 per income-earning resident (above the federal poverty level), which will generate an estimated $12.5 million every year starting in 2013.
Approximately $6.8 million will pay for 68.5 certified arts education teachers in Portland’s school districts (Centennial, David Douglas, Parkrose, Portland Public, Reynolds, and Riverdale) —that’s one arts specialist for every 500 students. Districts receiving these funds will be required to maintain weekly arts instruction in grades K–5.
In addition, the new tax will generate about $5.7 million per year for our local arts agency:
In the months ahead, we will be having lots of conversations with local arts organizations to help them build plans that leverage these resources. Our ultimate goal is to improve arts access in the City of Portland and build new audiences. Read the rest of this entry »
As you saw in a previous ARTSblog post, Brunswick Acres Elementary School in Kendall Park, NJ was very dedicated to winning the third annual “Art of Education” contest sponsored by KRIS Wine and Americans for the Arts.
Not only did this video help them jump out to an early lead, but it helped them score the top prize of $5,000 for their arts education programs:
Even more amazingly, they secured 16,000 of the 90,000 total votes in the contest!
Art teacher Suzanne Tiedemann plans to use the funds to support her recent “Shells for NJ Shores Program” for which students will create shell-themed art to raise money for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy late last month.
In addition, 15 other schools in 9 states will receive a total of $20,000. Read the rest of this entry »
When I began working at Drexel University earlier this year, one of the most interesting developments that fell on my radar was hearing of College of Engineering’s Professor Youngmoo Kim’s directorship of the Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center:
Professor Kim’s background in music includes performing with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and Boston Symphony Orchestra coupled with his Ph.D. degrees in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT and Masters degrees in Electrical Engineering and Music (Vocal Performance Practice) from Stanford University.
The mission of the ExCITe Center focuses on harnessing the talents of professionals working in the fields of research, education, civic engagement, and entrepreneurship as interdependent ingredients for creating transformative regional development. Read the rest of this entry »
The International Council of Fine Arts Deans‘ (ICFAD) meeting in Minneapolis (October 24–27) for their annual conference talked about “Art as a Public Good”—meeting the demands for creativity and innovation, and serving the communities they represent, socially and economically.
Nurturing the talented performer, musician, or sculptor is of utmost importance to the fine arts deans and their universities. However, knowing that the arts, broadly defined, are being called on to shape the larger economic discussion—a national discussion, really—to change the way the whole country thinks about education, economic prowess in the global economy, and preparing our students for the new innovation sector, cries out for their leadership.
Lucinda Lavelli, dean of University of Florida and incoming President of ICFAD, kicked off the conference by talking about the concept of “the creative campus,” now adopted by several universities, “to establish educational settings that infuse the academy with the arts, foster creativity in all disciplines, promote interdisciplinary projects and encourage new ways of solving problems and expressing ideas.”
She asked several deans to talk about their university and how their college was collaborating with other colleges in business, engineering or the sciences, but more, she asked perhaps the biggest question of the conference: “What could—or should—the deans and their universities be doing” with their students, their alumni living in the area and through the town/gown relationships that exist, and how can others be engaged to help everyone in our community to think differently about the arts?
Quite simply, as Harvey White, co-founder and former president of Qualcomm, has been known to say, this is a “national emergency.” The clock is ticking, and when the dust settles after years of budgetary and fiscal malaise, the nation will desperately need young graduates with the new thinking skills for an economy that demands the most creative workforce. Read the rest of this entry »
On behalf of Americans for the Arts and the Arts Action Fund, I wish to congratulate President Barack Obama and all of the national, state, and local elected leaders across the country who won their elections last night.
President Obama will now have the opportunity to fully realize his vision for the arts and culture as he originally laid out four years ago. By successfully securing healthcare for artists, economic recovery funds that saved artists’ jobs through the National Endowment for the Arts, and ongoing support for appropriations that fund federal cultural agencies, the president has taken many steps in supporting the nonprofit arts sector.
We hope to encourage President Obama and his administration over the course of the next four years to remain focused on maintaining arts education in every classroom; allocating a larger budget for the arts as an economic generator for American jobs, products, and communities; and protecting charitable giving incentives that are the lifeblood of the nonprofit arts sector.
We are proud that the nonprofit arts sector has already played an important role in our nation’s economic recovery by generating $135 billion in economic activity, supporting 4.1 million jobs, and returning $22 billion in tax revenue back to federal, state, and local coffers.
The make up of the Republican-controlled House and Democratic-controlled Senate, with a few races still to be called, is poised to remain relatively the same with modest gains by Democrats in both chambers. In the House of Representatives, we are happy to report that Congressional Arts Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) won re-election in a hard-fought campaign made difficult by New York’s congressional redistricting plan. Also, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) will continue to chair the House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee, ensuring a friend of the arts remains at the head of that very important panel. Read the rest of this entry »
Every four years America gets another chance to make its voice heard. And every four years the American arts community, in a way, gets a bit of a fiscal makeover.
How is that? Well, it has to do with how the nonprofit arts in America are funded and how policy affects those funding sources. And every four years, no matter who wins elections across our country, there are new policymakers in town.
Roughly 10 percent of the $61 billion aggregate budgets of the nonprofit arts in America comes from government—mostly local and then state government and finally federal sources. Yes, this is a tiny portion of the whole, and it is actually a lot smaller than many people, including many politicians, think. This 10 percent is indeed a small amount compared to the 30 percent the private sector—(mostly) individuals—chips in and the 60 percent that comes from earned and investment income.
But that 10 percent is critical in what is a very conservative funding model for arts in our country. I call this model conservative because a very modest government investment leverages more than 60 times as much private and earned revenue to create a whole industry and support millions of jobs. How?
A $146 million investment from the federal government directly leverages close to $5 billion more in local and state government investment, which in turn helps leverage another $50 billion to create the $61 billion nonprofit arts industry in America.
This model has helped grow an industry from a handful of organizations in 1965—when the federal cultural funding agencies like National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) came into being—to more than 110,000 arts businesses today. Read the rest of this entry »
Thanks to the amazing work of advocates like the Creative Advocacy Network and others supporting measure 26-146 in Portland, OR, arts education funding will get a big boost from a $35 per person flat tax to pay for arts and music teachers in the city’s elementary schools as well as grants to local arts organizations.
As of this morning, the measure was approved by a 60% to 40% margin, paving the way for the $12 million it is expected to raise annually to fund the positions of 70 teachers.
$4 million of that is expected to be distributed to arts organizations providing arts education to K–12 students via grants administered by the Regional Arts and Culture Council.
Congrats to everyone who worked on the passage of the measure and thanks for giving the idea to other communities who can now attempt similar campaigns in other cities across the country!
YES is the answer to this question judging from the enthusiastic audience response on October 10 to Imagination Stage’s Creative Conversation on the topic.
One hundred and forty parents, educators, and other stakeholders attended a panel discussion, moderated by Doug Herbert of the U.S. Dept. of Education’s Office of Innovation & Improvement, and then enjoyed breakout sessions that included sample sessions in professional development for teachers, creative parenting classes, and an opportunity to take the Torrance Test, the only nationally recognized measure for creativity that has been in use for more than 50 years.
Each of the four panelists described their viewpoint about creativity during the forum.
Developmental Psychologist Meredith Rowe debunked the commonly held assumption that creativity is a gift which cannot be taught.
Neuropsychologist Bill Stixrud spoke about what he sees daily in his clinical practice: that kids today enjoy less free play, feel more stress, are less motivated, and have lower self-esteem than past generations. His findings parallel data from the Torrance Test, which has noted a sharp decline in children’s creativity scores over the last 20 years, especially in the elementary grades. Stixrud recognizes that children are missing the benefits of creative play and arts education.
I discussed how theatre arts classes and arts integrated into the school curriculum can help children of all abilities to find motivation for their studies. Projects that are student-led and focused on creative problem solving have been shown to engage young people in ways that traditional modes of instruction no longer can. Read the rest of this entry »
After you cast your vote for the next President, we wanted to remind Americans for the Arts members to be sure to vote in this year’s Advisory Council Elections.
Our councils advise staff on programs and services that will build a deeper connection to the field and to our networks, giving them the opportunity to be seen as national leaders and providing an opportunity to “give back to the field” by connecting the national work of Americans for the Arts to the local level.
As members of our organization, this is your opportunity to elect the nominees you want to lead your network(s)! We have been collecting nominations from the field for the past month, and thanks to our members we have outstanding nominees across the board.
Voting for Council Elections will officially close on November 21, but why not add a second chance vote to your day today?
To view our current nominees and cast your vote, please click on any and/or all of the following council voting pages:
You will need to enter your Member ID to view the nominees and proceed with voting, so if you are unsure of your Member ID, please log into your account here and click “my account information.”
If you have any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202.371.2830.
Generating $50,000 for the winning school’s art program while simultaneously drawing attention to the importance of art as an integral part of a well-rounded education, Vans Custom Culture comes back in its fourth iteration with registration opening on January 2, 2013:
The Vans Custom Culture Competition sparks the creativity and teamwork of art students across the country as they work together to design blank pairs of canvas shoes into wearable pieces of art.
Shoes are sent out in the month of February to the first 1,500 U.S.-based public or private high schools that register and students have until April 5 to complete the shoes and submit their images online.
Each registered school receives four blank canvas shoes they must design using the following themes: art, music, action sports, and local flavor—a design inspired by the surrounding community, city, or state.
An internal selection narrows the field down to 50 participants and the external online public vote whittles those 50 schools down to a group of five finalists who will be flown to New York City for the final judging in June 2013.
The winning school receives a $50,000 prize for their art program and the opportunity for the shoes to be produced and sold in Vans’ retail stores. The remaining schools won’t go home empty handed—the four runners-up will receive a cash prize of $4,000 towards their art program. Read the rest of this entry »
We get asked to “tell our story” all the time in the arts. Who are you? Why do you value this work? What is it that you hope to accomplish? How will you get there?
Funders demand it from grant applicants. Legislators require it of state agencies, lobbyists, and constituents. Individual artists have to do it to justify their work.
Even as a working professional, being able to concisely “tell the story” of what I do all day is an important skill, especially at family reunions, when Crazy Uncle Dave asks: “Now, what is it you do again?”
But rarely do any of us do it well. We get so wrapped up in the desired outcome of telling our story that we forget: the best way to achieve that outcome is to tell a compelling story. It’s as simple as that.
At a professional development training earlier this month, hosted by SpeakeasyDC, I was reminded of what it actually takes to TELL A STORY.
The facilitators asked us to think of a time when the arts impacted our lives.
We started by telling the story out loud to someone else (writing or typing your story will activate the “mean writing teacher” that sits on your shoulder, bogging you down in grammar and punctuation and sentence structure. Keep it verbal and keep going). This helps you and your listener determine which points are memorable and which are expendable.
Then our partner told the story back to us. See how it is no longer MY story, but THE story? That’s what we’re going for: finding a universal truth that the listener can connect to their own life. That’s the whole point to a good story. And when pitching a project to a funder, isn’t that your goal? Read the rest of this entry »
While Brunswick Acres has taken a significant lead in the KRIS Wine “Art of Education” competition thanks to a creative student-made music parody, it’s not too late for your favorite school to jump into the top 16 schools by using the following tips…
1. Get the press involved: Write a persuasive letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Or invite a journalist to your school to showcase the financial need, meet the principal and art teachers, and see first-hand the energy of the students.
2. Go digital: Create a website, blog, or YouTube video about the contest—be sure to include the reasons why you need their vote! Collaborate with other students, families, and community members, and assign every person a specific role (ex. videographer, writer, editor, designer).
3. Break out the art supplies: Make posters or fliers to distribute around your town. Drop them off at your local library, beauty salons, and supermarkets.
4. BEEP, BEEP, BEEP: What’s that sound? Your daily reminder to vote! Set a daily alarm clock on your watch or cell phone to remind yourself to vote and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Just be sure to set the alarm for a time of day you won’t distract others—and when you’ll be near a computer to vote! Read the rest of this entry »
In celebration of National Arts and Humanities Month and the annual Americans for the Arts tradition of Creative Conversations, my colleague Ally Yusuf (Founder & Moderator of #ArtsMgtChat) and I are co-hosting the first national Creative Conversation on Twitter!
The Creative Workforce in the Post-Recession Economy is open to everyone and takes place today (October 17) for one hour starting at 3:00 p.m. ET/12:00 p.m. PT using #NatCC12 as the hashtag.
Come share in 140 characters or less, your thoughts, resources and stories about your view on this fascinating topic. We all either know someone or are someone who has been professionally affected by the recession. Whether you are a staffer, freelancer, consultant, employer or recruiter—you probably have something to add to the dialogue.
(Editor’s Note: For a quick primer on how Twitter chats work, check out this ARTSblog post by Kristen Engebretsen.)
As an arts leadership and professional development researcher and advocate, I’ve been profoundly concerned about the effects of the recession on our nonprofit arts workforce. In response, I established the Art Career Cafe which has both a website with job listings and resources as well as a Facebook page to provide an interactive community.
Since its launch in late July, we have over 200 Facebook group members. Many members are young arts professionals with degrees in arts management looking for full time work; others are freelancers who have chosen a less traditional but equally viable path to a creative career. Read the rest of this entry »
|ARTSblog holds week-long Blog Salons, a series of posts by guest bloggers, that focus on an overarching theme within a core area of Americans for the Arts' work. Here are links to the most recent Salons:
Alec Baldwin and Nigel Lythgoe talk about the state of the arts in America at Arts Advocacy Day 2012. The acclaimed actor and famed producer discuss arts education and what inspires them.