Measures of Success – When You’ve Reached Your Mark

Posted by Janet Starke On April - 9 - 2014
Janet Starke

Janet Starke

We have spoken a lot in recent years about increasing access to the arts—both in the schools and in the greater community. The definition of and measurement of success in access is varied, often depending upon the school system, the community, its existing resources, socio-demographics, and other characteristics. Differing communities necessitate differing metrics. Metrics that should sometimes be flexible.

Richmond CenterStage opened nearly five years ago, with an institutional goal of increasing access to the arts for children and the community-at-large. We are home to nine resident companies that include Richmond Symphony, Richmond Ballet, Virginia Opera, Elegba Folklore Society, SPARC (School for the Performing Arts for the Richmond Community), Henley Street Theatre/Richmond Shakespeare, African American Repertory Theatre and Virginia Repertory Theatre. Collectively, these organizations perform at CenterStage and other venues (including their own) throughout our region. Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Bateman

In my first post for the Emerging Leaders Blog Salon, I discussed the need for producing collaborations and partnerships in order to elevate ourselves from arts leaders to community leaders.

If the arts are to become a cultural zeitgeist, where we can leverage our work to address the social inequities of our time, we must be open to partnerships, collaborative environments, and shared leadership.

In searching for this combination as an emerging leader, I feel it is important to not only to leverage our new perspectives and fresh energy, but also to learn from the examples of those who have already been pushing the field forth.

Throughout the past two decades, the arts have been recognized as a way to revitalize communities across the nation. We’ve seen that programs celebrating an individual community’s character, history, people, and values through art have the potential to communicate and empower a neighborhood’s voice in a manner that can create powerful place making and important systemic change.

But who is best placed to initiate and leverage this type of work? Is it a local artist, a small community center, an arts council, or a major institution?

While all mentioned above are capable and have already initiated successful community and civic engagement projects, local arts agencies in particular are in a unique place to spearhead revitalization, change, and engagement through the arts. Read the rest of this entry »

Keeping Students on Track to Graduation

Posted by Doug Israel On September - 15 - 2011

Doug Israel

Most people these days would not disagree with the notion that the first step to a promising career, in any field, is attaining a high school diploma.

Sure, there are some well-known exceptions (see: Johnny Depp, Chris Rock, Peter Jennings, Britney Spears, and “Wendy’s” Dave Thomas), but good paying jobs are few and far between for those that don’t graduate from high school.

In fact, earning a diploma increases the likelihood of steady employment by 30 percent and cuts the chances of experiencing poverty in half. Despite this, today, in the United States, more than one million students across the United States drop out of high school each year.

The good news is that there is evidence from the field that shows that the arts can play a role in reversing this trend.

In several national studies over the past decade, students at risk of dropping out cite participation in the arts as their reason for staying in school. Research has also shown that arts education has had a measurable impact on at-risk youth in deterring delinquent behavior and truancy problems while also increasing overall academic performance. Read the rest of this entry »

Door-to-Door Fundraising

Posted by Shelby Morrison On July - 26 - 2011

Participants in the Door to Door campaign

Readers! Hello there – my name is Shelby Morrison and I’m currently the Marketing and Communications Manager for Raw Art Works in Lynn, MA. RAW is a community based youth arts nonprofit led by art therapists with the mission to ignite the desire to create and the confidence to succeed in underserved youth. In short, our kids use a wide variety of materials and media to communicate “what’s really goin’ on” in their lives.

To paint a quick portrait of the landscape, RAW is located in downtown Lynn, a racially, ethnically, and economically diverse city with a bustling population of 87,000. Despite Lynn’s ocean front location just nine miles north of Boston, the city struggles economically compared to its affluent neighboring towns. Lynn’s crime, poverty, teen birth and high school dropout rates are more than twice the state average. There are over thirty gangs in Lynn that are actively recruiting youth as young as elementary school.

As a nonprofit, our sustainability lies in successful fundraising, and for us, successful fundraising lies in the storytelling of our kids art and the emotional connection our donors make to those stories. Read the rest of this entry »

White House Gathers Arts ‘Champions of Change’

Posted by Robert Lynch On July - 21 - 2011

Robert L. Lynch

On July 19, I attended a productive meeting at the White House Executive Office Building. The event, coordinated by the President’ Committee on the Arts and Humanities and the White House Office of Public Engagement, was called Champions for Change: Winning the Future Across America.

Some dozen Champions were on hand to react and provide good local examples of how arts interventions made positive change and could contribute to making the case for advancing arts education in America.

Amy Rasmussen, executive director of Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education observed that there was a faster rate of acceleration and improvement in all areas for children when they had the arts as a key part of their learning experience.

Ramon Gonzalez, the founding principal of Middle School 223-The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology in the South Bronx, discussed how the arts engaged students in his school.

His school recognizes and engages all the students as artists and makes the arts a core part of their everyday school life even though the focus of the school is on finance and technology. The result was a 93 percent increase in attendance and a greatly improved learning environment. In this school, which was started in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in New York City when it was created, there has been not even a single fight in the last two years. Read the rest of this entry »

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.