Kellyn Lopes

Kellyn Lopes

There have been a slew of discussions lately centered around the potential in combining art and technology, two sectors that operate differently but ultimately share many similarities. A recent article in the New York Times by Alice Gregory questioned if in the physical world, the arts and tech are clashing cultures, or “parallel universes that rarely intersect.” Stephen Tanenbaum, on the other hand, noted that “arts and tech are not in competition with each other,” but are at a juncture that offers exciting opportunities for collaboration and growth, pointing to San Francisco in particular.

Perhaps instead of asking: “Are the arts and tech in competition?” we ask: “How can the arts and tech partner to foster the next wave of culture and technology?” Read the rest of this entry »

The SIMPHONY Project: How Does Music Change a Child’s Brain?

Posted by Dalouge Smith On March - 20 - 2015

Dalouge Smith

Dalouge Smith

Dr. John Iversen

Dr. John Iversen

Music is a central part of life for many of us, whether we listen, dance or play. It makes us feel good, or transports our imagination, but what is going on in our brain? Can music be used to help an ailing brain, or boost a learning one? An emerging field of Music Cognition is studying these important questions using new tools such as brain imaging that allow us to examine how the brain is changed by music. In this post we would like to tell you about one study we are doing that is trying to answer some of these questions. Read the rest of this entry »

Five Reasons Not to Forget Special Education Students

Posted by Stephen Marc Beaudoin On March - 19 - 2015
Stephen Marc Beaudoin

Stephen Marc Beaudoin

They’re often left behind.

Left out of the discussion. Forgotten. Not on the stage or missing from the page. Frequently not even in the room.

I’m talking about students experiencing disability, or special education students.

In the swirling national dialogue on arts education and cognitive development, it is surprising to see how infrequently students experiencing disability are included as part of the research and discussion.

As K-12 schools everywhere are realizing that, if well implemented, inclusive classrooms can lead to better student outcomes, it is critical that the voices and talents of students experiencing disability are included. Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Education and Cognitive Development: Compiling the Research

Posted by Jeff Poulin On March - 16 - 2015
Jeff Poulin

Jeff Poulin

More and more, we at Americans for the Arts are talking about the transformative power of the arts, echoing the work that has happened at a local level in the arts across America for the past several decades. However, as I move more and more into the education space, I hear a call for the hard facts amongst the heart-warming stories. Education decision makers want to see results, they want to see change, and they want to draw a correlation between the two.

As a professional arts education advocate, I can keep up with most of these requests, but recently I found myself at a bit of a cross roads. I was in Los Angeles, speaking with a self-described ‘music education evangelist,’ who was telling me all about some research that had been conducted on the impact of arts education on the cognitive functions of the brain. Arts Education, he said, could work to close the opportunity gap faster than other – more conventional – tactics. Read the rest of this entry »

Search and You Shall Find… a Cultural Destination

Posted by Reginald Jones On February - 5 - 2015
Reginald Jones

Reginald Jones

Since the inception of our work at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation (JCNI), arts and culture taken form in the development of an emerging cultural district, bringing together community members, organizations, and artists to shape both its look and character. Read the rest of this entry »

Inspiration Lives Here.

Posted by Kerry Adams-Hapner On February - 4 - 2015
Kerry Hapner

Kerry Hapner

Inspiration: Symphony Silicon Valley’s musicians, instruments in hand, bustling in and out of the beautifully renovated 1927 California Theatre. Crowds lined up to see Opera San Jose’s latest production of Rigoletto. The Subzero art festival, during which the streets are jammed with a mix from Millennials to families to empty nesters – all curious about the art work of creative entrepreneurs and eclectic music performances. Youth mixing new music and producing new multimedia projects at MACLA’s PeaPod Academy. Art loading into the galleries. Anonymous and whimsical artistic expressions of yarn bombed bike racks and light poles. Sidewalk cafes with people dining to see and be seen – and yes, be inspired. This is the daily life of San Jose’s SoFA district. Read the rest of this entry »

Building Capacity–The Silicon Valley Way

Posted by Joshua Russell On January - 22 - 2015
Josh Russell Headshot

Joshua Russell

As a long-time re-granting organization, Silicon Valley Creates knows how critically important money is to our arts and culture ecosystem. Organizations will also prioritize funding before any other form of support.

But when Arts Council Silicon Valley, a 30-year old United Arts Fund, merged with 1stACT Silicon Valley, a community catalyst, to form Silicon Valley Creates just over a year ago, we opted to take a new approach to how we strengthen our creative ecosystem–which was one of four main goals in our strategic plan.

So we developed a framework (pdf) of what we believe to be the key elements to a sustainable artist or arts organization in Silicon Valley. Read the rest of this entry »

Teaching Artists: Applying the Breadth of their Skills

Posted by Nancy Ng On January - 21 - 2015
NancyNG1

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 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 »

A Tending

Posted by Aracelis Girmay On November - 18 - 2014
Aracelis Girmay

Aracelis Girmay

I begin with that which is languageless. Gesture, wordless calls of grief or joy, exclamation, a dancer’s body moving in time. What John Edgar Wideman calls, in his essay “In Praise of Silence,” “the entire body’s expressive repertoire, subversive, liberating, freighted with laughter, song and sigh, burdened and energized by opposition.” Which means: not words alone, but every mark we make in the landscape, in the air. I begin here because when I think about the art and resistance work I am most enlivened and taught by this moment, I think about the Turf Feinz and Yak Films. Read the rest of this entry »

What the Midterm Elections Mean for the Arts: Summary of 2014 Election

Posted by Nina Ozlu Tunceli On November - 6 - 2014
Nina Ozlu Tunceli

Nina Ozlu Tunceli

Narric Rome

Narric Rome

In this year’s midterm elections, Republicans took back the Senate, kept control of the House and won governorships in 31 states and counting. What does that mean for you and for us, as strong advocates of the arts and arts education? Here we break down the national, state, and local results – and their potential impact on the arts:

 

In Congress

The U.S. Senate will be Republican-led. This means all Senate committees will see new chairmen, and since those committees control and recommend federal spending, these new chairmen could have significant impact on federal arts funding. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Is It So Hard? Seriously.

Posted by Matt D'Arrigo On October - 22 - 2014
Matt D'Arrigo

Matt D’Arrigo

I write this as an arts leader but, more importantly, I also write this as a dad. My wife and I have two amazing children, ages 5 and 8, who are lucky to have both parents who are artists and work in the arts. They receive daily

artistic and creative encouragement at home. We want our children to be creative in their approach to everything in life, to learn and grow with a sense of wonderment, curiosity, and discovery. We want them to express themselves in authentic ways and to respect and understand the immense role the arts and humanities play in shaping all of our lives to be more meaningful, fulfilling, and enjoyable.

They attend a fantastic public school, one of the best in San Diego (I know, I’m biased). They receive arts programming once a week, but only through the generosity of parents and families donating to a foundation that pays for it and volunteers who help support in the classroom. We’re lucky they attend a school in a more “well off” area of town whose families have the means to fund the arts programs. If they attended a lower income school, and we didn’t hold the arts as a highest priority in our home, they would receive very little to no arts exposure or engagement. I don’t think that’s fair.

Read the rest of this entry »

Investing in the Artists and Fans of Tomorrow: StubHub’s Story

Posted by Emma Leggat On October - 20 - 2014
Emma Leggat

Emma Leggat

I have the pleasure of serving as StubHub’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and in September 2012, had a life-changing opportunity to visit New Orleans with a special mission.

New Orleans was to host Super Bowl XLVIII, meaning it would also be the site of StubHub’s annual Super Bowl Pregame Bash, which attracts some 7,000 attendees each year. The city of New Orleans has given so much to sports and music fans alike, and as the world’s largest ticket marketplace, these very fans are the core of our business. Naturally, we wanted to give back.

While considering ways to narrow StubHub’s CSR focus to increase our positive impact, we uncovered findings any Americans for the Arts member knows all too well: while more research than ever before demonstrates how vital the arts are to youth development and future achievement, budget cuts continue to threaten arts education in schools across the country, particularly those in underserved communities. These findings further spurred our drive to give back. Read the rest of this entry »

A Dancers Life Made Immortal

Posted by Jennifer Oliver On October - 12 - 2014
Jennifer Oliver

Jennifer Oliver

On the fourth Saturday in May, every year, I wake up early to begin a day that continues to ground me in the field of arts education. I arrive at Dance Place San Diego to set up for the Carrie Anne Fipps Memorial Scholarship. Typically, Carrie’s family and friends are hanging banners and posting direction signs as I walk up. I am greeted by warm and cheerful embraces before I run upstairs to set up the check-in tables, the audition space and the judges table. It is an hour before the event will begin and parents and children have already begun to line up in the narrow hallway.

Once the doors open, students are signed in, given their number and ushered into the large dance space. The room quiets as I approach the middle of the floor to greet students and families, “Thank you all for coming today to support your child and this gift. We are all here because of one child – one young dancer who believed that dancing was a gift worth fighting for and one family whose mission has been to provide that gift to others – help me in welcoming Carrie Anne Fipps’ parents and brother to the microphone.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Easy Math of Good Service

Posted by Jim McCarthy On October - 9 - 2014
Jim McCarthy

Jim McCarthy

I’m very excited to say that I will be leading a Community Forum at this year’s National Arts Marketing Project Conference in November.

In preparation for this, I’m spending some time talking to people in marketing roles in theaters and other arts organizations to see how they think and feel about customer service and its importance. (By the way, this is just as relevant outside of the “arts” part of live entertainment.)

Anyway, a picture has started to form from these conversations, and I want to put forward a simple thought as a starting point: Good service is the best marketing money you’ll ever spend. Read the rest of this entry »