Five Fundamentals to Creating a District Arts Plan

Posted by Una McAlinden On May - 21 - 2015

Una McAlinden

Although each of us can probably recall a time when success could be defined as not losing (too much) ground, we all want to feel like our efforts have been worth the commitment and have made a lasting difference in some way.

During my ten years at ArtsEd Washington, we saw these rewards when we worked with school principals implementing the Principals Arts Leadership program to help them be effective instructional leaders for the arts. This program confirmed the importance of the principals’ role in the day-to-day provision of arts learning and also illuminated for us how difficult that role is to sustain without the context of a supportive school district publicly committed to the arts. Read the rest of this entry »

The Role of the Arts Specialist

Posted by Lauren Hess On May - 19 - 2015
Lauren Hess

Lauren Hess

Public schools are full of turmoil these days. Debate over the shift to the Common Core Standards that has taken place over the last few years is causing tension. Teachers are working overtime to figure out the new standardized tests that have been created by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) to assess the new standards. People are concerned about the amount of standardized testing occurring in our schools throughout the year. Most recently, parents in some communities are taking action and pulling their children from taking the standardized tests. Read the rest of this entry »

Not Your Average Convention Center

Posted by James Rooney On April - 30 - 2015
James Rooney

James Rooney

When most people think about a convention center, they think of a stark gray, open exhibit hall. It’s true, most meetings facilities are purposefully very empty and plain, allowing for greater flexibility and customization depending on the meeting planners needs and set up. But when we built the BCEC 15 years ago, I wanted to change the perception of the “ugly convention center,” not just by enlisting a world class architect in Raphael Vinoly to create a distinctive exterior design, but by also rethinking the interior, creating warm, bright, and vibrant spaces that were more inviting than the convention center’s meeting planners were used to visiting in the past.

I also knew that I wanted the kind of environment that allowed our guests walking through the doors of our meetings facilities to feel not like they were in any-center-USA, but to know that they were meeting in Massachusetts. I’ve found that the best way to do this, in addition to hiring a diverse staff that is reflective of the communities surrounding our centers, is to tap into the local and prolific arts scene in Massachusetts. Read the rest of this entry »

Mission Creep

Posted by Bridget Woodbury On April - 19 - 2015
Bridget Woodbury

Bridget Woodbury

In Boston, a nonprofit organization called the Theatre Offensive came to the conclusion that the work they were doing – the work that their mission mandated – was stale. When the company was founded, it was a challenge to find live performances that addressed LGBT issues and contained LGBT characters. TTO strove to make that comment widely available in Boston. Now that theatre addressing sexual orientation and gender identity has become common in Boston proper, TTO’s adherence to its mission – to make queer-themed plays accessible – suddenly feels out of touch with the energy behind its founding. Read the rest of this entry »

Doug Israel

Doug Israel

Urban school districts, such as New York and Chicago, are taking bold steps to expand the school day curriculum and once again invest in arts education. After years of budget cuts, and a narrowing of curriculum at public schools across the country, cities are taking action.

Owing largely to mandates of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, school districts of all sizes spent recent years focusing educational goals very narrowly on improving test scores in just two subject areas—English Language and Math. This focus came at the expense of the arts, music, and other subject areas that were not being tested.

Fortunately, the tide may be turning, and arts education may be making comeback. Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Education in Museum Spaces: The Enriching Kidspace at MASS MoCA

Posted by Meg Salocks On February - 6 - 2015
Meg Salocks

Meg Salocks

If you haven’t heard of it, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams, is well worth a visit – no matter how long it takes to get there. If you have heard of it, then you know what I’m talking about.

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Photo Credit: Meg Salocks

Opened in 2000, in a massive factory complex that takes up nearly a third of downtown North Adams, MASS MoCA is a seamless blend of contemporary art, community, and education. 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 »

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 »

86+ Actions to Take and Growing: Carrying Our Collective Agenda Forward

Posted by Heather Ikemire On September - 19 - 2014
Heather Ikemire

Heather Ikemire

March 29, 2014, was the final day of the first-ever National Summit on Creative Youth Development in Boston—a national convening of more than 200 youth arts practitioners, funders, policymakers, and students designed to bring new energy and focus to creative youth development. On that day 86 individuals stood up at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and declared personal commitments to advancing creative youth development. I was proud to be one of them. Read the rest of this entry »

NEA Supports Creative Youth Development

Posted by Terry Liu On September - 19 - 2014
Terry Liu

Terry Liu

As an Arts Education Specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts, I am fortunate to see new blooms in the field of education.  Earlier this year, I was honored to join more than 200 national, state, local, and community-based youth arts leaders for the National Summit on Creative Youth Development in Boston, sponsored by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the National Guild for Community Arts Education.

It’s exciting to have a quorum of leaders who are committed to taking creative youth development to the next level.  We came with decades of experience in this field, and we left with a clear policy and advocacy agenda that our respective organizations could implement at the local, state, and national levels. Read the rest of this entry »

Connecting Creative Youth Development and In-School Arts Education

Posted by Laura Perille On September - 18 - 2014
Laura Perille

Laura Perille

Is it possible to rapidly increase the level of arts education offered in an urban district? Based on the example of the Boston Public Schools (BPS) Arts Expansion Initiative launched in 2009 by EdVestors, the BPS Superintendent, and local foundations, the resounding answer to that question is yes. This effort was rooted in the belief that arts opportunities play a powerful role in the life and learning of students in urban schools, and that a fundamental part of creating these opportunities was increasing access to quality arts education in order to create equity for all students.

One of the main challenges initially faced by BPS Arts Expansion was increasing the amount of in-school arts education offered in Boston Public Schools. Read the rest of this entry »

“Will you share your donors?” “Sure!”

Posted by Mari Barrera On September - 18 - 2014
Mari Barrera

Mari Barrera

Collaborative fundraising provides nonprofits with more donors and more donations for all – $8 million in new dollars in total over a five-year period. That was the experience of the 30 youth arts organizations that participated in the ARTWorks for Kids coalition, an effort initiated and supported by Hunt Alternatives in Cambridge, MA.

How did 30 different youth arts organizations – all collaborators in serving youth in the Greater Boston area, but also competitors for donations – join forces to raise money together? First, we supported the leaders of these organizations as they worked together to build trust with their colleagues. Then, we provided a venue for each coalition member to showcase the great art their youth were producing for a large and diverse group of funders. Read the rest of this entry »

Erik Holmgren

Erik Holmgren

August 4, 2014 was the 180th Birthday of John Venn.  If you’ve ever sat through a PowerPoint presentation, chances are you know John’s work.  A Venn Diagram is a way of visually depicting the intersection of ideas, concepts or, in the case of Creative Youth Development, sectors of work.

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Creative Youth Development (CYD) embodies elements and experiences from each circle of this, admittedly rudimentary, diagram because it infuses art-making into the lived experiences of young people. Creative Youth Development programs introduce the arts to as a way for them to explore the forces of their world, to imagine new possibilities, and to develop the confidence, skill, and purpose to be agents of change in their communities. Read the rest of this entry »

A Future for Creative Youth Development

Posted by Jeff Poulin On September - 15 - 2014
Jeff Poulin

Jeff Poulin

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Arts Education Partnership’s annual National Forum. Aside from the connecting with arts education friends and learning tons (I mean tons!) in the sessions, I also had the opportunity to sit in on a session titled, “Fostering Student Success by Leveraging the Impact of Out of School Time, Creative Youth Development Programs.” What was great about the session was the interconnectivity of people, research and agenda from so many other national conversations which were initiated as a result of the policy and advocacy agenda produced after the first National Summit on Creative Youth Development in Boston. Read the rest of this entry »

Art as a Part of Corporate Culture

Posted by Lia O'Donnell On July - 18 - 2014
Lia O'Donnell

Lia O’Donnell

While the need for something bright and eye-catching to bring energy to an office environment might be obvious, many corporations are looking to do even more than just put art on their walls—they want to support the creative economy. At the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston (A&BC), we’ve created a program that not only brings art into offices, but supports the professional aims of local artists.

Launched in 2012, the A&BC’s Corporate Art Partnerships Program seeks to forge greater connections among business and arts communities by bringing extraordinary, original artwork by local artists into Boston’s workplaces. This program is grounded in our philosophy of investing in artists and is an outgrowth of our now ten-year commitment to the professional development of artists through programs like the Artist’s Professional Toolbox. True to our mission—and unlike many other lending programs—we share program revenue with the lending artists. The loan of artworks also provides opportunities for works to be purchased outright by our clients. This Corporate Art Partnerships Program is part of our strategic plan to develop deeper and richer relationships with businesses and to invest in the local arts community. Read the rest of this entry »