Alicia Gregory

Alicia Gregory

Jordan Shue

Jordan Shue

Welcome to Americans for the Arts blog salon on Corporate Social Responsibility!

This week, you’ll hear insights from corporate leaders who are using arts and culture as a tool to advance their corporate social responsibility goals—as well as for community and social good—and the artists, administrators, and cultural workers who partner with them to advance social good through the arts. Read the rest of this entry »

Advocating for the Arts? Tell a Story

Posted by Robert Lynch On April - 24 - 2015
Robert L. Lynch

Robert L. Lynch

As I reflect on the recent National Arts Advocacy Day and the several hundred visits to the offices of our Congressional representatives and senators that took place, I can think of hundreds of stories to tell. Each of the nearly 550 arts advocates from all fifty states, members of Congress, and artists who joined us in Washington, D.C. to advocate for the arts on Capitol Hill came with a story about how the arts have transformed them and the people around them. To many, the arts have brought hope and fortitude, been a partner in solving community problems, and provided Americans with role models, identity, and opportunity. Read the rest of this entry »

Designing Better Leaders through Cross-Sector Collaboration

Posted by Anna Stokes On April - 15 - 2015
Anna Stokes

Anna Stokes

Tommy Butler

Tommy Butler

There’s absolutely nothing revolutionary about leadership development. All across the country (and the world) opportunities to enhance and develop one’s professional skills seem to be popping up in every corner. But when the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia (ABC) won a challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, we chose to take leadership development in a direction that encouraged arts administrators to not just think about themselves as nonprofit leaders but as Leaders, with a capital “L”.

According to Americans for the Art’s latest Creative Industries Report, the City of Philadelphia has the fifth highest percentage of arts-related jobs in a comparison of the 100 largest cities in nation (4.94%, including both for-profit and nonprofit creative industries). At number five, our creative community is both ahead of the pack and has room to grow, and what better way to grow this sector than to invest in its leaders. Read the rest of this entry »

Paul Kadzielski

Paul Kadzielski

The Georgia Aquarium had 3.5 million visitors in its inaugural year. This massive launch earned the cultural institution notoriety, donations, and public affection. But, as the novelty of its exhibits dulled, attendance at the state-of-the art facility dropped by 40% in the ensuing years. This steep slide raised flags amongst the staff, who began to ask questions: Why is this happening? Is this normal? What can we do about it? Read the rest of this entry »

Latinos, What does the future hold?

Posted by Olga Garay-English On April - 13 - 2015
Olga Garay

Olga Garay

As I have segued from my nearly seven year stint as the Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and resumed my former role as a local, national, and international arts consultant, I have submerged myself once again in building bridges between the U.S. arts sector and the Latino/Latin American arts communities. Though these communities continue to take on more central roles in the U.S. dialogue, they are still marginalized. 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 »

Why English Language Learners need the arts

Posted by Rebecca Burrell On March - 19 - 2015
Rebecca Burrell

Rebecca Burrell

When you take a look at the numbers, it’s clear that in coming years our public schools will enroll more English Language Learners than ever before. According to research by the Pew Charitable Trust, by 2050 34% of children under age 17 in the United States will be either immigrants or children of immigrants.

We also know that public school teachers are by and large white—over 80% as of the 2011-12 school year—leaving vast cultural and language gaps between teachers and their students. (Read more about that on page 20 of this report.)

So, what is the arts’ role in helping teachers reach English Language Learners? Making the arts a central part of any classroom can help deliver content in powerful new ways to excite more kids. Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Education and Cognition: A Caution and a Path Forward

Posted by Peter Duffy On March - 17 - 2015
Peter Duffy

Peter Duffy

When I talk with teachers around the country about arts education and cognition they all ask the same question, “What research can I show my principal to prove the benefit of arts education?” It is as if teachers seek a holy grail that will prove once and for all its significant value. Teachers want to verify art education’s impact to prevent its relegation to a merely fun or acculturating activity within schools. Their question is an important and, of course, complicated one. Read the rest of this entry »

All Writing Is Creative Writing

Posted by BJ Buckley On March - 17 - 2015
BJ Buckley

BJ Buckley

What is thinking? Are there different modes of thought? How do we learn? Why do we respond so powerfully and intensely to the world’s beauty and to the beauty of things made by humans in response, to art in all its forms? What are the connections between our responses to paintings, music, dance, theater, poetry, and stories, our own impulses to make and create, and learning? Read the rest of this entry »

New Reasons to Teach and Learn Through the Arts

Posted by Mariale Hardiman On March - 16 - 2015
Mariale Hardiman

Mariale Hardiman

Do you still sing the alphabet when you need to recall the order of letters? Do you chant the poem “Thirty Days Hath September…” when trying to remember how many days there are in a month? Now think about your time in school. My guess is that, like me, you remember school plays, a catchy song when you studied a foreign language, or the content of a science or history lesson when you made a poster or diorama. Yet, how many of us remember the content of the tests or quizzes we took in school? 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 »

Top 10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2015

Posted by Randy Cohen On March - 13 - 2015
Randy Cohen

Randy Cohen

With the arts advocacy season fully upon us, the following is my updated “10 Reasons to Support the Arts.” Changes this year include updating #3 with the BEA’s new Arts in the GDP research, #8 to include a statement about the benefits of the arts in the military, and #10 includes the new Creative Industries data (now current as of January 2015).

This is just one of many arrows to include in your arts advocacy quiver. While it’s a helpful one, we know there are many more reasons to support the arts. What are yours? Please share your #11 (and more!) in the comments section below. What a great collection we can build together. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Measured, Matters . . .

Posted by Randy Cohen On March - 11 - 2015
Randy Cohen

Randy Cohen

BEA’s Arts in the GDP Study: What Next?

In January 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) released its revised Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA)—a set of measures of arts and culture in the economy, including its share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Much has been written about the truly mind-bending sum of $698.7 billion in industry expenditures—a substantial contributor to the economy that supported 4.7 million jobs in 2012 and represented 4.32 percent of GDP. Read the rest of this entry »

Youth Arts – Pathways to Mastery

Posted by Myran Parker Brass On February - 25 - 2015
Myran Parker-Brass

Myran Parker-Brass

In 2009, the Boston Public Schools (BPS) committed to building and deepening arts education for all students K-12. They created the Arts Expansion Initiative (AEI). This commitment of the district, local funders and partners has resulted in:

  • increased numbers of certified arts teachers in our schools;
  • increased percentage of K-8 students receiving weekly arts instruction from 67% to 87%;
  • an increase of high school students receiving any arts instruction from 24% to 56%;
  • increased capacity for arts partners supporting arts education in schools.

We have made significant and steady progress in building back arts education as evidenced by the quality of our programs, the changing culture in our buildings, and the broad parent and community advocacy for arts education. Read the rest of this entry »