Out-Of-School Time Arts Programs Are (Inherently) Awesome!

Posted by Kari Couture, Feb 09, 2016 0 comments

With one foot deep in the arts education world and the other deep in youth development and out-of-school time (OST) work, I have come to the not-so-shocking realization that arts programs easily and thoroughly align with and fulfill what experts and participants agree are the key characteristics of successful youth development programs – hurrah for Creative Youth Development!

I participate in Milwaukee’s city-wide OST network, Beyond the Bell, and recently became a trained external assessor for the Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI), a quality improvement process developed by the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality. The purpose of the process is to quantify the quality of a youth development program and help organizations create quality improvement plans. The Weikart Center also offers Methods Trainings focused on quality improvements relative to the measures in the tool.

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#artssowhite - How can arts education help build equity in the arts?

Posted by Matt D'Arrigo, Feb 04, 2016 0 comments

Oscar season is upon us and rather than debating who will win Best Picture or Best Actor/Actress, the debate has been how “white” the Oscars are.  #oscarssowhite went viral and African American actors began to boycott. As a result, the Academy (which is 94% white) responded by making the bold move to change their composition to reflect more diversity.

The Oscar issue is reflective of a much larger issue across all sectors of the arts; lack of diversity. I just returned from the annual meeting of American’s for the Arts and all of their advisory councils. This issue was front-and-center over the three-day meeting, as it has become a top priority for AFTA. As I sat and looked around the room I could see why.

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5 key ways the arts drive economic & community development

Posted by Sarah Sidman, Feb 04, 2016 0 comments

 “[Cultural activities] enrich and expand on my understanding of what binds us together as a community, where we have come from and perhaps where we are going.”
-ArtsFund Patron Survey, 2015

Arts advocates often talk about how cultural organizations play a critical role in creating a vibrant, thriving economy, in definining civic identity, and in building an engaged and connected population, but how do we support that claim? 

 

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Legislative Sessions Open, Now What? Advocate!

Posted by Ms. Janet M. Starke, Jan 27, 2016 0 comments

With the start of a new year comes the start of a new General Assembly session, at least in my home state of Virginia, and also for three-quarters of our states’ legislatures. And for our state so begins the battle for increased funding for our state arts council—the Virginia Commission for the Arts. This Wednesday, arts leaders and supporters from across our Commonwealth will gather for Arts Advocacy Day when we will meet with our state representatives to plead our case. And just what is that case?

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OH at a Meeting: It’s Not Just a Bike Rack

Posted by Ms. Margy Waller, Jan 26, 2016 0 comments

We were in Oklahoma City and Heather Ahtone of Norman Oklahoma shared a story about the power of Arts And…, a moment when, as she said, “The arts community met a civic need in a creative way.”

Her city, like lots of other places, is growing fast. So fast that traffic has gotten a lot worse in the center. City planners decided to encourage more people to start riding bikes to get around, improving the quality of life for everyone. What happened next? 

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Introducing the Artists & Communities Conversation Series

Posted by Ms. Alicia H. Gregory, Jan 25, 2016 0 comments

Americans for the Arts is excited to debut a new conversation series, Artists & Communities, highlighting the voices of artists and arts practitioners working across sectors and within communities. Over the next ten months, we will publish ten conversations between pairs of established and emerging community arts leaders as they share their visions for, experiences with, and challenges to making healthy, equitable, vibrant communities through arts and culture. As community-based work receives more recognition, and intersections and collaborations become stronger, these conversations illuminate just how artists and community arts leaders can work to sustain and maintain healthy communities through their practice.

First up: Liz Lerman, choreographer, performer, writer, educator, speaker, and founder of Dance Exchange, and Deana Haggag, Director of the Baltimore-based nomadic museum The Contemporary.

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