Blog Posts for California

Beyond Letter Writing & Phone Calls: Relationship-Based Arts Education Advocacy

Posted by Victoria Plettner-Saunders, Sep 30, 2011 5 comments

Victoria Plettner-Saunders

Over the last few years, I’ve blogged here about our arts education advocacy efforts in San Diego with the San Diego Unified School District. I am the co-founding chair of the San Diego Alliance for Arts Education (SDAAE) which officially launched in May 2010 (although our collective grassroots advocacy work began a year earlier).

As chair of the SDAAE I have been very clear about the approach I want to take in leading the advocacy work that we do. While I believe that public comment and letter writing are important components of advocacy, I am also an evangelist for developing a working relationship with those to whom you are directing your efforts.

In this case, it’s our local school board. We have always carried the message to them that we want to be partners in supporting arts education and that we are available as a helpful resource for them. As a result, members have called when they have decisions to make or proposals to craft that they know will affect outcomes in the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Department.

Most recently, the school board asked community members to assist with what they call “Tiger Teams.” These teams are essentially efforts to get new information and an outside perspective about way that various district departments do business.

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Coping with Mother Nature: Emergency Relief & Readiness

Posted by Cornelia Carey, Sep 30, 2011 1 comment

Cornelia Carey

Nearly a month has passed since Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene blew up the East Coast affecting 17 states and territories from the Virgin Islands to Maine.

The deep river valleys of New York and Vermont were among the most severely impacted. And just as those communities were beginning to dig out, Hurricane Lee caused another round of flooding in parts of Pennsylvania and New York.

Further, drought fueled wildfires had homeowners, businesses, and firefighters scrambling for control earlier this month in Texas. In Bastrop County, TX, alone 34,068 acres burned with 1,553 homes destroyed.

Needless to say, it’s been a busy time for those of us who work as emergency responders. While Montpelier, VT, where the CERF+ office is located, narrowly missed devastation, experiencing the disaster from the front lines has been a humbling and heartbreaking experience for our staff.

Recently, Laura Scanlan, director of state and regional partnerships at the National Endowment for the Arts organized a conference call for all of the states and territories affected by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene. The news coming out of the states and territories, with the exception of Vermont and Puerto Rico (and with a few states not on the phone) is that arts organizations fared relatively well.

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The Intersection of Local Businesses, School Districts, & Arts Education

Posted by Victoria Plettner-Saunders, Sep 13, 2011 2 comments

Victoria Plettner-Saunders

I'm a consultant in San Diego who specializes in capacity building for nonprofit arts organizations and the people who run them. I also do a fair amount of work in the realm of arts education, including currently serving as chair of the Arts Education Council at Americans for the Arts and the co-founder and chair of the San Diego Alliance for Arts Education.

It was with my "arts education hat" on that I attended a one-day symposium in San Diego called “Powering Innovation Economies” last week. One of the sessions was about the role of arts education, innovation, and the workforce.

Sarah Murr (my fellow blogger/Boeing's Global Corporate Citizenship community investor responsible for corporate giving to the arts in Southern California) was invited to be one of the panel members. Murr is well known in Southern California’s arts education community for the huge investment she’s made on Boeing’s behalf in supporting arts education in the Orange County area. She is also an active board member of the California Alliance for Arts Education.

Unfortunately, she was ultimately unable to participate and I got an email asking if I knew of someone in the local corporate community who could take her place.

As I sat there thinking about which local corporations support arts education as part of their community investment policy for strengthening workforce development, I came up empty handed.

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Looking for Examples of Innovation Outside the Arts

Posted by Jaime Austin, Jul 28, 2011 0 comments

Jaime Austin

ZER01 is an arts organization based in Silicon Valley, a place renowned globally as a hub of entrepreneurship and innovation. So lately I’ve been pondering the questions: How can the arts more visibly contribute to this culture of innovation? And how can we as an arts organization better reflect the area where we are based?

One of the main projects I work on is organizing the ZER01 Biennial. The fourth iteration of the biennial will take place in September 2012. Any organization that plans a biennial should always ask the question “why another biennial?” each time they embark on another planning cycle.

Recently, biennials are a dime a dozen. There are the longstanding biennials like Venice and Sao Paulo, and then there are a growing number of new biennials that are often used as vehicles to put non art centers on the map.

In my mind, one key to a successful biennial is that it reflects the location and history of where it is based. For example, the ZER01 Biennial in San Jose is a relatively new biennial. San Jose isn’t Venice or Istanbul or Sao Paulo. It’s the capital of Silicon Valley. Being situated here has inspired me, as the curator/organizer, to experiment with models outside of the arts so that the structure of the biennial more closely reflects the modes of operation that thrive here.

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Shepherding Public Art: The 2011 Public Art Network Year in Review

Posted by Liesel Fenner, Jul 13, 2011 0 comments

Public art sheep takes a coffee break (Photo by Jed Berk)

You’re walking to your morning coffee shop passing by the regulars sitting at outdoor tables reading and sipping coffee. But wait, something is different. A guy is seated at a table with a sheep. Not a live sheep, but a white fluffy sculptural object placed on the chair next to him. Huh?

Ahhh...the beauty, surprise, and often, humor of temporary public art in spaces where one wouldn’t normally encounter art.

Who was behind this sheep ‘spotting’ moment? The City of San Jose Public Art program - the 2011 Public Art Network Year in Review Program of the Year!

A Champion Flock of Weed Eaters created by artist Jed Berk was reported and digitally recorded  being spotted around the city of San Jose. A temporary public art project for the San Fernando light rail corridor, it was a partnership between the city and the 01SJ Biennial.

Weed Eaters was an anchor artwork on the front lawn of the Diridon Station where a makeshift ‘barn’ housed the flock of sheep and their ewe, a four foot tall ‘Mother Sheep’ complete with an internal computer sculpturally placed in her ‘belly’.

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Arts Education Advocacy Success in Sunny San Diego

Posted by Tim Mikulski, Jun 30, 2011 1 comment

Tim Mikulski

Tim Mikulski

For those of you who were able to attend our local arts education advocacy session at the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention, you know all about the work of the San Diego Alliance for Arts Education.

For those that couldn't make it to San Diego a few weeks ago, the Alliance was created as part of a statewide effort by the California Alliance for Arts Education to launch local advocacy groups.

Led by Americans for the Arts' Arts Education Council Chair Victoria Plettner-Saunders, the group has recently been attempting to restore funding to the San Diego Unified School District's (SDUSD) Visual and Performing Arts Department (VAPA). (You can read more about their efforts in an earlier post from ARTSblog or by purchasing our full slate of sessions on our Convention On-Demand site and viewing the local arts education advocacy session).

On June 21, all of their relationship-building and advocacy efforts led to a unanimous vote by the board of education that restored full funding to arts education programs for the 2011-2012 school year.

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