Blog Posts for California

A Catalyst for Art: Jessica Cusick

Posted by Ms. Helen M. Lessick, Mar 28, 2016 0 comments

Jessica Cusick retired as the Manager of the City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Department on March 3, 2016. Starting the job in 2005 she took a staff of three and grew it into a powerhouse of 21 to serve a city of 90,000 residents. She also created municipal programs through planning, policy, creative communities, public art and artist residencies to bring the work of writers and coders, planners and planters, poets and visual artists free to city audiences.

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Emerging Leaders Work Together Across the Country (An Americans for the Arts Member story)

Posted by Bridget Woodbury, Mar 17, 2016 0 comments

It’s been a few months since I joined the Americans for the Arts team and I've had the opportunity to learn a lot about the interesting and diverse work that you're doing and how our tools, resources, and member network are helping you get it done.

We often share your stories in our member e-newsletter Monthly Wire, but I wanted to dig a little deeper into some of your projects and programs and really get to know your work. I'll be jumping in periodically to share what I'm learning about member activity so that you can get to know each other a little better and to find some new, creative ways to use your membership!

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To Certify or Not to Certify: Is that the Question?

Posted by Sabrina Klein, Mar 16, 2016 0 comments

Maybe “to certify or not to certify” was our original question, but when in September and October last fall we convened teaching artists around the state of California, it became clear that consensus is emerging that the real question is “how to certify with integrity, flexibility and proper support”.

Nearly 200 teaching artists participated in person and in written responses in regional conversations focused specifically on the issues surrounding questions of professionally strengthening our field. One of our core strengths is the depth and diversity of pathways artists take into teaching artistry, with a continuum from self-taught, informally or formally mentored, individualized training, and formal academic training all providing valid and challenging forms of professional development. With increasing calls for teaching artists to step up and step in as partners in education, social services, social justice and community settings, our collaborative network thought it was high time we grappled head on with the challenges of documenting competence and making mastery visible.

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Preparing the Arts Field for a Future Rushing Towards Us

Posted by Roberta Uno, Mar 15, 2016 8 comments

In the new Hewlett Foundation report, Moving Arts Leadership Forward: A Changing Landscape, John McGuirk, Hewlett’s Program Director for Performing Arts, urges the arts field to reimagine leadership. The report summarizes Hewlett-supported research and previews their new goal to broaden the Foundation’s arts support to embrace cross-generational leadership and advance shared values of diversity and innovation. The findings and recommendations are strategically intended to prepare the field “for a future that is rushing toward us.”

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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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Introducing the Artists & Communities Conversation Series

Posted by Alicia 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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