Blog Posts for California

The Vision Thing

Posted by Brad Erickson, Jun 03, 2016 0 comments

Brad Erickson is an Americans for the Arts member and recipient of the 2016 Alene Valkanas State Arts Advocacy Award. Find out more about the Americans for the Arts Annual Leadership Arts Awards.

In 1988, as then Vice-President H. W. Bush was preparing to run for the Presidency, he found himself fending off complaints from within his own party that while he had a firm grip on the complexity of the many issues facing the nation, he lacked an overarching narrative that would tie his policy positions together in a clear and compelling way. His advisors suggested that he borrow Camp David for some time away to collect and articulate his thoughts. "Oh," the Vice-President responded dismissively, "the vision thing."

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Navigating Big Transitions with a Creative Practice

Posted by Cat Corral, May 20, 2016 0 comments

Life is about change. In less than 3 months, the youth arts organization I co-founded ten years ago will be merging into a larger organization, and my role will change dramatically. As much as this has been a thoughtful and deep process of exploring, analyzing, and talking through all the parts of this merger, there are moments when I get nervous and rely on my creative practice to help me stay grounded. At this point in my career as an arts leader, I am certain that the tools I use as an artist are critical for any leadership role.

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On the Path to Title I

Posted by Joe Landon, Laura Smyth, Apr 13, 2016 2 comments

In 2011, the California Alliance for Arts Education began its Title I Initiative as a way of clarifying misunderstandings about the appropriateness of using Title I funds to support arts strategies and a guide to action for schools and districts seeking to embark on the work. Four years in, we’re delighted to see that the Initiative has taken root around the state, as well as resonating with some other states pursuing similar agendas, particularly in anticipation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)’s devolution of much decision-making power to the state level.

In a nutshell, federal Title I policy clearly allows schools and districts to include arts education in their strategies to achieve Title I goals. Downstream of the federal level, however, the Alliance found that there was a lack of clarity about whether and how the arts could play a role in Title I. Coupled with the culture of “fear of reprisal” that seemed to permeate the Title I world—where funding could be retracted if a program didn’t meet state or federal expectations—this lack of clarity was proving an insurmountable barrier. Schools and districts, it seemed, were either electing to ignore the opportunity to include arts education in their strategies for achieving Title I goals, or were moving forward in a way that would draw no attention to those practices.

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How to Increase State Funding for the Arts by 800% (and still be in 47th place)

Posted by Brad Erickson, Apr 12, 2016 1 comment

For me, it all started the third week on my job, in June 2003, at an arts marketing conference hosted by the California Arts Council (CAC) in Sacramento. Right in the middle of the luncheon, someone came bursting into the banquet hall announcing that the Legislature was about to "zero out" the CAC. We conferees leapt up from our rubbery chicken and raced the two blocks to the Capitol. Engraged arts administrators stormed into the ornate office of the Senate Pro Tem, screaming at the staff, and demanding to see the Senator. I grabbed one of my board members, and we slipped out to see if we could meet privately--and quietly--with our local reprentatives.

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IF YOU HAVE POWER, GIVE POWER. Or, how giving up your power is the key to achieving all of your artistic goals.

Posted by Mr. Kenny Allen, Apr 08, 2016 0 comments

Being an artist is a really grueling and unrewarding career choice, almost all the time. We all strive to find more moments when everything feels worth it. If you are going to commit your life to an industry that basically guarantees that you're going to live poor, you have to have a really powerful reason. For me, it's the moment when an audience member finally gains new insight and compassion for their transitioning son; when fellow artists are brought to tears as they are reminded of the power of art to create change; when community members see themselves authentically represented onstage for the first time. As the Managing Director of a theatre company, those moments also come when I am able to meet (and surpass) fundraising goals, pay the artists working for me, and having community members beg the box office for tickets that don't exist, because we've sold out every performance.

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Funding Models that provide Access and Equity at Colburn

Posted by Nate Zeisler, Apr 06, 2016 0 comments

Equity can only be achieved if students of need can perform at the same level as their peers who have the benefit of financial access. If the end goal is artistic excellence, regardless of socio-economic status or ethnicity, we must develop a funding model that provides deep access to training for students at the onset of their arts education journey.  

Colburn’s mission is to provide performing arts education at the highest level. The organization is uniquely situated to provide access and equity because Colburn offers a complete sequential learning program in the arts for children aged 7 months through college. There are no limits to the heights at which a Colburn student can achieve.

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