Blog Posts for connect

3 Reasons Theatre Summer Camp is the Perfect Holiday Gift

Posted by Cathlyn Melvin, Dec 15, 2015 0 comments

Did I say perfect?

Yes. Yes, I did. And here are just three (of many more*) reasons I believe that's true.

1) The gift of experience doesn’t clutter your kids’ bedrooms.

Okay, this is a big one for me (that’s why I made it Reason #1!)

Families – and individuals – are experiencing increasing physical (and technological) clutter.

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The role and responsibility of the arts

Posted by Erik Takeshita, Dec 10, 2015 0 comments

“The arts are like a little black dress; right for every occasion, but one size doesn’t fit all.” - Commander Moira McGuire, Clinical care coordinator; Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

Jamie Bennett, President of ArtPlace America, recently shared this missive with me and I couldn’t agree more. The arts are unique in their capacity to inspire, motivate, connect, give voice, and, all in all, lead to great things.  And, to quote another great source, Spiderman, “with great power comes great responsibility.” 

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My life’s not busy, it’s full. Except today.

Posted by Kristen Engebretsen, Nov 13, 2015 2 comments

I first met Jessica Wilt 5 years ago. She and I were both new to Americans for the Arts...I was a new staff member and liaison to the arts education advisory council, and Jessica was a newly minted council member.

Jessica immediately took a leadership role within the council, helping us craft a strategic plan for arts education at Americans for the Arts. Her leadership in arts education in New York City gave her plenty of expertise in arts education planning. Jessica was a tap dancer and teaching artist. She worked in the education departments at Dance Theater of Harlem and Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana. She served on the Leadership Committee of the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable and was a school board member for VOICE charter school.

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Resilient Roads and Community Visions

Posted by Clayton Lord, Nov 04, 2015 0 comments

In 1995, as you surely know, Oklahoma City was the site of a bombing. A man drove a truck up one of the streets in downtown, pulled into a parking lot, went into a church and prayed, left, drove another block and parked in front of a federal building. Then he got out and blew the truck up, killing over 140 people including a bunch of children who were in a daycare in the building.

I got to see the memorial that was built on the site of the bombing. That road is now a glassy slip of water bounded on each end by gates. Where the building was, there are now ornamental chairs—smaller for children, larger for adults—to commemorate each life lost. Across the street, a gigantic, swooning tree that survived the blast stands guard. And throughout the city, at all of the street intersections that became makeshift helipads when responders rushed to the scene, there are deep red and tan bricks laid in resonating circles that pulsate out. The tragedy and the resilience of the place have literally been embedded in the roads, and the vision and perseverance of the people has been memorialized through art.

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Why Evaluation?

Posted by Maurine D. Knighton, Oct 26, 2015 0 comments

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”  Undoubtedly, we’re all familiar with this quote, which is popularly but erroneously attributed to Albert Einstein.  (In fact, this statement first appeared in 1963 in Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking,” written by sociologist William Bruce Cameron.) 

Whether or not Einstein said it originally, there’s irrefutable truth in the statement. And, this idea causes us to think about two key aspects of evaluation and assessment: what’s the best way to measure what we believe we can, and how to deal with the “unmeasurable.” 

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Dispatches from the Evaluation Learning Lab

Posted by Alicia Gregory, Oct 26, 2015 0 comments

In 2014, Animating Democracy, in partnership with the Art x Culture x Social Justice Network (ACSJN) and the Nathan Cummings Foundation launched the Evaluation Learning Lab. The lab builds practical knowledge and resources in three areas as they relate to arts and social change projects and programs:  measuring social impact, evaluating artistic/aesthetic dimensions, and equalizing power in evaluation.

Over the past year, guided by the Lab’s theory of change, we’ve gathered 20 artists, arts practitioners, funders, and evaluators in learning exchanges that combined case studies, presentations and discussion around existing evaluation theories and approaches, analysis of current frameworks, criteria, guidelines, and tools, and development of new tools for ethical practices.

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