Blog Posts for Illinois

Five Fundamentals to Creating a District Arts Plan

Posted by Una McAlinden, May 21, 2015 2 comments

Although each of us can probably recall a time when success could be defined as not losing (too much) ground, we all want to feel like our efforts have been worth the commitment and have made a lasting difference in some way.

During my ten years at ArtsEd Washington, we saw these rewards when we worked with school principals implementing the Principals Arts Leadership program to help them be effective instructional leaders for the arts. This program confirmed the importance of the principals’ role in the day-to-day provision of arts learning and also illuminated for us how difficult that role is to sustain without the context of a supportive school district publicly committed to the arts.

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The Role of the Arts Specialist

Posted by Ms. Lauren S. Hess, May 19, 2015 2 comments

Public schools are full of turmoil these days. Debate over the shift to the Common Core Standards that has taken place over the last few years is causing tension. Teachers are working overtime to figure out the new standardized tests that have been created by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) to assess the new standards. People are concerned about the amount of standardized testing occurring in our schools throughout the year. Most recently, parents in some communities are taking action and pulling their children from taking the standardized tests.

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Arts Education Poised for Comeback in Nation’s Largest School Districts

Posted by Doug Israel, Apr 07, 2015 0 comments

Urban school districts, such as New York and Chicago, are taking bold steps to expand the school day curriculum and once again invest in arts education. After years of budget cuts, and a narrowing of curriculum at public schools across the country, cities are taking action.

Owing largely to mandates of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, school districts of all sizes spent recent years focusing educational goals very narrowly on improving test scores in just two subject areas—English Language and Math. This focus came at the expense of the arts, music, and other subject areas that were not being tested.

Fortunately, the tide may be turning, and arts education may be making comeback.

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I want it all (by Lucy Wang, Americans for the Arts' NABE Scholarship Recipient)

Posted by Lucy Wang, Mar 10, 2015 0 comments

Editor's Note: Lucy Wang is the 2015 recipient of the NABE Scholarship, presented annually by Americans for the Arts and the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) Foundation to a student of both economics and the arts.

Even though economics and art are two very distinct fields, I feel that they are best understood in combination with one another. Art inspires me but can't reveal the quantitative foundations of modern life. Economics allows me to understand the underlying influences of the world, but I synthesize and process the things I learn through art.

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An Interview with BucketFeet, A Shoe Company That Believes Art is for Everyone

Posted by Jordan Shue, Raaja Nemani, Mar 05, 2015 0 comments

Recently in our travels through the internet, my colleagues and I stumbled upon a young, Chicago-based company that supports artists by collaborating with them to design and sell canvas shoes (reminding us of VANS Custom Culture Contest, going on in schools across the country right now!). We were thrilled to see how explicit the company is in its support of the arts, and were even more excited when Co-Founder and CEO, Raaja Nemani, responded to my email immediately, graciously agreeing to answer some of my questions about such an amazing company.

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The Cultural District: The Key to a City’s Heart

Posted by Gayle Kaler, Feb 05, 2015 0 comments

Cultural districts are the heartbeat of a city. They are the distinctive part that makes your city unique and reveals the character and spirit of your town. They are vital to the sustainability and creativeness of a city, but so often these districts are forgotten and underutilized as a tool for economic growth and viable livability.

As Mayor of Paducah, Kentucky, a city of approximately 25,000, I have seen first-hand how the rejuvenation of a cultural district can have a significant impact on the economic stability and viable livability of an area. Our local government and concerned citizens have invested in, nurtured and supported the growth of our local arts district for many years and we are reaping great rewards from that investment. Paducah has used artist relocation programs, district rejuvenation projects, fiber art attractions, and cultural organization partnerships to create an arts district that is having an impact on both the local economy and the international playing field.

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