Blog Posts for Massachusetts

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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Not Your Average Convention Center

Posted by James Rooney, Apr 30, 2015 0 comments

When most people think about a convention center, they think of a stark gray, open exhibit hall. It’s true, most meetings facilities are purposefully very empty and plain, allowing for greater flexibility and customization depending on the meeting planners needs and set up. But when we built the BCEC 15 years ago, I wanted to change the perception of the “ugly convention center,” not just by enlisting a world class architect in Raphael Vinoly to create a distinctive exterior design, but by also rethinking the interior, creating warm, bright, and vibrant spaces that were more inviting than the convention center’s meeting planners were used to visiting in the past.

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Mission Creep

Posted by Ms. Bridget E. Woodbury, Apr 19, 2015 0 comments

In Boston, a nonprofit organization called the Theatre Offensive came to the conclusion that the work they were doing – the work that their mission mandated – was stale. When the company was founded, it was a challenge to find live performances that addressed LGBT issues and contained LGBT characters. TTO strove to make that comment widely available in Boston. Now that theatre addressing sexual orientation and gender identity has become common in Boston proper, TTO’s adherence to its mission - to make queer-themed plays accessible - suddenly feels out of touch with the energy behind its founding.

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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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Arts Education in Museum Spaces: The Enriching Kidspace at MASS MoCA

Posted by Meg Salocks, Feb 06, 2015 0 comments

If you haven’t heard of it, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams, is well worth a visit – no matter how long it takes to get there. If you have heard of it, then you know what I’m talking about.

Opened in 2000, in a massive factory complex that takes up nearly a third of downtown North Adams, MASS MoCA is a seamless blend of contemporary art, community, and education.

North Adams is located in the general Western Massachusetts region and, in the past 25 years, has unfortunately been subject to significant economic upheaval that left a majority of the population unemployed. While the museum had an understandably rocky start in this setting - trying to convince locals that the arts could indeed revitalize an entire town - in the past 14 years they have achieved exactly that. This slow but steady growth and success is largely thanks to the museum staff’s steadfast commitment to high-quality arts education and to their community.

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Arts Education: Ten Things to Remember from 2014

Posted by Jeff Poulin, Jan 09, 2015 2 comments

I can now affirmatively say that I have been at Americans for the Arts for over a year! Woohoo! …And what a year it has been.

Each month the Arts Education Advisory Council of Americans for the Arts has a monthly call. In December, we sat on the call reflecting on the previous year and what we had all accomplished personally, collectively, and throughout the field. In my role as the Arts Education Program Coordinator, I am privileged to see a lot of things that happen on a national scale across the country, and the council often provides insight into the impacts of these trends or brings my attention to something that is up-and-coming before it has actually made a splash.

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