Blog Posts for Arts Education

Under Siege and Thriving

Posted by Ms. Ahava Silkey-Jones, Apr 26, 2017 0 comments

As artists and arts educators, we are keenly aware of what it feels like to be under siege. Our arts programs are interwoven into the fabric of our communities, and even in the face of challenges continue to thrive. We can’t imagine our communities without our arts programs, and thus we have become masters at articulating their profound reach. It’s ingrained in our role as arts educators to fight for the importance, continued relevance, and impact of what we do. And what makes me particularly proud is seeing the inherent drive that emerges in my students when they’re tasked with defending the powerful influence of the arts in their lives.

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Cultivating the Next Generation of Diverse Arts Leaders

Posted by Gabrielle Uballez, Apr 19, 2017 0 comments

All children deserve access to quality arts programming, which means that we must not only support in-school arts education programs across the board, but also prioritize schools in low-income neighborhoods and community-based organizations that specialize in mentoring these students outside of school. Serving every student also means providing culturally relevant and economically accessible opportunities in the arts for the overlooked and under-resourced youth between the ages of 14 and 18, especially if we are to create effective pipelines of leadership in the arts.

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When Trying Hard Isn’t Good Enough: Alignment, Action and Accountability

Posted by Mary Hester, Apr 19, 2017 0 comments

Bridging the gap between reality and results for arts education in schools requires multi-sector, cross-agency leadership making aligned efforts and contributions. Moving from talk to action requires collaborative leadership—the ability to make decisions and take action together in service of the result. This type of leadership requires experimentation, trust building, and a fair amount of risk. It breaks down the boundaries of hierarchical leadership and looks across organizational boundaries. When we work collaboratively, we acknowledge that no one program, agency, or organization can produce population-level results.

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Justice-Seeking Super Robot Takes on Arts Education; or, How I switched from a deficit mindset to an asset-based approach

Posted by Ms. Megan Attermann, Apr 19, 2017 0 comments

Instead of entering a community as a teacher and bringing a prescribed text or curriculum, I would enter as a learner. I needed to value the community and learn from them. I needed to connect with my students—to see their stories and experiences as equal to my own. To see my students for more than their perceived needs. I needed a new approach to arts education. So, I scanned the literature, and I found an approach that works with, and values, oppressed groups. It’s called an asset-based arts education, and it works in solidarity with the community. It is mutually beneficial and builds social capital.

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10 Steps to Build a Localized Movement for the Arts

Posted by Mr. Ryan Antony Nicotra, Mar 22, 2017 0 comments

Allow me to set the scene: while attending the 2016 Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in Boston, I received a text from a friend in my hometown stating that in a late-night meeting the day prior, the local Board of Education unexpectedly introduced and approved an unreasonably high new fee for all students wishing to participate in extracurricular drama programs. Today, after eight months of coordinating an aggressive advocacy campaign that succeeded in eliminating that same fee with the near-unanimous support of the same board members who introduced it, I aim to identify and share the 10 crucial steps and considerations that made this victory for the arts in Harford County, Maryland possible.

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Invigorate Your Practice and Advocate Through Exhibitions

Posted by Chris Sykora, Mar 15, 2017 0 comments

How do we speak to people who have never taken part in art education? If someone has not experienced the arts personally or effectively, words may not be able to explain their value. In order to speak constructively with opponents, we must provide an environment that cultivates the sharing of ideas. It just so happens that art exhibitions are the perfect venue for advocacy discussions. Art communicates in unique and non-literal ways, which facilitates an openness that allows people to form their own conclusions. Exhibitions provide opportunities to talk about curricular impacts through the work on display. Audiences can connect artwork with student educational experiences in direct and empathetic ways. And most importantly, exhibitions easily unite advocacy for art programs with advocacy for the most powerful evidence we have: the students themselves.

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