Maine’s Statewide Census in Arts Education
An amazing collaboration in the state of Maine occurred when the Maine Arts Commission enlisted Noel Paul Stookey (the famed singer-songwriter) of Peter, Paul, and Mary to champion the statewide arts education census. The year-long effort achieved a stunning 95% response rate—making it the highest voluntary response rate on record nationally for a survey of this type. Responding principals noted that an important outcome of the census would be to advocate for assessment polices for arts education in order to gather Maine-centric, rather than national, data points that demonstrate the impact of arts education on student performance.
From Distress to De-Stress: The Power of Visioning and Rehearsing Healthy Behavior through Theatre
I build bridges for a living. By asking good questions or offering a juicy creative prompt, I point to a potential link between two seemingly disparate ideas: arts and health. I then have the privilege of bearing witness to the flood of ideas, possibilities, solutions, and truths that flow freely when the bridge is built. This year’s “bridge”? Why do we have stress as human beings? How does stress, and constructive or destructive ways of coping, impact our health? Are there any positive gains from stress, if properly expressed and harnessed?
Tell Me a Story
As artists, our mission is to encourage expression. The stories being told may not, on the surface, relate to what is happening in the hospital room or in a patient’s life. The stories might include symbols, similar to symbols that come to us in dreams. As artists, we must treat these stories with appreciation and care. Our task is to encourage and support, rather than to analyze and judge. Storytelling teaches children to create a personal and symbolic mythology as they embark on a healthcare journey.
Out The Damn Window: One Patient’s View from Inside a Cancer Hospital
During one hospital visit, Dylan mentioned that he had always wanted to film the beautiful view from UF Health’s adult oncology unit on the eighth floor. He asked me if I would like to collaborate on it. At first, I almost said no. Then, I reconsidered, since I had little else to occupy my time. Over the course of several weeks, I captured footage from five different hospital stays. Some days, I would get frustrated while struggling to set up the tripod and getting the white balance right. But, at least I was frustrated about something besides my chemo for an hour.
Five Views of the Healing Power of the Arts
This week, Americans for the Arts is sharing the diverse arts and health experiences of five Assistant Scholars and Lecturers at the UF Center for Arts in Medicine in Gainesville. You will read of the joint experience of both patient and artist, the benefits of storytelling among children engaged in a journey of treatment, and the challenge of shaping healthy lifestyles among teenagers with theater, as well as two stories of the arts and healing for Veterans.
Artists + Mini-Golf + Baseball = Successful Arts/Business Partnership
In Nashville, baseball season just opened at First Tennessee Park, home of the Nashville Sounds. But baseball won’t be the only attraction at the park. The stadium is also home to a one-of-a-kind mini golf course that was designed entirely by artists. “Going to a gallery or museum can be intimidating especially for those that haven’t grown up with access to great art. This project was a great way to provide that access for people to experience outside of those parameters in their daily life.”
Sometimes the Budget Pie is Big Enough for Everyone
It’s the late 70s and I’m standing in the rotunda of the Massachusetts State House with a 10-foot-wide Boston cream pie. A pencil-thin line of white frosting drawn from the center outward like the minute hand of a watch is punctuated by a tall cardboard flag that says, “A piece of the pie for the arts.” This might get us some curious onlookers, maybe some pictures, I think. But before I know it, every elected official and staff member in the entire statehouse is drawn to the spectacle and descends into the rotunda not only to view it, but to get a piece. My fellow advocates and I served a lot of pie that day … and we also got an increase to our arts budget.
Under Siege and Thriving
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.
Time to Celebrate—and fight for—the Arts and Culture!
Did you know that NACo (the National Association of Counties), along with Americans for the Arts, recognize counties for their arts and culture achievements? Beginning in 1999, Americans for the Arts, in partnership with NACo, began presenting its Public Leadership in the Arts Award to a county or county official who has worked to advance the arts and arts education within their county. Further, NACo presents its own award, the NACo Arts and Culture Award, designed to recognize county governments for their efforts to enrich American cultural and intellectual life, promote lifelong learning, and protect our national heritage. Nominations for both awards are currently open.
Robert Lynch Responds to Hill Commentary Calling to End Funding for the NEA
In his op-ed (“The case for cutting National Endowment of the Arts funding,” April 2), David D’Amato states that “Government-funded art is publicly-funded art only once government is lazily conflated with the public. It is not the public (whatever indeed that may mean) that decides which art projects are to be supported with taxpayer dollars.” That statement is simply inaccurate. Mr. D’Amato must be unaware that the public is embedded in the entire grantmaking process at the NEA. This in part is why the NEA has received wide support from both Republicans and Democrats for half a century.
Strategies for Change Leaders
Sometimes I feel like I’m not making a difference as an arts administrator because I’m not actually creating art. Making change, however, is my time to get creative at work. It’s exciting to examine procedures from a new perspective, find ways to push limits with policy, create sincere relationships with my coworkers, be confident in my administrative choices, and feel like an agent of change in my work. Change isn’t easy, but these strategies can be.