Room to Breathe and Grow: The Executive Leadership Forum at Sundance

Posted by Mr. Lawrence Brad Anderson, Jan 15, 2019 0 comments

I have had the honor and pleasure of attending Americans for the Arts’ Executive Leadership Forum (ELF) three times in the last eight years. Without a doubt, these experiences have provided the best leadership and professional development in my life. The ELF is an opportunity for executive directors in the arts and culture field to come together for the opportunity of deep learning, reflection, and planning, all aimed at advancing the arts at the local level. Having several days to reflect, retreat, connect, and celebrate with colleagues who “get it” is a tremendous bonus that is both restorative and empowering. The quality of content carefully prepared by the Americans for the Arts staff helps ensure that each ELF provides the enrichment and reflection necessary to equip local arts leaders in what is often a busy and demanding life. The attention to detail and advanced reading material helps set the stage for a great learning opportunity.

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2018 PAN Year in Review Trends and Themes: Underrepresented History Projects

Posted by Mr. Lucas Cowan, Mr. Kipp Kobayashi, Ms. Mandy Vink, Jan 14, 2019 0 comments

Annually, the Public Art Network (PAN) Year in Review recognizes outstanding public art projects that represent the most compelling work for the year from across the country and beyond. The projects are selected and presented by a jury of three professionals who represent different aspects of the public art field, including artists, admonitors, and other public art allies. New this year, the PAN Advisory Council curated the selected 49 selected projects for 2018 under five unique themes to broaden the exposure of the selected works on ARTSblog and social media, and to provide context to the works through national trends and themes that are impacting the field today.

Many of 2018’s selected public art projects addressed issues at the forefront of current political discourse — particularly, how history and culture has not represented race, gender, sexuality, and class with fairness. Politically and socially, the issues are playing out through the incoming U.S. House of Representatives and the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements, among others. The arts and culture field is not exempt from addressing these national challenges, as demonstrated in recent museum exhibitions focused on decolonization, through the debate on memorials and monuments, and with temporary and permanent public artworks. Of the 2018 selected PAN Year in Review projects, six uniquely addressed the issue of underrepresented histories. 

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Rehearsing for Civic Dialogue

Posted by Jessica A. Levy, Jan 03, 2019 0 comments

Few of us are taught how to do civic dialogue. How do we develop and improve our ability to facilitate groups made up of individuals with potentially vastly different life experiences, identities, vested interests, and communication styles? Here’s one answer: Theater. When we want to literally incorporate new skills in our work, we need a body-based practice that can allow us to explore the interplay of subject matter, emotional response, social identity, and physical bodies in a physical space. That is the theater of civic engagement. And the methods of theater are learning tools that can and should be central to the training of public officials and community leaders who shape our interactions in the public sphere. Drexel University is currently working to ensure that urban planners have the skill set to facilitate civic engagement, and its Masters of Science in Urban Strategy (MSUS) program has drawn on embodied and theater-based methods as a core training methodology.

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Arts Education: Next Gen Leaders and “Breaking In” to the Field

Posted by Ms. Jane Cheung, Jan 02, 2019 0 comments

I often get questions from up and coming leaders about what it takes to “break in” to the arts education field. I can relate—I love the career path that I’ve taken and yes, arts education can feel like a specific field that no one really envisions themselves doing from a young age. I fell into the profession with no set path but a vision of wanting to do good and contribute to a more just and equitable society. While I have a background in multicultural education, and was able to eventually blend my academic training and my interest in visual arts to impact communities that do not have access to formal and experiential programs in the arts, for many like myself the path is far from being clear cut. 

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An Artist at the Table Means Hope for a Better World

Posted by Robert Lynch, Dec 20, 2018 0 comments

2018 was a year of some highs, but many lows. Controversy and anger and fear still seem to swirl around us in large supply, and more often I find myself sitting at my piano, my energy source and antidote for when I am feeling low. I imagine how all of us can better convey the power of the arts as a unifying force—as a solution for our country—during these difficult times. Our need for the arts is apparent. We have needed and sought the healing and teaching power of the arts for a long time. Robert Redford once said, “I’ve long believed we could move toward solving some of our biggest problems if there were an artist at every table.” Woven through the events of this year were artists who are making a tremendous difference in communities across the country, and their diverse voices are animating conversation and giving us hope for a kinder and more compassionate world.

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HundrEDs of Good Ideas for Arts Education

Posted by Ms. Argy Nestor, Dec 19, 2018 0 comments

Imagine yourself among over 100 educators from throughout the world whose conversations are focused on innovation! Pinch me—is this real? Over and over that question entered my mind as I traveled to Helsinki, Finland to attend the Innovation Summit planned by HundrED during the first week of November of this year. It was an honor to be invited to participate in the summit. HundrED is a non-profit organization that discovers, researches, and shares inspiring innovations in K12 education, and was born from the notion that in a world becoming increasingly connected and globalized, education can still be very local and isolated in its practices. HundrED has identified 100 innovators for 2019 and highlighted their work so others can learn and apply ideas to their own work. Some of the innovators are working against all odds. But the one thing they have in common is starting with a seed of an idea and figuring out how to impact the learners in their communities.

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