Blog Posts for connect

Boston Public Schools Arts Educators Creatively Meet the Moment

Posted by Anthony Beatrice, Ruth C. Mercado-Zizzo, Sep 16, 2020 0 comments

Within a week of Boston Public Schools closing its schools due to COVID-19, the district’s nearly 300 BPS visual and performing arts educators quickly shifted to offering remote learning in the arts. The creativity, responsiveness, and community approach educators brought to this task have ensured the arts remain a priority for our students during the spring and moving forward into the new school year. Within days of school closures, BPS visual and performing arts educators congregated on our first Zoom meeting to take stock of the moment and build a plan going forward. In a traffic-jammed city where it can take over an hour to get from one neighborhood to another, meeting online quickly turned into a silver lining, creating a new outlet for collaboration and camaraderie. Discussions rapidly led to an action plan focused on pedagogy and approaches that would make arts learning relevant and sharing resources to do so.

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Letters from Josh Groban and his mother, Lindy, in support of Arts Education

Posted by Josh Groban and Lindy Groban, Sep 14, 2020 0 comments

When I write to you about the importance of the arts, I know full well that I am preaching to a large and supportive choir. But we are living in unique times. We are fighting inequality, cynicism, otherism, disconnect, disease. The arts have the powerful ability to remind us who we are, to remind us how to celebrate our similarities as well as our differences. So to you, the choir, I write to you because now more than ever we need to sing our loudest. Without the arts, stories like mine, and millions more, will go untold. The connectivity that makes us who we are, that releases the better angels of our nature, will fade into the dark. Americans for the Arts is here to ensure that we never fade. They are fighting that fight from the capitol building to the streets. They are working to ensure that the mission of the arts, the millions of jobs they provide, the heartbeat they give our humanity, the spark they give our youth, is never muted. 

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5 Tips for Implementing a Black Lives Matter Street Mural

Posted by Mrs. Katie Cornell, Sep 11, 2020 0 comments

Across the nation, communities have taken to the street to express their feelings about the Black Lives Matter movement in paint. Public art is an effective tool for local government expression because it amplifies messages of political and social importance with a clear and powerful statement. It also brings people together, creates social understanding, and aids the healing process. That’s just what it did in Asheville, N.C. After a month of planning, on Sunday, July 19, 2020, dozens of artists and volunteers came together on behalf of the City of Asheville to create a Black Lives Matter mural in the heart of downtown. Having been through this process, I have 5 tips for arts agencies looking to serve in a similar role. I also recommend reaching out to other organizations in your area, state, or region that have played a role in the installation of a street mural project for additional insights.

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Festival Aims to Empower Artists to Improve Their Health

Posted by Holly M Kelly, Aug 13, 2020 0 comments

The idea to exchange visual art and musical performances for healthcare was hatched in a conversation over a beer between a Kingston, NY, dentist and a painter. From that creative brainstorming session a small group of underinsured artists and providers was formed to found the first O+ (pronounced O Positive) Festival in 2010. The inaugural festival featured a parade, paste-up murals, and concerts in empty storefronts, and volunteer providers built a small pop-up clinic to care for the participating artists and musicians. Their simple idea of exchanging “the art of medicine for the medicine of art” acknowledged the value that everyone brought to their community. The festival was a way to both celebrate that and bring attention to the inequities of the American healthcare system. At the heart of the festival is the Artists’ Clinic and Greenroom. Participating artists, musicians, and volunteers receive care from volunteer nurses, doctors, bodyworkers, and mental health professionals in a clinic we install in a community hall and from dentists in their offices. An insurance navigator from The Actors Fund is on hand to provide information and guidance. The hall also houses our Greenroom, a place for participating artists, musicians, volunteers, and healers to relax over a home-cooked meal.

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Adaptation and Reimagination: Engaging Youth in Arts and Social Justice Virtually

Posted by Rena A. Cohen, Jul 30, 2020 0 comments

As public health guidelines limited social gatherings and encouraged social distancing, arts education and social justice programs needed to reconsider their traditional in-person activities—creating a collaborative activist mural, for example, or performing an original play—for the safety of their communities. How did they bring together young people in meaningful, socially engaged arts experiences without being together physically? I had the opportunity to speak with representatives from three organizations who have fearlessly navigated the complicated world of re-envisioning onstage performances, keeping students of various ages engaged over Zoom, and creating a sense of community among young people who may have never met in person. In their interviews, each leader explained how their organization has adapted and reimagined programs to engage youth in arts and social justice virtually and offered insight on how your community can do the same.

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Reframing Your Image During Unexpected Events

Posted by Ms. Jennifer Peterson, Jul 28, 2020 0 comments

At your core, your organization and its mission haven’t changed. You want to make your patrons happy and continue to share your love of the arts with them. Reframing your image is a simple way to refresh your understanding of who your patrons are so you can better respond to their needs and ensure you’ll remain a vibrant part of their arts community.

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