Blog Posts for creative workforce

Note to Business Leaders: The Arts Deserve More Than a Nod From Your Philanthropic Budget

Posted by Mark Golden, Jul 15, 2014 0 comments

Mark Golden Mark Golden

Art groups, whether visual or performing arts groups, come hat in hand to our businesses every day. Those of us who feel extraordinarily generous shell out some funds for a listing in their program or catalogue, or sponsor a performance or program. We often take this from our donations budget, which in order to be tax deductible expense, has to be below 10% of our net profit. This money, of course, is taken away from other needs of the philanthropic budget which is a small part of even the most socially responsible business list of expenses.

It may make you feel really good, but just consider what you could do to benefit your business if you started to allocate some money for the arts from your Marketing budget, or even your HR Development budget (now these are real budgets, not based on your net profit but a significant portion of your gross sales). Let’s call it enlightened self-interest!

The business community has been rocked by the speed of change. We recognize the value of higher tech solutions to our organizations, but it is clear that there is an even greater urgency for creative, innovative thinking that comes from training in the arts. Whether it’s corporate training in problem solving, diversity, performing in public, change management–businesses are recognizing that our new employees, so well versed in their technical fields, lack some of the basic requisite skills we need in this new environment.

Read More

STEM to STEAM: Finding a Seat at the 'Cool Kids' Table

Posted by Deb Vaughn, Mar 05, 2013 4 comments

Deb Vaughn Deb Vaughn

STEM is like the most popular kid in school these days. Everyone wants to sit at the same lunch table and share Doritos.

Fortunately for the arts community, we have a powerful resource as the national conversation transforms from STEM to STEAM: Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) announced the formation of a Congressional STEAM Caucus last month.

The group had a successful kick-off on February 14. Rhode Island School of Design President John Maeda, an advisor to the Caucus, regularly speaks about the inextricable connection between art and science and Bonamici echoed the sentiment at Oregon’s 2012 Arts Summit.

While our representatives in Washington, DC, are hard at work advising on federal policy, our state is also taking steps to assure we’ve got “STEAM heat” (thank you, Bob Fosse!).

In Governor John Kitzhaber’s proposed 2013–2015 budget, which is now being considered by the legislature, there is a proposal for an initiative called “Connecting to the World of Work.”

Included in that proposal is funding to support partnerships between schools, arts organizations and businesses to increase opportunities for students in grades 6–12 to connect with creative industries. There is conversation about including internships, mentorship programs, industry residencies in schools, and student residencies at industry firms. 

Read More

How the Arts Can Lead in Implementing the Common Core

Posted by Sarah Zuckerman, Sep 10, 2012 1 comment

Sarah Zuckerman

“To succeed today and in the future, America’s children will need to be inventive, resourceful, and imaginative. The best way to foster that creativity is through arts education,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in Re-Investing Through Arts Education:Winning America's Future Through Creative Schools.

The nation has deemed that learning in and through the arts is critical for the success of all students. This positions arts educators to take a leadership role in implementing what the Common Core means for learning. The arts are different than other subjects; this is what fosters innovative, creative, and critical thinkers. The Common Core opens a door for leadership, an opportunity for the best arts educators to model what teaching and learning should look like across the curriculum…are we ready for the challenge?

What do the arts do, exactly? How does this align with the Common Core?

How the arts progress student learning is too complex for one blog entry. However, I would like to draw attention to a few ways that arts-based learning models the English Language Arts/Literacy instructional shifts of the new standards.

1.  Building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction
In arts classrooms that employ reading across the curriculum, this happens quite naturally. Whether we are reading a critique of an artist’s work or reading about the cultural context of a genre of work, art history, aesthetics, and critique all are grounded in content-rich nonfiction. Content-rich nonfiction media in the arts abound for every age from preschool to adult.

2.  Reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence from text, both literary and informational
The way a careful observer draws on evidence to interpret an image or production parallels the processes employed when a strong reader makes meaning from a text. Arts teachers require students to find evidence for their interpretations by asking, “What in the work made you say that?”, part of the visual thinking strategy used by many teachers. This focus on evidence is the basis of learning how to view art or performance, as it is learning how to read a text.

3.  Regular practice with complex text and its academic language
In an art museum there is no "Third Grade Gallery" or "High School Wing," nor do we only show children theatre performances limited by reading level. To quote Steve Seidel, head of the Arts in Education Program at Harvard Graduate School of Education, “The very notion of theatre, of rehearsal, is the close examination of a text.” In the arts, students routinely confront images, lines in a script, etc., that need much more than a glance (or quick read) to understand. The arts train students to make meaning of complex works, the same ability that higher levels of text complexity demand. With the right scaffolding and time allotment, such work becomes accessible to all learners.

Read More

Local Arts Index: How Many Artists are Working in Your County?

Posted by Mr. Randy I. Cohen, May 18, 2012 1 comment

Randy Cohen

Randy Cohen

This post is one in a series highlighting the Local Arts Index (LAI) by Americans for the Arts. The LAI provides a set of measures to help understand the breadth, depth, and character of the cultural life of a community. It provides county-level data about arts participation, funding, fiscal health, competitiveness, and more. Check out your county and compare it to any of the nation’s 3,143 counties at ArtsIndexUSA.org.

Today we release Local Arts Index indicators #7 and #8 (out of 50).

Solo artists are the spark!

Independent artists are one of the most vivid pieces of evidence that the arts are thriving in a place. Solo artists, regardless of artistic medium or discipline, are very often both the fuel and the spark of a local arts scene. Many artists are also entrepreneurs, launching their work into the world through their own studios, performance spaces, and readings. Overall, we think of the presence of solo artists as a marker of the capacity of a community to deliver the arts.

The Census Bureau provides data on the number of "non-employer" businesses (a business with only a proprietor and no staff) for many industries, including some arts ones. This indicator measures the number of solo artists per 100,000 residents of a county.

Nationally, there were 678,000 of these “artist entrepreneurs” in 2009. While this is almost certainly an "undercount," it is an interesting measure that can be tracked at a county level over time, so we include it in our national and local arts indexes.

In the typical county, 148 solo artist businesses can be found. 

Read More

Unique Leaders, Common Characteristics: How We Work (Part Two)

Posted by Ms. Jaclyn R. Johnson, Apr 05, 2012 1 comment

Jaclyn Johnson

Actors like to make plays. I feel most comfortable and alive in rehearsal. All artists presumably feel this way, within their own genre.

You see it in books—the artist as a mysterious neighbor locked away in his workshop for hours or living in an artist colony and never associating with the “outside world.” Perhaps this mystery served us well for a time. But that day has passed.

In my first post, I proposed that if what I see in my peers is any indication, the next generation of arts leaders will be incredibly unique and will have a few common characteristics—who we are, how we work, and why we will do it.

How will we work? Not as mysterious neighbors locked in studios and rehearsal rooms. When not busy with DIY projects, these arts entrepreneurs are engaged, active citizens.

The Nashville songwriter is the best example. Let’s call him Bill.

Bill works in his community garden, teaches a class at his church, watches the Titans down at the local bar with the guys, and hangs out at Dragon Park with his kids. And everywhere he goes Bill shares proudly about songwriting—his publisher, his process, new songs, and upcoming gigs.

Read More

Making the Case for Arts and Business Partnerships

Posted by Valerie Beaman, Feb 29, 2012 1 comment

Valerie Beaman

Valerie Beaman

There are many reasons that partnering with the arts advances business goals from recruiting and retaining a workforce, to rewarding employees, to building communities, and more.

The pARTnership Movement has identified eight strong reasons for businesses to partner with the arts. While some of these reasons will resonate better than others, depending on the industry, size and needs of the business, one reason that continues to gain traction is the role of the arts in fostering critical thinking.

Building and inspiring a creative and innovative workforce remains incredibly important as the country works to increase creativity and innovation.

Did you know that creativity is among the top applied skills sought by employers? More often than not business leaders say creativity is of high importance when hiring. The arts are about critical thinking, solving and reframing problems and facts in ways that reveal insights and opportunities.

Music, creative writing, drawing, and dance provide skills sought by employers of the third millennium. In fact, 72% of companies that give to the arts recognize that it stimulates creative thinking, problem solving, and team building.

Through our work, we know that the arts play an important role in fostering critical thinking.

Read More

Pages