Blog Posts for webinars

Thanks to all the writers and readers that participated in our Rural Arts Blog Salon!

Posted by Theresa Cameron, Feb 24, 2014 0 comments

Wow!  What a great week of blogs in our first Blog Salon on Rural Arts. Thanks to our bloggers and all our commentators, followers on Twitter, and Facebook fans.

As I read each of these blogs, I was inspired and encouraged about ways the arts are helping the economy, improving place, and creating change for rural America. I am from Wyoming and was an arts administrator on the frontier there for several years, so I especially loved Michael Lange’s blogs about how the arts are playing a leading role in revitalization efforts. This is especially challenging since Wyoming enjoys “the smallest population of any state, with 575,000 people and of the 99 incorporated municipalities, only about half have populations are over 1,000 people, and only a handful of those have a population over 10,000”.

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Make Room: Expanding the School Day for Deeper Arts Engagement

Posted by Deb Vaughn, Oct 16, 2013 1 comment

Deb Vaughn Deb Vaughn

Aside from the “not enough money for the arts” conundrum, “not enough time for the arts” is the second biggest barrier that most educators face in providing more arts instruction, or even arts integration, for students.  But at more than 1,000 schools across the country, this barrier is being erased thorough re-structuring the school day to gain precious minutes, hours, and even days of instructional time for students.

The National Center on Time & Learning publication Advancing Arts through an Expanded School Day offers case studies for five schools that have reorganized their schedules to provide students with more contact hours during the day and larger blocks of time to delve deeply into project-based learning.  The publication includes three key traits of extended-day schools:

  1. Educators consider arts classes to be a core feature of their comprehensive educational program.
  2. Educators organize their school day and staffing to reflect the central role of the arts and dedicate ample time to their practice.
  3. Educators value how the arts can leverage engagement and achievement in school.

In Oregon, one outstanding example of these principals is the Academy of Arts and Academics in Springfield.  This arts magnet charter school utilizes a core faculty complimented by professional artists to provide students with a robust experience of real-world inquiry.  A3 boasts an 87% graduation rate for their four year cohort (compared to a 68% graduation rate state-wide) and 83% of their graduates plan to attend college the following year.  You can see their sample schedule online.

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School Board Advocacy Resource Roundup

Posted by Joshua Miller, Mar 19, 2012 0 comments

Joshua Miller

Joshua Miller

For the arts lovers who want become arts fighters, many of you are probably saying, “Let’s fight to keep arts in our public schools! Umm…wait…how do we actually do that?”

Indeed, wanting to fight for a cause can be an awesome feeling. However, knowing where to get started can be daunting.

The best way to join the battle to keep arts education in schools is by getting involved with your local school board. Believe it or not, school boards are one of the purist forms of democracy we have in America.

Citizens of a community or district have direct access to school board members. That’s pretty major when you consider the subjects at hand:

1. Our children, our greatest resource  

2. Education, the great equalizer in this country

In general, the responsibilities of a local school board include maintaining the local school system structure; developing curriculum; meeting both state and federal standards for public schools; approving the school district’s budget; establishing educational objectives; being involved in the administration of the school district for accountability purposes; and serving as an open forum for the citizens’ input regarding education, reflecting the values and culture of their community.

Now that you know a little about how local school boards operate, how do you get involved?

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The Critical Role of Higher Education in Arts Education

Posted by Ron Jones, Feb 21, 2012 13 comments

Ron Jones

Americans for the Arts now has excellent webinars on understanding the roles of seven different constituencies that influence arts education policy: federal, state-level, school boards, superintendents, business partnerships, principals, and parents.

Perhaps I suffer from a perspective biased because of my own professional experience, but there is one glaring absence from the series: higher education.

One reason why higher education has been overlooked is that academics, as well as the general public, tend to think that the mission---the only mission---of our colleges and universities is to train artists; to prepare college students for careers as artists, teachers, and scholars. While this is an obvious and honorable mission for arts education at the collegiate level, we are missing a real opportunity if we do not subscribe another major role to our colleges and universities: the development of future participants in the arts.

Post-Secondary arts education has an obligation to re-think how it functions and what its obligations are to the academy’s dream. Many, if not most, higher education institutions train arts majors. Most, if we are convinced by our own self-assessment, do a great job of that. But, is that all higher education in the arts can and should be doing? Can we not make a greater contribution to society than just focusing on careers?

We must have audiences. We must have donors. We must have supportive civic and corporate leaders. Therefore, we must give equal---if not priority---attention to the challenge of audience creation, development, and retention on the college and university campus.

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Connecting the Past with the Future

Posted by Roger Vacovsky, Jan 18, 2012 0 comments

Roger Vacovsky

Last week, I renewed my membership for my alma mater’s alumni association. I understand now, more than ever, that my participation in the program contributes to not only the future success of my university, but also to my own past experiences.

Since my graduation, I have enjoyed watching the University of Houston (UH) flourish, albeit from afar, receiving periodic email updates regarding the upgrades to the campus. This includes the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, a tremendous effort by the university to combine five arts-based departments into one collaborative arts force. Although I am just one alumnus contributing to my university’s growth, I feel as though I played a part in making these improvements possible.

I was even eager to experience the progress of the Houston Cougar football team in 2011—which I had absolutely no part in during my time in school—as it set records for a fierce offense and toppled another, much more storied (and recently infamous) football program in a bowl appearance this year in Dallas.

There are many good reasons why we become members of our graduating university’s alumni association. As I had mentioned before, we begin giving back to the institution that helped us prepare for a successful career. We want to enhance the experience of the future generation of students so that they can go on to achieve greatness.

Believe it or not, the continued success of your alma mater retroactively increases the worth of your degree. By becoming a member of your alumni association, your membership dues help your university realize the success it consistently fights to achieve.

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Private Sector Blog Salon: Partnering the Arts & Business

Posted by Valerie Beaman, Nov 14, 2011 0 comments

Valerie Beaman

Valerie Beaman

As arts organizations and businesses continue to face a recession coupled with rapid changes in demographics and technology, everyone is scrambling to rethink their strategies.

Many businesses are focusing their corporate giving on initiatives that demonstrate shared values and can also provide a return on investment. Arts organizations are exploring opportunities to partner with businesses that can be mutually beneficial and trying to figure out the messages that resonate with the business world.

All of these changes have provided an opportunity for the arts and business to explore new ways of working together.

For this Blog Salon, we’ve invited a select group of bloggers to tackle some of these questions and others, as they come up including:

How can the arts best demonstrate their benefit to the business world?
How will arts service organizations help foster these new partnerships between arts and business?
How have discipline based arts organizations embraced these strategies?
How will partnerships with business change arts participation?
Whatever happened to art for art’s sake?

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