For Arts Professionals in the Know
Beginning and sustaining work using the arts to serve veterans’ needs is an exercise in translation. While the need is great, it is also daunting to move into that space or grow existing programs to meet that need.
The insights that emerged from the Boots to Brushes session at the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention is that many of these obstacles (and some of the solutions) are, at their core, an issue of translation.
Here are a few of those:
Because of the structure and culture of the military, partnerships are a foreign concept. For the most part, the military just takes what it wants. For the arts, collaboration and community are essential pieces of the process.
One insight that emerges for arts organizations interested in addressing veterans’ needs is being cognizant of how foreign the concept of partnerships is to the military.
To tackle the hurdle of getting a foot in the door with the Veterans Association, one key insight was to use the veterans that you’ve worked with in the past as your spokespeople.
It might be an unintentional consequence of doing good work and transforming someone’s life that s/he spreads the word about your organization; however, veterans themselves can be the best ambassadors into hard-to-crack groups.Read More
On Friday, June 8, I’ll be presenting my award-winning documentary TRUST: Second Acts in Young Lives during the 2012 Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in a session titled, "Documenting the Importance of Arts Education."
The film follows Marlin, an 18-year-old Hondureña, who shares a hidden history about her childhood with a theater company in her Chicago neighborhood, the renowned Albany Park Theater Project.
Marlin’s story is about resilience and empowerment. TRUST captures the amazing response from her fellow actors and the unexpected journey her story takes them on together: they transform Marlin’s story into a daring, original play and Marlin re-claims power over the narrative of her life story.
TRUST is about creativity and the unexpected resources inside teens who may be discounted because of their youth, race, or ethnicity or because they come from under-resourced neighborhoods without access to arts programs.
Woven through TRUST are three main themes: the transformative power of art, the continuing challenges facing immigrants, and the trauma of child sexual abuse. Like the legs of a three-legged stool, these themes are interdependent and not prioritized.
Here is a preview of the film:Read More
With topics such as creative placemaking taking center stage in discussions around the arts, the question of how artists engage as citizens offers a dynamic opportunity for exploration.
On April 24, 2012, Emerging Arts Professionals/San Francisco Bay Area (EAP) convened a panel in San Francisco at Intersection for the Arts around the topic of artistic citizenship. Joining the panel were a healthy mix of artists, curators, teachers, architects, and administrators that included Julio Cesar Morales, Jennifer Parker, Randy Rollison, and Lizzie Wallack, with moderator Sanjit Sethi.
Born out of a series of discussions by EAP’s Public Programs fellowship, the event tackled a range of questions related to the role of the artist in the community.
You can listen to the audio recording (courtesy of Stacy Bond) below and read on for highlights:
Invoking the Public
The engaged crowd warmed up with small group discussions, covering a number of key inquiries. Creative problem-solving and knowledge-sharing featured among these sessions, although pointed questions also sparked healthy debate.Read More
The Challenge of Evaluation
In the Fall/Winter 2011 issue of Public Art Review, Jack Becker writes, “There is a dearth of research efforts focusing on public art and its impact. The evidence is mostly anecdotal. Some attempts have focused specifically on economic impact, but this doesn’t tell the whole story, or even the most important stories.”
Becker’s statement gets at some of the main challenges in measuring the impact of a work of public art—a task which more often than not provokes grumbling from public art administrators. Unlike museums or performance spaces, public art traditionally doesn’t sell tickets, or attract “audiences” who can easily be counted, surveyed, or educated.
A public artwork’s role in economic revitalization is difficult to separate from that of its overall surroundings. And as Becker suggests, economic indicators of success may leave out important factors like the intrinsic benefits of experiencing art in one’s everyday life.
However, public art administrators generally agree that some type of evaluation is key in not only making a case for support from funders, but in building a successful program.
Is there a reliable framework that can be the basis of all good public art evaluation? And what are some simple yet effective evaluation methods that most organizations can implement?Read More