The Royall Art Walk

When opening a new Royall & Company office building south of the campus on Parham Road in Richmond, Virginia, the idea of an employee art gallery came to life. The Royall Art Walk invited employees to actively participate in the creativity, inventiveness and raw talent that is such an essential aspect of the workplace.

More Than Crafty Chaos—Afterschool Art Matters!

Not only can such programs nurture the creativity of kids without art education in school, but afterschool art enrichment is a powerful compliment to classroom learning, allowing the seeds planted in art class to grow and flourish over time. Put another way, informal art education is the practicum for the young artist-in-training! 

Columbia, South Carolina

On a trip to teach and learn about cultural districts in South Carolina, I was struck by the desire of each district to develop relationships with the others and to work together to promote each other’s cultural assets and build knowledge about the state across the state.

Do your part for public art—check out the #KRISArtofGiving campaign

KRIS Wines has partnered with Americans for the Arts to celebrate the value of public art in American communities, and reward the artists who create it. They’re giving away $25,000 in prizes to artists who have recently completed projects in the United States, and your votes—up to once per day at—will determine the winners.


Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined arts education would have resulted in a professional career enabling me to work with with renowned artists including Kennedy Center Honorees Arthur Mitchell and Yo-Yo Ma to plan and deliver arts education programs.

Agency to Craft Change

If I can pinpoint one thing #BecauseOfArtsEd—its that the arts is a connector, its the social tissue that binds us together, it makes us human. When I think about my life and my education, I cant separate the arts from it.

A Peace Corps China Experiment: Dance History to Teach American Diversity

"American Dance Corner" consisted of two lectures about American dance history with a focus on cultural diversity. The lectures were followed by choreography activities where the students expressed themselves in English and developed dance moves. The movement created was then assembled into a dance throughout series of four technique and choreography workshops in the rehearsal room at The School of Arts.

Thinking Inside the Box: The Road to Reimagining Education

I’m attracted to the idea of thinking inside the box. A 2013 piece in the Wall Street Journal, Think Inside the Box, posits, “People are at their most innovative when they work within the constraints of what they already know.”

This and That: The Classroom

In the early eighties Benny was a sixth grade student in a New York State Literary Center program on Ancient Greece that integrated ancient Greek literature in English translation, as the inspiration for student writing, with the school’s Social Studies curriculum on Ancient Greece. As part of my two-month residency with sixth grades in two schools, I invited poet, Greek translator, and Harvard professor, Robert Fitzgerald to work with me for two days.

Finding My Purpose in Music City

Walking down Broadway in Nashville, TN I instantly felt like I had arrived at the place I was meant to be. I could hear music pouring out of every door that I passed by, and I felt more alive than I ever had before. Within the first week of moving to Nashville I got to see Sheryl Crow at the Bluebird Café, and I knew that I had made the right choice in pursuing my dream of being a musician.

Expanding the Spotlight on Dance Education

Everyone can make a difference; together we can make a big difference by pushing to make sure arts programs continue to be funded and offered. By finding new ways to integrate and implement arts programs, we can help kids learn in creative and different manners.

Part 2: Interview with Frank Gehry by Terresa McCovey, student at Hoopa Valley Elementary School

Renowned architect and Artists Committee member Frank Gehry talks about "The Simpsons," modern communication, and the difficult decision to change his name in part two of an interview with a California student.

Part 1: Interview with Frank Gehry by Terresa McCovey, student at Hoopa Valley Elementary School

Renowned architect and Artists Committee member Frank Gehry talks about his inspiring grandmother, Frank Lloyd Wright, and defying a professor's expectations in part one of an interview with a California student.

The Microeconomics of Music Education

This post has nothing to do with the financial implications of music, of the arts, or of education at all, and you won’t see a single chart or dollar sign on this page. Instead, I’m going to highlight a simple economic concept that many of you may have learned at some point, and see if we can use it to open up our minds to a new wrinkle in thinking about arts education.

Arts Ed on the Bering Sea

Fall is sneaking its way into the air slowly here in northwestern Alaska. Soon, the all-night sunshine will be but a memory, the ocean will freeze over, and my job, as an art teacher, will be even more important: we all know how a little creativity can lift the spirits and a little color can turn a dark day around.

Out-of-Basement Through the Arts / How Arts Kept Me out of My Parents’ Basement

How to get the kids out of the basement and live independently is a big concern for many parents. A Chinese father and son reflect on how studying and pursuing the arts was a positive and successful path to breaking barriers and breaking out of the family home.

Upside Down in Paris: The Education of an Un-athletic Artist

To me, an education in the arts is about the freedom to fail and the recognition that we are all human, with human limitations and vulnerable hearts. Through this vulnerability lies connection. I continue to take larger risks in my own work—ever trying to trust that the floor will still be there after I turn myself upside-down.

Three Things Music Education Did For Me #BecauseOfArtsEd

The power of music cannot nor should not be underestimated. It helped my ancestors communicate through the Underground Railroad for freedom; it is a healing agent to the body, mind, and soul. The beauty of art is that it speaks to different people in different ways. Art—more specifically, music—intertwines with every part of my life.

Not Just Fluff: Blue Dog and Arts as Catalyst for School Improvement

In 2009, my family formed the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts and as Executive Director I was tasked with trying to make sure the arts were kept in schools in a meaningful way. We believe that the arts are not just fluff, but that they are critical for student development in the 21st century.


There is artistry in everything from performing with the Kansas City Youth Symphony to rebuilding a competition robot. Our school district believes the creative process will serve students well as they work to make their mark on the world, and to make a positive difference in the lives of others. 

“Fairy Tales Can Come True…”

Who would have thought that a kid from the south side of Chicago, who taught himself to sing listening to the soundtrack of “West Side Story”, (and Frank Sinatra records), would someday become known internationally as “the Shoemaker to the Stars”?

#BecauseofArtsEd: My Life at the Intersections

Here’s what I know for sure: if it hadn’t been for my access to excellent arts educational opportunities through Seattle Public Schools & TeenTix, my interest in business might have led me down a very different path. Instead, I chose to pursue an arts administration degree that allowed me to study at the intersection of business, public administration, and artistic practice.

He was “Born to Boogie”: Aspiring Broadway star shares his story of his time in “Billy Elliot”

One important lesson I have learned during my college career is to “learn how to learn.” To be competitive in the industry, you must take the initiative and continue to learn throughout your life. I believe arts education in school is important because in addition to teaching essential skills needed in every day life, it is the keystone in a well-rounded education.

The Few. The Proud. The Pianist.

People often assume Juilliard students could never cope with the rigors of military life, but I beg to disagree: Nothing could prepare one better than pervasive pressure to perform at a level of utter perfection, interminable personal and professional criticism, and the resultant ability to flourish in an environment where failure is simply not an option. 

Lessons from Band Class

Students working together through music and rhythm perfectly symbolize the ideal climate we strive to develop at each school. Each instrumentalist makes a meaningful contribution through melody, harmony, and rhythm. There is a sense of belonging and a spirit of cooperation among peers and adults. Everyone has a place and a purpose.

The Future of Arts Education is a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy at the Podium

Today when I think about back-to-school time, I worry. Will the teachers be prepared to reach every student—and reach them in the poorer corners of cities as well as rural areas? Are the schools welcoming and enticing to students and parents? Will creativity be a daily activity in the lives of our country’s next generation of thinkers, leaders, and artists?

The Beginning of a Dream

As a professional artist, my experience with arts education might seem unique. I didn’t have the program in my school that I now have a career in. My story goes to show just how vital arts education really is.

A Life Filled With the Arts

Every day I see students succeeding from having access to dance, theater, visual and media arts and music education. They are Americans, and their right to a rich and varied curriculum should not be dependent on their zip code or their ability to pay for a private school. Arts education is enriching their lives, just as it did mine.

How a Trip to the Lincoln Center Changed Everything I Thought I Knew About Teaching

During our time at the Lincoln Center, the resident artists put us through our paces. The eight faculty members, including myself, were asked to sing, make music, act, and construct pieces of art. For those of us who were biologists, political scientists, philosophers, psychologists, sociologists, English professors, and historians, we had never been asked to take such actions in this way.

Five Ways My Dance Education Has Affected My Life

My own journey in dance has taught me that if you trust in your teachers, your training, your abilities, and your future, everything will come together. Keep the rhythm going!


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