Don’t Underestimate the Power of the Arts to Engage Parents and Caregivers

Since the beginning of our Early Literacy Learning through the Arts program, parental engagement has been a purposeful component. It is our belief that a healthy and active relationship between a Pre-K child’s parent and their teacher will lay the foundation for continued parental engagement throughout the course of the child’s academic career. Further, it is our belief that the arts offer a level playing field of sorts, a non-threatening environment for risk-taking and trust-building, that can play a unique role in cultivating a sense of comfort and rapport on the part of the parent. Previously negative experiences from personal schooling of the parent can be replaced by new, long-lasting, fully-engaging and empowering relationships with their child’s teacher for years to come.

A New School Year Means New Opportunities for Arts Education in Schools and Communities

As the new school year has officially begun across the country, I feel a renewed sense of possibility for the role the arts can play in learning, in all subjects, in the year ahead. Even greater, I feel a new sense of opportunity for the role the arts can play in cultivating new awareness and understandings for students of all ages, across our communities.

Legislative Sessions Open, Now What? Advocate!

With the start of a new year comes the start of a new General Assembly session, at least in my home state of Virginia, and also for three-quarters of our states’ legislatures. And for our state so begins the battle for increased funding for our state arts council—the Virginia Commission for the Arts. This Wednesday, arts leaders and supporters from across our Commonwealth will gather for Arts Advocacy Day when we will meet with our state representatives to plead our case. And just what is that case?

Great Expectations: One Measure at a Time

Tis the season for all things grants. Grant applications, grant reports, grant prospecting (well really, that season never ends). In the past 90 days, I have had my hand in nearly a dozen grants, mostly to corporate and community foundations, as well as (state) government.

Those of you who work in this realm or in tandem with your development team know the drill: mission, check. Need, check. Project description, check. Impact, check. Or in this one, outcomes. But wait, the other one is asking for metrics and measurements. This one is looking for more quantitative measurement. That one encourages qualitative data. And the school systems to whom I am providing services are looking to still different outcomes and measurements altogether. And while so many benevolent community funders have taken the seemingly Herculean effort to equitably support both social services and cultural (education) funding, so often then, we are asked to complete evaluation templates that are really geared towards social service sector outcomes.

Creativity AND the Arts: not an “either/or”

Creativity. The Creative Worker. Creative Problem-Solvers. The Creative Class, (as coined by Richard Florida), Creativity in the Workplace. A Google search on the word “creativity” elicits 216,000,000 listings. Many of the scholarly articles address the role of creativity in the workplace, the relationship between creativity and cognition, or how to cultivate creativity. Mention creativity, and it’s only a matter of time before the conversation turns to the debate of STEM vs. STEAM. What I have increasingly observed in both articles and conversations on creativity is that some include the arts as an integral component in cultivating creativity, while many others do not.

"This Must Be Your Down Time!"

Janet Starke Janet Starke

Raise your hand if you’ve heard this one. It is the inevitable statement that numerous friends and colleagues make to me each summer (most still trying to determine precisely what I do for a living).

“So, what do you do when school is out?”

Subscribe to RSS - Ms. Janet M. Starke 's blog