Letter to a Young Administrator

John Abodeely

A friend and colleague—one on the earlier end of her career—recently emailed me and asked what she thought of her possibly moving back to the east coast and entering a graduate program in the hope of advancing her career more quickly.

Arts Education Administrator Seeks Business Education for Radical Improvement

John Abodeely

I started getting my MBA this month. Most of the individuals I know professionally have asked me why.

I’m surprised at how clear I am on why:

1.  Innovation is a product of diverse knowledge.

Defining a Good Arts Education

John Abodeely

The KC’s got a couple great opportunities coming up to bring some national attention to your local community. We host two national competitions: One for schools and one for districts.

The New Common Core for the Arts are Imperative

The Common Core for the Arts are a huge triumph for our professional community—for arts teachers, teaching artists, cultural organizations, supporters, advocates, etc. This is for two reasons:

1.    We’re keeping up with the other subjects.
2.    Three dozen people got together agreed on one giant thing.

The Reason Arts Education Lacks School Day Resources is Because Arts Ed Professionals Don’t Do Quality Work

John Abodeely

This probably isn’t going to be a popular statement. But let’s throw it out there and see what folks think.


Check out my last post for some written histrionics about leadership. Check out this one for some personalized, written histrionics about leadership.

These are the lessons I’ve learned the hard way that contribute to whatever shred of leadership I’ve eked out over my brief and lucky career. Some have corollaries, hence the indented bullets.

1.    Listen.

  • I’ve never been able to do enough of this. My friend once said, “P.A.D.T.H.A.I. People Are Different. They Have Amazing Ideas.” Sometimes people blow my mind.

2.    We need you.

You'll Know It When You See It

I started thinking about leadership when I got my first, national-in-scope job. It was a word that was tossed about our office all the time and I was suspect. No one would ever say what they meant by it. It was, we knew, necessary, important, lacking, and the secret of success.

Out of need, I defined it myself. I haven’t tried to write it down before, so I’ll try to articulate some of it here. Contribute to my mess by writing in comments below!

Leadership includes elements of the following:

1.    The best of intentions. These intentions include

We Sustain Each Other in Rougher Times

It’s a pleasure to be a part of such a great group of folks, discussing such a fascinating (and sometimes polarizing) subject. My name is John and I’m a program manager at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. I work in National Partnerships, serving the national network of state Alliances for Arts Education. I also help to dissemination the Kennedy Center’s suite of teaching artist training programs in arts integration, residency planning, and other areas.

ArtCast: Summarizing the Arts Ed Salon and Asking You About Your Personal Art Inspiration

John Abodeely, Manager of Arts Education at Americans for the Arts, discusses the success of the Arts Education Salon on ARTSblog. The Salon, which concludes today, features 60+ posts by a diverse gathering of more than 20 arts education stakeholders--from parents and teachers to teaching artists and government officials.

Click the Salon Sept 09 blog tag to see all the blogs from this online event. It's never too late to comment on something that interests you.

Arts Education Salon on ArtsBlog All Next Week

From September 21 to 25, two dozen arts education experts from around the country will blog daily on Americans for the Arts' new arts education blog and webpage:  www.AmericansForTheArts.org/ArtsEducation.

Join a Conference Call about Arts Education with Sec. of Education Arne Duncan

Yesterday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released a letter to school officials and community leaders reminding them of the important role of arts education in a student's life. This letter offers strong encouragement to education decision makers to find time and funds in the school day to offer a comprehensive, sequential and standards-based arts education. The letter can be read here.

Local Tools: What Every Arts Ed Advocate Needs

Americans for the Arts hosts an impressive collection of policy and advocacy resources for the arts and arts education. The following list isn't comprehensive, but it's tidy, quick, and includes the most likely resources you'll need to make the case for arts education.

The following items include information for arts education professionals. It also includes docs you can print and leave behind with your principal, superintendent, district staff, fellow teachers, mayors, council members, and state leaders to help them understand why they should support the arts for all students.

National Teaching Artist Research Project (in case you hadn't yet heard)

Nick Rabkin, former founder and director of the Center for Arts Policy at Columbia College Chicago, researcher, teaching artist expert, and esteemed colleague, has moved from the Center over to the University of Chicago and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC). He's conducting the first-ever, national research project about teaching artists. The number one need? Teaching artists who will fill out the survey.

Arts Education is a Political Issue

Arts education is as political an issue as an educational one. One could say that education itself is a political issue. After all, education and arts education decisions are made by thousands of adults each day--adults that do not see the faces of hear the voices of the children about whom these adults are making decisions. This is true of arts education too.

A Video on the Value of Imagination

Here’s an effective video about the value of IMAGINATION, featuring Sir Ken and giants of the industrial field. It's pretty inspiring; it's fun. Good music.


Do you have an advocacy video you use to change decision-makers' opinion?

Resource for Artists: What they didn't teach you in art school

Are you an artist? Do you work with artists?

Art/Work is a book for the working artist, replete with the business and legal information one needs to be effective while navigating all the parts of art that have nothing to do with being creative: intellectual property, financing, taxes, etc.

Um... Wow.

Let's hear it for spam, or mailing lists, or for the cybergods who sent an interesting announcement to me this morning. "nuPOLIS: Scalable Innovations for Communities" is a new aggregate website--blogs, news, commentary, etc. Much of it is about education and this paragraph from this article, was stunning to read:

Have you heard of L3C's?

Often, we’ve had the internal discussions at Americans for the Arts about intrinsic problems of the not-for-profit model. These problems seem intractable because our tax code only allows foundation grants and tax-deductible gifts to flow to not-for-profits.

I wanted to share something I just learned about L3C’s.

Have an Impact: Write an Editorial.

Editorials in local or regional newspapers--in print or online--can help to sway thinking. They can impact newspaper staff, elected officials seeking to know what their constituents want, peer community members, and anyone else who reads.

Future Visions of Arts Education, the Book

One dyanmo out of Harvard's grad school in arts education (where so many arts ed dynamo's first appear) has put together an honest-to-goodness book on the future of arts education--but he's just now looking for writers.

This is a fantastic place to envision a better arts education, a better education system through the arts, and--ultimately--a better education for America's students. Here's a short list of what I might write about in my chapter proposal:

Community Foundation follows the VH1 Model, Sort Of

Mississippi's Meridian Star reports

In Lauderdale County, the Community Foundation of East Mississippi is trying to help fill the arts education gap by providing refurbished instruments to schools.

It loosely follows the VH1 Save the Music model, donating instruments to schools and districts.VH1's instruments are new, often purchased locally, and only offered to schools without music programs.

Details about the San Diego Win for Arts Ed (From Arts Watch)

Arts and arts ed consultant and one of the San Diego arts ed advocacy masterminds, Victoria Saunders, gave an interview to the California Alliance for Arts Education. It's posted on CAAE's Facebook site. This story is so great, it gave me goosebumps.

NAEP Arts Released Today

The National Assessment Governing Board released the 2008 NAEP Arts, which presents the educational progress of eighth-grade students nationally in visual arts and music.

Theatre and dance were not surveyed because of budget restrictions and difficulty in previous years finding enough theater and dance classes to yield reliable results. In addition, the questions that assessed student creation of music were eliminated for budget reasons.

In both music and visual arts,

Texas Hangs onto Arts Education

San Diego isn't the only place that's celebrating the survival of arts education this week. Texas is happy too. 

GoArts.com reports that  Texas has retained its one-year fine arts graduation requirement and added a one-year requirement for middle school graduation. The same legislation increases the number of high school electives to six, allowing for more in-depth course of study in fine arts. 


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