Shooting Survivors Turn to the Arts in Wake of Tragedy

On February 14, 2018, seventeen people, including students and adults, were killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Since this tragedy, the voices of young people from the community have been lifted through their dynamic advocacy to call for reform to national, state, and local gun- and mental health-related policies. Many of the strong skills that they are using for their advocacy came from their immersion and studies in arts education. As the school re-opens and our lawmakers continue important discussions as a result of this tragedy, I hope that young people in every community across our nation continue to embrace the arts to inspire change in their communities, in states, and in Washington, DC. While nothing can lessen this tragedy, the arts are one way for people to find solace and strength.

Why We Celebrate: The Power of Youth Voice

We don’t empower young people for the simple concept of empowering young people—but instead because it is the right thing to do. How dare we sit around as adults to discuss the future of arts education without the young people who participate and benefit from that arts education present? Additionally, I know that from experiences like advocating publicly, we are building the leadership skills of the next generation through intergenerational dialogue and cyclical mentorship. We learn just as much from young people as they do from us. Lastly, we know that decision-makers respect the power of authentic youth voice, speaking from experience. So, my message this National Arts in Education Week is simple: Let us take the lead of our youth to support a shared vision for the future of arts education in America.

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.

Because of Arts Education

Whether an educator, architect, doctor, volunteer, or accountant, we know the arts have had some impact on you. We know the arts develop certain skills in people that prove essential. We know that those skills lead to successes in work and life. Now is our time as a field to share these stories of impact with decision makers. 

Operationalizing Access and Equity in Arts Education

The term equity has been top of mind in the worlds of arts and education for quite some time now. When we talk about access, we divert to equity. We when talk about diversity, we pivot and discuss equity. When we talk about inclusion, we now talk about equity, too.

With all of this talk, our field has begun to take action. We see success stories around the country of programs using their data to identify issues with the equity in access to arts education. We see school districts take serious the deficiencies in equity and correct them with modified defunding models. We also see individuals, programs, and communities taking steps towards their own knowledge building on the issues of equity.

Top 10 in Arts Education 2015

Each December, I have the pleasure to reflect alongside colleagues of the Americans for the Arts’ Arts Education Advisory Council about what happened in arts education in America over the course of the previous year. It is truly one of my favorite activities – a chance to celebrate big accomplishments, learn from incidents that were not-so-good, and identify trends which may crop up in our work in 2016.

Last year, as we looked back over 2014, we discussed STEAM, creative youth development, standards, new reports, resources for specific student populations, mayors and more. Some things continued this year, and some things did not – check out the list below!

What’s Going on Internationally in Arts Education?

As we celebrated International Arts Education Week 2015 last week, I have a renewed interest in exploring what is happening around the world in the fields of arts and education; specifically where they come together.

The first International Arts education Week was held in 2012 at the UNESCO headquarters with representatives from all sectors involved including artists, educators, NGO’s and the like. To coordinate global efforts in celebration of the power and impact of arts education, the delegates at the UNESCO general conference approved a resolution designating a week to join together as a global community to celebrate on the 4th week of May annually. This guide book is a great starting place for your celebration.

Arts Education and Cognitive Development: Compiling the Research

More and more, we at Americans for the Arts are talking about the transformative power of the arts, echoing the work that has happened at a local level in the arts across America for the past several decades. However, as I move more and more into the education space, I hear a call for the hard facts amongst the heart-warming stories. Education decision makers want to see results, they want to see change, and they want to draw a correlation between the two.

As a professional arts education advocate, I can keep up with most of these requests, but recently I found myself at a bit of a cross roads. I was in Los Angeles, speaking with a self-described ‘music education evangelist,’ who was telling me all about some research that had been conducted on the impact of arts education on the cognitive functions of the brain. Arts Education, he said, could work to close the opportunity gap faster than other – more conventional – tactics.

What’s Going on with Arts Ed in Chicago? (The 5 Things You Need To Know)

In the Arts Education world, Chicago has been in the news a lot lately. To best understand what has gone on the past 2 or so years, we have compiled a concise list of events, news stories and reports to tell the tale for all of us non-Chicagoans.

1. Chicago’s Cultural Plan

In February 2012, a celebration was held to mark the release of the City of Chicago’s Cultural Plan. Developed in conjunction with advocates, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) along with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the plan called for specific attention on Arts Education within Chicago Public Schools (CPS). After one year in effect, the several studies have been completed, data has been compiled and analysis is beginning.

Arts Education: Ten Things to Remember from 2014

I can now affirmatively say that I have been at Americans for the Arts for over a year! Woohoo! …And what a year it has been.

Each month the Arts Education Advisory Council of Americans for the Arts has a monthly call. In December, we sat on the call reflecting on the previous year and what we had all accomplished personally, collectively, and throughout the field. In my role as the Arts Education Program Coordinator, I am privileged to see a lot of things that happen on a national scale across the country, and the council often provides insight into the impacts of these trends or brings my attention to something that is up-and-coming before it has actually made a splash.

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