Turning Your Community into a Classroom

Posted by Tessa Gaffney, Oct 31, 2019

Inspired by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a nationally recognized speaker and early childhood expert, Summit Education Initiative has started an Akron Play Book of its own. In collaboration with ArtsNow and The University of Akron’s EX[L] Center, SEI established an internship in which students were to design and implement simple, educational art installations that families with young children could interact with as they go about their daily activities. They would be installed in North Hill, a racially and ethnically diverse community, on September 8, 2019 during First Serve, an event that brings together over 800 individuals of different faiths and backgrounds to volunteer on service projects across the city alongside each other. Art doesn’t have to take place on a stage or in a gallery, with a clear boundary between art and audience. It can be an interruption from everyday life. It can instill lessons and develop skills. It can be a Laundromat theatre, or a grocery store card game, or even a bench.

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From Passion to Business

Posted by Patricia Nugent, Oct 22, 2019

In the past, we saw art as a passion—not a business. But today, with the popularity of online shopping sites like Etsy and the growing number of community arts and craft shows, more and more artists are creating a thriving business from their art. Couple that with more creative outlets for musicians and actors, and it’s no wonder why dynamic arts communities are scattered throughout the country with growing opportunities for artists to become entrepreneurs. To help support and guide artists in Akron, Ohio, Summit Artspace is helping these highly right-brained individuals with the business side of things. In fact, evolving with the needs of the artists, this nonprofit community art center organization is revamping its strategic plan and mission in 2020 to focus on connecting artists and artist-serving organizations to the community and to the resources they need to thrive professionally, creatively, and financially.

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Children living in shelters find a caring, nurturing place at Magical Theatre Company

Posted by Laura Briedis Tomko, Oct 04, 2019

You never know when that “aha” moment might strike. For Magical Theatre Company in Barberton, Ohio, it happened 22 years ago when co-producing director Holly Barkdoll walked across the street prior to a performance to get change for the box office. Always inside the theater readying for performances, she never really saw the people coming to their shows, so she was surprised to find a line of people wrapped around the building. How wonderful, she thought, that the show was going to sell out. But then she realized that the line actually was going to the building next door—a local soup kitchen. At that moment, it struck her: while some families were waiting in line to see a play and be entertained, others were just trying to survive and find a meal. That moment inspired her and her husband, co-producing director Dennis O’Connell, to use their theater as an outreach to help disadvantaged children in Northeast Ohio.

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UPDATED! Top 10 Reasons to Support the Arts for National Arts & Humanities Month

Posted by Mr. Randy Cohen, Oct 02, 2019

October is National Arts & Humanities Month, a time to celebrate and champion the arts locally and nationally. The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us—fostering creativity, goodness, and beauty. The arts bring us joy, help us express our values, and build bridges between cultures. The arts are also a fundamental component of a healthy community—strengthening them socially, educationally, and economically—benefits that persist even in difficult social and economic times. The effective arts advocate needs a full quiver of case-making arrows to articulate the value of the arts in as many ways as possible—from the passionately inherent to the functionally pragmatic. To help fill your quiver, I offer an updated Top 10 Reasons to Support the Arts.

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Advancing the Arts: African Proverbs Provide a Blueprint

Posted by Samika A. Satterthwaite, Sep 13, 2019

I attended the 2019 Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was amazing to be in a place with thousands of other arts supporters and enthusiasts. I was among artists, researchers, educators, community organizations, politicians, board members, and so many others. All of us came together to learn, share, network, and champion the cause of elevating the arts in our communities. There was power in the sheer number of people who traveled from all over the country to be in attendance. All of us traveled individually—one by one, to come to one place for one reason: the arts. We came together to advocate, connect, and support the power of the arts in America. I believe the African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” In those simple words, the proverb teaches us the blueprint for monumental progress. 

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From the Barre to the Boardroom: The Power of Arts-Based Learning for Business Professionals

Posted by Will Bonfiglio, Sep 12, 2019

Arts education certainly doesn’t have to (and really shouldn’t) end after high school. At least that’s our belief at COCAbiz, the arts-based business training division of COCA-Center of Creative Arts in St. Louis. COCAbiz provides immersive arts-based training, programming, and consulting for business professionals. We are constantly exploring how to unlock creative energy and build skills to meet today’s business challenges by providing leaders with new tools, techniques, and perspectives from the arts. COCA’s Executive Director, Kelly Pollock, wrote about COCAbiz for Americans for the Arts back in 2011, suggesting “businesses might be more innovative and achieve greater success when they give their employees all of the tools that the arts and the creative process have to offer.” She’s right. As we round out our first decade of COCAbiz, we have learned that arts learning is powerful and needed with business professionals. In a world where automation and technological dependence are becoming the norm, human creativity still reigns as the ultimate competitive advantage.

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