Spotlight on 2020 Johnson Fellowship Nominees: Music as the Heart of Equitable Neighborhood Development

Posted by Ms. Pam Korza, Jul 20, 2020

This last post in our ARTSblog series featuring nominees for the 2020 Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities celebrates Eddy Kwon—musician, educator, program designer, and facilitator of equitable community development. Integrating music as a fundamental component of Price Hill Will, a community development organization in Cincinnati, Kwon’s impacts are many and draw upon their own unique artistry and artistic vision, sustained work in creative youth development, and innovative initiatives in creative citizenship. First, Eddy Kwon is a composer, violinist, jazz musician, and improviser, performing as a member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago and with musicians from the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Kwon is equally a community leader who works daily at the intersection of creative youth development, creative citizenship, and equitable community development. 

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Pre-historic Optimism in the Age of Corona

Posted by Mr. Andrew A. Valdez, Apr 29, 2020

I often ask my students what they want to be when they grow up. I wanted to be a paleontologist. I loved dinosaurs and spent hours in my school’s elementary library reading up on every dinosaur book and watching every documentary I could get my hands on. Had I been a child during this pandemic, my ideal scenario would be curled up in my school library with the internet and a treasure trove of dinosaur books at my disposal. However, that’s not feasible for most of my students. In fact, roughly two-thirds of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District students don’t have access to a computer or similar device at home. One third of our families do not have access to reliable high-speed internet. But what is waiting for them—once the district hands out hotspots and computers—is something I wish I had access to at their age. They will have access to each other, a support network of friends and teachers who are eagerly awaiting them. In particular, one teacher who is so excited for the moment they reconnect because he has collected a handful of dinosaur facts he can’t wait to share with them.

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I Waited For the Sun

Posted by Michele Crawford, Apr 20, 2020

Sometimes the source of our perceived needs is shielded, just to remind us of the greatness we take for granted and get us to yearn for something regular again. For many, that greatness is integrated in art, through creation and sharing. The brilliance of the solar system and the access to the sun is something we all share. Despite the classes we put ourselves in, despite the prejudices we choose to uphold and create, our sun is seemingly the same. It is a reminder of a new day beginning and, ready or not, another chance to be. My biggest lesson from the excessive alone time and relaxation of busyness is that though it seems many things are inaccessible, I still have access. I can still create, think, make mistakes, and breathe. 

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Local Arts Agency Roundtable: A Conversation with Nicole Mullet

Posted by Ms. Nicole Mullet, Apr 15, 2020

In 2012, the GAR Foundation and Knight Foundation launched the Summit County Arts and Culture Initiative to better understand the strengths, challenges, relevance, and opportunities for the arts sector of Summit County, Ohio. The initiative marked the first time this type of work was done for or with the arts sector in the greater Akron area. As work progressed, it became evident a new organization was needed to meet the needs of Summit County, and in July 2015 ArtsNow was created to address the report’s findings and ensure the arts and culture sector is fully leveraged in finding solutions to community needs and moving the region forward. Nicole Mullet, executive director of ArtsNow, talked to us recently about the process and what the initiative discovered.

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Summa Health Connects Patients to Art and its Healing Powers

Posted by Meg H. Stanton, Mar 19, 2020

Studies show the healing potential of the arts is powerful. It can change a person’s focus and alter a body’s physiology. Research suggests that it can lower blood pressure, improve stress management, curb anxiety and depression, alleviate pain, enhance memory, improve communication, promote wellness and relaxation, and enhance the production of proteins that accelerates healing and minimizes the danger of infection. Recognizing that a patient’s physical health is fundamentally linked to his or her emotional and spiritual well-being, in 2016 Summa Health committed to integrating the healing arts into its renowned patient care by creating a Healing Arts Leadership Council made up of senior hospital staff, benefactors, and community leaders. This Council is dedicated to bringing the healing powers of art and music into the hospital. As Summa is a community hospital, the Healing Arts Council decided early on that all artwork displayed would feature artists with a connection to Ohio, and predominantly Northeast Ohio. In addition, all art would be original, with the goal of engaging viewers with the pieces, and focusing their attention on the artworks’ unique qualities. 

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A Strong Equation: How State Arts Advocacy Efforts are Paying Off!

Posted by Mr. Jay H. Dick, Feb 21, 2020

The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) recently published their FY 2020 State Arts Agency Revenues Report. By any measure, the report paints a very positive picture for state funding of the arts, with year-to-year appropriations increasing by more than 37% to a grand total of almost $495 million in total legislative appropriations. Because the economy is doing well, it stands to reason that SAA appropriations would be higher. While it is true that a strong economy makes increases more likely, a strong economy alone cannot explain this year’s massive increase. There in an interesting equation at work: If your state has a State Arts Agency that is engaged in thoughtful programming, a strong statewide arts advocacy organization, and advocates who are proactively engaged with your state’s existing political leadership, more funding/pro-arts policy are possible! 

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