Arts Now Communities

Arts Now Communities receive leadership development, strategic assistance and communications tools from the California Alliance to support coalition building, strategic planning and arts education advocacy. Now in over thirty California communities, these coalitions convene business partners, community, arts and parent organizations to stand together for quality, accessible arts education for all students. Below are the most recent blogs from Arts Now Communities. For more information contact Robin Hampton

  • Webinar: Introduction to Arts Now Communities (formerly the Local Advocacy Network). Slides.

 

Coalition Blog

 

The What and Why of Starting a Local Arts Education Advocacy Coalition

On December 3, Arts Council Napa Valley along with the Napa County Office of Education and the California Alliance for Arts Education hosted an early morning breakfast to garner support for arts education in Napa County schools. In response to the statewide changes in education focus, the California Alliance launched the Local Advocacy Network project, which supports local advocacy efforts in more than 30 California communities. 
 
Napa County Superintendent of Schools Barbara Nemko, along with the Principal Advisor to the State Superintendent of Schools Craig Cheslog, Napa Valley Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Patrick Sweeney and Executive Director of the California Alliance for Arts Education Joe Landon, began the conversation with more than 50 Napa County educators, arts organizations, nonprofits and community leaders in attendance. The event was held on the historic Napa Valley Unified School District Auditorium stage.
 
The Arts Advocates of Napa County agree that it is essential every child have the opportunity for an arts-rounded education. In working to make this possible, groups were formed to determine methods and needs to improve art education in Napa County. However, there are many challenges faced with art education in the schools, such as, state funding cuts, locally managed budgets, need of a central organizer for arts education curriculum and assets, absence of training for teaching the arts, and lack of opportunity available for arts as a new Common Core standard.

Find Out the Status of Arts Education in Your Local School District

The Challenge: The Local Control Funding Formula offers a rare opportunity for districts to allocate funding for the arts, but how do you find out what your district needs most?

The Strategy: An online survey of schools in your district can provide information about the status of arts education in local schools and the areas of greatest need. 

The Story: Last month, parents, educators, elected officials, and leaders from local business and cultural institutions gathered to launch an arts education advocacy effort in San Luis Obispo County. There was a great turnout and small group discussions yielded a long list of possible goals. County Superintendant of Schools Julian Crocker told those gathered that the new Local Control Funding Formula presented them with a “historic opportunity” to advance arts education in their community. Only one question remained, where should we start?

Napa, Yolo, Nevada and San Luis Obiipo Counties Join Network

The California Alliance for Arts Education is delighted to announce that as a result of our ongoing partnership with the California Arts Council, four new communities have joined the Local Advocacy Network. In 2008, the California launched the Network in response to a shift toward local decision-making. Since that time, the project has grown to include close to thirty California communities, providing each with strategic assistance, communication tools and professional development so that they can effectively advocate for arts education. A warm welcome to our newest members! 

Passing An Arts Plans Pays Off: OC Districts Get Grants to Fund Plans

The Orange County Community Foundation gave out the second round of grants to ten OC school districts who had completed a district plan for arts education and also had an active Alliance for Arts Education in their community. These grants are matched by the school district and must move some aspect of their bigger plan forward such as professional development for teachers and purchase of musical instruments. The Boeing Company and Arts Orange County have been instrumental in launching the Orange County Arts Education Collaborative Fund.

Making Arts Learning Visible in Stanislaus

The Educationally Interpretative Exhibition: Rethinking the Display of Student Art, Making Arts Learning Visible
 

By Patty Larrick

A Project of the Stanislaus County Alliance for Arts Education in collaboration with the Stanislaus County Office of Education. 
 
How do we view and understand a typical student art show?  What do we make of what we see? Do we look for the “best” work?  The blue ribbons?  The “talented” kids?  Maybe we look first at the nametags that identify the student, school and grade level. Do we learn anything about how the work was created? Can we make any assumptions about teaching and learning from the singular examples on display? 
 
This month, the Stanislaus Alliance for Arts Education, in collaboration with the Stanislaus County Office of Education implemented an educational model for the display of pre-K through high school artwork. Based on a model developed by Elliot Eisner at Stanford University, the Educationally Interpretative Exhibition (EIE) was introduced at the County Office of Education, March 4-14, 2013.
 

Arts Orange County Promote the Local Arts Scene


"Whether its informing the public about events, building capacity of arts organizations or championing arts education, Arts Orange County (ArtsOC) plays a vital role," so says USAirways Magazine in a recent issue of their infight magazine.

The California Alliance is delighted to see our longtime partners in local arts education advocacy recognized for their important work in the County. ArtsOC has spearheaded the Alliance's Local Advoacy Network in Orange County, building  advoacy coaltions in fourteen OC school districts who are working to advance the arts in local schools. Read the article.

Using Facebook to Promote Arts Education in Los Alamitos

The Challenge: How to connect with parents and other allies and build support for K-12 arts education in local schools. 

The Strategy: Donna Chinn created a Facebook page that pooled information about arts education events in Los Alamitos from various sites and schools, providing parents with one place to find out about all arts events in the district. 

The Story: “I didn’t really know how Facebook worked,” says Donna Chinn, local organizer for the Los Alamitos Alliance for Arts Education, ”When I started I was trying to find or invent a way to connect with parents and other people who might be interested in local arts. Eventually, I discovered that I could set up a page for the arts alliance as an organization.  Luckily, my daughter was able to help me with my many newbie questions.”

While she didn’t have experience with social media, Donna started with clear objectives and a sound strategy: 

Alliance Launches 5 Local Coalitions through Arts Council Partnership

As a result of a new partnership with the California Arts Council, this fall local arts councils in Amador, Fresno, Mendocino, Placer and Santa Cruz joined the Alliance’s Local Advocacy Network.

The program empowers local communities to keep arts programs in schools by providing the strategic assistance, leadership development and communication tools. Since its launch four years ago, the network has helped local advocates build strong relationships with their local school boards, participate in the creation of a district arts plan and earn media coverage and broad support for arts education.

The five local councils support from bring a wealth of experience and a strong commitment to this work. Each one hosts a breakfast event for community leaders to gather and unify local support for arts education. Read about the recent launch in Amador County. 

I was shopping at Costco when I saw a school board member right there in my path.


From Costco to the Curriculum Advisory Committee – Elevator Speeches that Work

By Cathy Dagostino-Hamilton, Local Organizer for the Escondido Alliance for Arts Education

The Challenge: How do you build relationships with school board members in your community? 

Strategy: A little bit of nerve and a well-prepared elevator speech

Story: When I started working with the Alliance’s Local Advocacy Network I was a concerned, resourceful mom with a strong belief in the value of the arts. I had seen first hand how they had helped my daughter connect and learn at school and read research that backed up my experience. But I didn’t have relationships with local school board members who made the funding decisions about arts programs – how could I get my message across? 

Get to know your school board members

You may find they or one of them may live in your own neighborhood. That happens to be the case for me and once I realized that, I began to notice her around our local area, walking, shopping, and at community events. Don’t be a stalker! I do not follow her around! I just take opportunities as they are presented. As it happened, I didn’t have to wait long. I was shopping at Costco when I saw a school board member right there in my path.

Advocates in Fresno Give Fundraising a Good Name

The Challenge: Finding a concrete way to get business leaders involved in arts education advocacy.

The Strategy: Ask them to sponsor a wall to display student artwork in a community gallery. 

The Story: When Elva Rodriguez launched an arts education advocacy group in Central Unified Fresno, she already had good, solid relationships with local businesses. She had been involved with the Rotary club as well as the school district. But, she wondered how she could create a tangible way for businesses to support arts education in the community. 

Her team came up with a concrete idea. They asked the Rotary Club to sponsor and name a wall in one of the galleries at Arte Américas, a community cultural center. The wall will be devoted to displaying student artwork. 

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