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 our local coalitions. For more information contact us here

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


Coalition Blog


New Line-Up for Jazz Band Directors

Mr. Justin Padilla will be leaving Oak MS in the fall, and assuming baton duties as LAHS Director of Jazz Bands and Orchestra.  In a preview, he accompanied the HS jazz bands to the Reno Jazz Festival this spring.  LAHS Jazz I took 2nd place honors in a highly competitive division.  Mr. Robert Harrell, currently interim Jazz & Orchestra Director at LAHS, will succeed Justin Padilla at Oak.  
Mr. Chuck Wackerman, the founder of jazz education in LAUSD, will end his tenure in the district in June.  In his 59 years with the district, he has served as music director at McGaugh, LAHS, and McAuliffe, to much acclaim.  He  is much respected and loved at Los Al.  The already highly decorated Mr. Wackerman was just awarded the 2016 Golden Oak Honorary Service Award by the PTA.

Lee Elementary Welcomes New Music Teacher

This is from Principal Amy Laughlin 's announcement in March 2016:
Sarah Sandvig has been teaching voice and piano since 1993. She received her Bachelors degree in Vocal Performance from UCLA, and her Masters degree in Music Education from CSULB.  Sarah has published 12 books which are currently being developed into apps available in the App Store and Google Play Store.  She is the recipient of the Outstanding Thesis Award from CSULB and has been recognized for her work with children with autism.  
Sarah was a music teacher in our District for 7 years before taking time off to teach private lessons and, more importantly, be mom to two current Lee Leopards!  Please help me welcome her to our FamLee!,

Takeaways from Arts Ed Learning Exchange Conference

The Arts Ed Learning Exchange conference in San Diego in mid-March was an infusion of inspiration. Special thanks to the California Alliance for Arts Education which created this conference as part of the new Arts NOW Campaign. The campaign was designed to shine a light on districts and counties and the strategic investments they are making to improve the quality of education. Highlighted in this conference were emerging arts education models in San Diego Unified School District and Chula Vista School District.

Arts News – Feb 2016

February started with the concerts for All District Band and All District Orchestra. Our high school, middle schools, and elementary school groups played to enthusiastic audiences.  You can see video clips of these, as well as some recent elementary grade performances, on the Alliance facebook page link below.  The All District Choral Festival will be March 7  at  6:30pm at Cottonwood.  Ticket info at losal.seatyourself/biz .


Santa Barbara County Alliance for Arts Education (SBCAAE) is welcoming new members to join our initiatives of promoting, supporting, and advocating for visual and performing arts education for preschool through post-secondary students in the county's schools.

A Great Learning Experience



Reflections Student Art by Vy Nguyen (Grade 5)

Reflections Student Art by Vy Nguyen (Grade 5)

Creating art is a valuable learning process. Artistic exploration and expression enhance and develop intellectual, social and physical skills.

When children express themselves through words, pictures, music, photography and other art forms, they grow intellectually. The National PTA Reflections program helps parents encourage and recognize the continuous self-discovery process of their children.

With art, children learn to analyze their thoughts, feelings and ideas; look at objects, people and experiences in a fresh and exciting way; and develop curiosity for the ideas and works of others.

There are four skills students demonstrate and enhance through their artwork in the Reflections program:

Why The Arts Matter

September 23, 2015

Ever wonder what National Endowment for the Arts staff actually think about the arts? While not everyone at the agency is an artist (though we do boast quite a few!), one thing's for sure--we all share a deep and abiding appreciation and understanding of how vitally important the arts are to the diverse people and communities that call the U.S. home. To paraphrase what more than one staffer said when we asked them to explain why they value the arts so highly, the arts matter because they help us to understand how we matter. Here's more...

“The arts matter because I learn something about people and places I would have never known otherwise. The arts make my brain and my heart stretch to make room for newness. Sometimes, parts of me are displaced and replaced by wiser stuff. And that’s a fine thing.” – Victoria Hutter

“Art matters because it illustrates the human experience—the wonder of it, the bewilderment of it, the whimsy of it, and so much more. We would not be connected so deeply without the existence of art.” – Kathleen Dinsmore

“The arts matter because they give us a mutual space where we can talk to one another about the 

Local Media Outreach

We want to make sure that everyone in our community is hearing about the importance of Arts Eduation.  The Amador Alliance is working with local media, including the Amador Ledger Dispatch and KVGC Hometown Radio to creat Arts Education PSA's.  

Meet our Amador Alliance Team

The Amador Alliance for Arts Education is working to bring the Arts to all our Schools today and get your students ready for a Creative Tomorrow.  Our local leadership team is made up of a small group of dedicated Teachers, Adminstrators, Artists, Parents and Arts Leaders.

Terra Forgette: Executive Director AmadorArts

Dick Glock: Superintendent ACUSD

About LAHS Instrumental Music Director - John Rush


In his current position as director of Instrumental Music at Los Alamitos High School, John Rush leads the Jazz I, II, and III bands, String Orchestra, Jazz Combos, and teaches AP Music Appreciation.  Under his leadership, the jazz program expanded to three bands.  This year’s experience at the competitive Reno Jazz Festival was especially successful, as each of his jazz performing groups placed in their respective divisions.

Mr. Rush grew up in Cypress and graduated from California State University, Long Beach, where he studied with the late Dr. Michael Carney in percussion and with John Prince in jazz.   He received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education.  When he came to Los Al in 2002, he headed the marching band, Jazz II, color guard, concert bands, string orchestra, and drum line programs. Since then, each of the groups has achieved