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What's for breakfast? What's Breakfast for?

On a recent Thursday morning, a group of forty people gathered in San Francisco for a breakfast of grits, sausage and greens. It was a special occasion; it was a chance for parents, teachers, elected officials, school officials and artists to talk about how they could work together to support arts education in local public schools; it was also the launch of the thirtieth coalition in the Alliance’s Local Advocacy Network. 

Ten Salient Studies on the Arts in Education offers digests and links to ten recent studies about the impact of arts in education. Reports by research organizations, college professors and school districts themselves reveal the power of art to inspire, motivate and educate today’s students." Read the studies. 

Strategies for Local Advocacy

No sooner did we finish writing a handbook for our Local Advocacy Network (affectionately named the LANBook), then new challenges emerged from the work being done on the ground. Three years into the project, we are twenty-five coalitions strong and, as more and more communities join our statewide network, they bring unique circumstances that generate new strategies. From South Bay to San Jose, here are some of the approaches advocates are using to support arts education in local schools:

  • School Board Meetings: The South Bay Alliance made sure a member of their team was present at each and every town hall and school board meeting last year. Through frequent communication within the team, they presented a consistent message to the Board and met new decision points with solutions.

New Study on Cultural Vitality and Economic Development

“Building Community, Making Space for Art,” new study released in October by Maria Rosario Jackson of the Urban Institute, sheds new light on the relationship between “dimensions of cultural vitality” and “economic development, attachment to place, positive health outcomes, and civic engagement, among other desirable impacts.” The research parses the kinds of organizations and activities that contribute most to community revitalization. Read more.

Innovative Strategies for Local Advocacy

No sooner did we finish writing a handbook for our Local Advocacy Network (affectionately named the LANBook), then new challenges emerged from the work being done on the ground.

What Can a Website Do (Welcome to ours!)

We were just going to make a few changes to our website. Add a new section about local advocacy. Simplify our action center. And then, as often happens when you begin adding new elements to something, the whole thing changed. 

As we explored questions about goals and possibilities, the scope of the project grew. We discovered new web platforms that made it easy to add new elements and content. We heard from local advocates and stakeholders like you that you wanted easy ways to participate online and to find the research and tools you need to make the case for arts education in your community.


So today we launch a fully re-designed website! Here are some of the things it can do: 

1. It provides an online home for the twenty-five coalitions in our Local Advocacy Network and more opportunities for you to post comments, ask questions and participate. 
2. The new Action Center provides an array of grab and go advocacy tools from Three Minute Actions to three-week projects. And, we’ve simplified the navigation (and even made out font size larger per your request) so you can find what you’re looking for quickly and easily. 

Are We Preparing Students to Innovate and Succeed in a Global Economy?

On July 10, 2010, a Newsweek headline provocatively proclaimed that the United States was in “The Creativity Crisis,” citing evidence that shows for the first time in 50 years, American creativity is on the decline. In a global economy where innovation drives prosperity, the United States faces increasing competition from around the world in maintaining its competitiveness.

Arts Education and an Innovative Workforce

It’s well-known that a well-developed arts education teaches communications skills, teamwork, problem solving, responsibility, and the ability to adapt to change. According to Sarah Murr, Arts Education and an Innovative Workforce, all of these skills are considered critical by Boeing for its highly skilled workforce. However, tight state budgets and a lack of appreciation for what an arts education provides a young mind, and subsequently an adult mind, have resulted in the abandonment or near abandonment of arts programs across the nation. Read Murr’s blog about why restoring arts education programs needs to be prioritized to ensure the next generation can compete in a global economy that is driven by knowledge and ideas.


Arts Education in California Schools Relies on Patchwork of Funding

This recent SF Examiner article offers snapshot of how schools in San Francisco and all over California rely on a "fraying patchwork of grants, programs and donations” for arts education. Some districts rely almost entirely on parent fundraising to maintain these programs, while schools in lower-income communities go without. San Francisco’s situation reflects conditions that exist across the state according to Mark Slavkin, chairman of the California Alliance for Arts Education, “The northeastern states are spending twice as much on education as California,” Slavkin said.

Governor Takes Action on Education Bills

Governor Brown took action on several education bills last week, signing AB 1330 into law and vetoing SB 547. Read Alliance Executive Director, Joe Landon's response to the Governor's action and how it will affect arts education in California classrooms.