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. 

Eight OC School Districts Receive Grants to Fund Arts Plans

The Orange County Arts Education Collaborative Fund—a collaboration between the Orange County Community Foundation and Arts Orange County—recently presented grants totaling $66,000 to 8 Orange County (OC) School Districts. Grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 were made possible by funding from The Boeing Company and the Orange County Community Foundation.

News from the Local Advocacy Network: Placentia Yorba Linda

The Challenge: How do you garner support for a far-reaching arts plan in tough financial times? 

The Strategy: Partnership and patience. But not too much patience. 
The Story: Adopting a district arts plan is a great way to build community support for a long-term commitment to arts education in schools. But given the state of public school funding in California, it’s understandable that district officials would be cautious about agreeing to a plan with long-term financial implications. 
Sandee Van Oyen, the Local Organizer for the Placentia Yorba Linda Alliance for Arts Education, who spearheaded the effort says she was lucky to find strong commitment to the arts in the school board, district staff and County Department of Education -- and patience. 
“Without the support and partnership of staff within the district office we could not have pulled this off,” says Van Oyen “It took months and months of meetings and carefully going over the details of the Arts Advantage plan so that everyone could understand and become comfortable with the fiscal impact. A lot of patience was required on everyone’s part.”

Local Advocacy in Stanislaus: Getting Parents Involved

The Challenge: How do you connect with parents across a large, rural county with twenty-three separate school districts?

The Strategy: Invite parents to an event featuring resources for advocacy and a free night of theater.

The Story: When the Stanislaus Alliance for Arts Education launched last fall, it was clear that parents were key to preserving or expanding arts education in Stanislaus schools.

“We saw right away that the districts that had arts programs were the ones where parents were involved -- through booster clubs, PTAs or education foundations,” says Patty Larrick, the local organizer for the Stanislaus Alliance. “Our challenge was to bring all these different groups together, in order to share best practices and coordinate efforts.” 

Arts News - Aug 2018

Please join Los Al Arts on Facebook - news & info on arts education, recent posts from Los Al Dance camp, Musique sur la Mer orchestra, and Oak choir. 


Sherry Tanaka - Visual Arts Teacher of the Year

McAuliffe teacher Mrs. Sherry Tanaka received the Orange County Music and Arts Educators Award for Visual Arts Teacher of the Year in a May 9th ceremony at Segerstrom Center. She was also recognized as one of the county's Outstanding Arts Educators. Photo by Sherry Kropp shows Donna Chinn (Los Al Arts organizer), Ann Allen (McAuliffe principal), Sherry Tanaka (OCMAA Visual Arts Teacher Award), Jeannine Ball ((OCMAA Outstanding Arts Educator), Diana Hill (LAUSD school board), David Moellenkamp (LAHS Director of Arts). Mrs. Tanaka's teaching prowess was described in detail by McAuliffe Principal Mrs. Ann Allen:

Sherry Tanaka is an exemplary Art instructor. In teaching the language of visual communication, she challenges her students to use their brains to see, to think and to express themselves in innovative ways. As examples, when delivering instruction to sixth grade students., Mrs. Tanaka teaches Betty Edward’s “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” exercises and observation techniques to assist students in creating their self portraits. In addition students study and use the Principles of Design and Composition to create their own diagonal line design, circular design and symmetrical square/rectangle and line/shape designs. In grades seven and eight students complete units in drawing, painting, sculpture and printmaking. For example, to begin the unit on drawing and painting, students study Leonardo DaVinci, viewing his drawings and paintings of figures as models. Then they create along with the teacher, practicing how to draw a person from head to toe using measuring by comparison, by drawing full face and profile portraits, and by digging deeper by focusing on drawing hands, arms and feet. Students also study printmakers (Kathe Kollowitz and Hokusai), study Picassoand abstract art, and create linoleum block prints to apply what they have learned. To prepare for the unit on sculpture, students study Louise Nevelson to view examples of monumental, 3 story high pieces and

Arts News March 2018


March is Arts Education Month.  Did you know that the arts contribute more than $760 billion to US economy - more than agriculture, transportation, or warehousing?   The arts also employ 4.9 million workers across the country with earnings of more than $370 billion, and provided a positive trade balance--exporting $20 billion more than imported. (NEA – US Bureau of Economic Analysis)


Recent events: (photos on facebook.com/losalarts)

Reflections Awards 2017-18

Congratulations to all Los Al students who participated in the Fourth District PTA Reflections Gallery, and to these 8 who received specific recognition:

Dezirea Saenz, LAHS: Award of Excellence for Dance Choreography - "Dezi's Freestyle". Her entry will advance to the CA state level for further judging.

Myley Fox, Weaver Elementary: Award of Merit for Dance Choreography - "Pink Panther"

Riverside Unified School District embraces Community Partnerships!

Guest author: Peggy Burt, Arts Now Program Director

The Challenge: How to engage and gather input from the community for school district arts planning

The Strategy: An invitation to a meeting at the Mayor’s office!

The Story: On a lovely day in Riverside, August 15, 2017, a passionate group of arts education providers and supporters gathered in the Mayor’s Ceremonial Chamber at Riverside City Hall. As soon as you stepped into the room, you could feel the buzz of excitement! This was a moment of collaborative opportunity and an invitation to contribute to the work of enhancing and strengthening the arts in the Riverside Unified School District. Holding it at the Mayor’s office underlined the value placed on the community’s input.

Annemarie Guzy, Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, warmly welcomed the attendees. “This is a very momentous time for Riverside Unified.  With renewed support for the arts from our incredible Board, our school district is very excited to be building a future for the arts, and helping all of our students to reach their highest creative potential in drama, dance, visual arts, media arts, instrumental music and vocal music.”