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


A Vote for Arts Education

According to a recent report by the Pew Charitable Trust, a majority of voters say they already know what they need to know about both presidential candidates. Even so, in the next two months inboxes and airwaves will be crowded with advertisements about the presidential candidates, while local election races that may have lasting impact on our schools and the lives of our children proceed with much less fanfare.

Why (and how) to survey candidates for school board







Why (and how) to survey candidates for school board

The first meeting of the new academic year will be on Thursday, September 27th


A Local Advocacy Network (LAN)

August 22, 2012

Alliance Leadership Group Members:

It is shaping up to be an exciting year for our Stanislaus Alliance for Arts Education.  We are now at the point where we can focus our message and our action.  We need all of you to be a part of our creative, idea-driven advocacy efforts.

From STEM to STEAM: Science and Art Go Hand-in-Hand

In the wake of the recent recession, we have been consistently apprised of the pressing need to revitalize funding and education in STEM fields — science, technology, engineering, and math. Doing this, we are told, will spur innovation and put our country back on the road to prosperity.

Renewing our focus on STEM is an unobjectionably worthwhile endeavor. Science and technology are the primary drivers of our world economy, and the United States is in the lead.

“Don’t water down your arts plan just because the economy is bad.”

The Challenge: Five years into your district arts plan there’s still no money. How do you maintain momentum when budget woes continue? 
The Strategy: “Don’t water down your arts plan just because the economy is bad.”
The Story: When stakeholders in Saddleback sat down to renew their district’s arts plan (they expire every five years), there were still items from the original plan that hadn’t been accomplished. There were facilities that hadn’t been built and equipment that was still needed. There were also a lot of new faces around the table. Would this new group be able to keep momentum and agree on a plan? 
According to Jim Thomas, Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator for the Orange County Department of education, these potential obstacles turned out to have unexpected benefits. 

The Creative Class Rises Again

At a time when the unemployment rate in the United States topped 10 percent, the rate of unemployment for the Creative Class did not reach even 5 percent. As TechCrunch stated: "In a time of high unemployment, when traditional skills can be outsourced or automated, creative skills remain highly sought after and highly valuable. We all want to be part of the Creative Class of programmers, designers, and information workers. The term used to mean artists and writers. Today, it means job stability."

Marvin Hamlisch Comments on the Importance of Arts Education in Schools

Award-winning composer and conductor Marvin Hamlisch, who died last week, was passionate about arts education in schools. He was known to make a pitch for arts ed during his concerts. His obituary referenced an interview that he gave at the Orange County High School for the Arts in Santa Ana, in which he emphasized, "Arts education is so important.  It's part of being a human being.  I don't think the American government gets it.  I don't think they understand it's as important as math and English.  It rounds you out as a person.  I think it gives you a certain love of artistic things. You don't have to become the next great composer, but it's just nice to have heard certain pieces and you get a feeling for that, or to see certain things that are artistic and say that's a beautiful sculpture.  We sometimes stress so much math and English and physical education, but we sometimes give short shrift to something [arts education] that I think is very important."

You can hear Mr. Hamlisch's comments on arts education at 4:49 of the full OCHSA interview.

Friends in Arts Education

In a recent interview, Alliance Executive Director Joe Landon cited strong relationships with school board members as key to the success of the Local Advocacy Network. "They approach school board members as partners. They have a clear, consistent message and they bring solutions rather than complaints." Launched four years ago, the program empowers over thirty California communities to advocate for arts programs in their local schools.

Local Advocacy: What Works

In a recent interview with for California Schools, a monthly magazine of the California School Boards Association, Joe Landon reflects on what's working in the Alliance's Local Advocacy Network. Launched in 2008, the program empowers local communities to keep arts programs in schools.

The Alliance provides local groups the leadership development, strategic assistance and online resources and communication tools they need to make effective school board presentations, earn media coverage of their issue and, this year, complete an arts education survey of candidates running for school board in forty California districts.

Four years into the program, Landon cites strong partnerships with what are often sympathetic local school boards as key to the local coalitions' success. "They approach school board members as partners. They have a clear, consistent message, and they bring solutions rather than complaints."

Landon also explains what's keeping local districts from using Title 1 funding for arts education and what the Alliance is doing to help. 

Read the article.