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

 

Five Facebook Tips from an Arts Education Advocate and Social Media Whiz

The Challenge: How does a short on time local advocate keep her Facebook page current and dynamic? 

The Strategy: Use these five tips to increase the quality and number of your posts, while decreasing the amount of time you spend on Facebook! 

Big Shoes to Fill: Taking Over for Ron Bolles

 

Leadership transitions can be hard on grassroots volunteer efforts, and for Keith Davis, who recently assumed the role of lead organizer for the South Bay Alliance for Arts Education, there was the added challenge of having some very big shoes to fill when Ron Bolles stepped down. 

“Ron had worked as a highly respected VAPA teacher and Facilitator in our  district for thirty- seven years. He’s known as a passionate and credible advocate for the arts in the community,” according to Keith.

Keith himself is a longtime supporter of the arts in South Bay, serving as the marketing director and then Executive Administrator of the San Repertory theater for a decade, then as the manager and go-to guy for  [name] both Eastlake and San Ysidro High schools' state of the art theaters. He joined the South Bay Alliance for Arts Education in 2011.

Located in southern San Diego County, the South Bay group is one of thirty coalitions spread across California that, with resources from the California Alliance, builds support for arts education in local schools. In their first year, the group undertook a Facebook campaign that activated local advocates and made elected officials sit up and take notice; the group built strong relationships with school board officials by offering solutions and taking a collaborative rather than oppositional approach at public meetings; and they used local music events to highlight the benefits of arts education and bring their message to the larger community.

Amador County Arts Council Launches Advocacy Effort

 
Amador County is one of five local arts councils to join the Alliance’s Local Advocacy Network this fall. The program offers empowers local communities to keep arts programs in schools by providing the strategic assistance, leadership development and communication tools. 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. 
 
Jack Mitchell, Publisher of the Amador Ledger Dispatch was one of the hosts for launch event in Amador. His inspired remarks are included here. Thank you and welcome to all of our new allies! 

Candidate Surveys Make the Arts Matter in Elections

The Challenge: How does a well-known arts council reinvigorate its arts education messaging?

The Strategy: Seize moments of momentum like a statewide Candidate Survey Project in a big election year.

The Story: The Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County has a long history of support for arts education, beginning in 1980 when it launched the nationally recognized SPECTRA program (Special Teaching Resources in the Arts) in response to Proposition 13.

Today, according to a recent white paper by the Council, the community has “the local expertise and skills needed to make a major impact in this field, numerous case studies to draw upon, a supportive community of parents, teachers, school administrators and arts organizations and hundreds of teachers, artists, and administrators who have received quality professional development in arts education.” Yet, like so many communities, its arts education offerings are also dependent on the ebb and flow of financial resources.

WHERE DO YOU THINK @#$%& ARTISTS COME FROM?

 

Remarks from Ann Morhauser, CEO and Designer of Annieglass and one of the hosts of our local advocacy launch breakfast in Santa Cruz County.

Artists do not fall fully-formed from the sky ready to create the next Mona Lisa or your next smart phone, computer, gadget, cancer cure, bridge, car, sunscreen, seat belt, MRI, solar panel, wine, ATM… They need to be taught, trained, nurtured, given room, space and time to develop their own personal vocabulary to be able to interpret and communicate their vision.

Any invention requires more than engineering. Innovation requires imagination, the ability to construct and deconstruct unhindered, analysis, and creativity. Vital to any sort of artistic development is both the nerve to carry it out and the freedom to fail.

“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. 

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.

Stanislaus Alliance Urges Parents to Join Advocacy Efforts

The new Stanislaus Alliance for Arts Education encouraged parents to get more involved in promoting arts at their schools at an event this month. 

"When programs are in danger, it's the parents and only the parents that save them," Patty Larrick, the alliance coordinator, told people at a parents forum at the Gallo Center for the Arts.

Working in partnership with the Gallo Center, the Stanislaus Alliance organized and event at which parents could find out how to get more involved in local advoacy efforts, as enjoy master storyteller, in performance at the Center. 

The event attracted over forty community members and was covered in the Modesto Bee. Read the story.

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. 

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.

Pages