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#StaffChat: Supporting Arts Education

Staff Chat posts feature articles and news that the C1 team discusses as part of our weekly all-staff meeting. We’d love to hear your thoughts, too — hit us up on Facebook or Twitter!


Kristen Engebretsen, arts education program manager for Americans for the Arts, wrote an article about ways to support arts education for ArtsBlog that was recently posted by The Alliance for Student Activities:

C1’s educational programs are a huge part of the company’s mission, so this issue is near and dear to our hearts. We are passionate about our Stage One and Apprentice programs, and always looking for ways to increase the visibility of the work our students are doing. This article is a good reminder to think about how we can ensure the future success of our educational programming and initiatives, and a solid resource for anyone who is passionate about keeping the arts in our schools.

Here are a few suggestions from the article that especially stick out:

Know the facts: Stay on top of current arts education research, trends, and news articles. Start with Facts & Figures, which summarizes research on the topic. Use this data in your messaging when you speak to elected officials or school leaders.

artsSimply saying the arts are important isn’t enough, we need to back it up with evidence. The Facts & Figures publication that’s mentioned here has some great summaries of statistical data – check it out.

Pack a one, two punch: Your message to elected officials and school leaders should contain both a warm and fuzzy anecdote AND hard hitting data. Practice your message. Keep it brief. Know who your audience is, and tailor your message to them.

The idea of an elevator pitch for arts education is great – what is the most important information we want to convey, and how do we sum it up in a clear and concise way?

Measure your school district’s infrastructure: Arts education in a school district needs a sound infrastructure and can be measured by these 5 indicators: 1) an arts education policy adopted by the school board 2) a plan for arts education 3) 5 percent of the general budget to implement the plan 4) a district level arts coordinator to oversee, implement, and evaluate the plan 5) a student to art teacher ratio no higher than 400 to 1.

Advocate for these five things. Use these indicators as goals. Measure progress by these goals. Thanks to Arts for All, for their extensive, research-based, ground-breaking work on this front, and for shaping how I think about supporting arts education.

How do the Boston-area school districts measure up? The Arts for All website offers some great research and conversation models that could be applied here.

What items on the list resonated with you?