Moving Right Along…

For our next act, we’ve got an exciting program planned for October, National Arts and Humanities Month. It’s a collaborative effort and we hope to attract broad spectrum of the community …

Pittsboro, NC—NHS Arts Education Foundation, ChathamArts, and the NHS Arts Education department are partnering with Americans for the Arts to host an Emerging Leader Creative Conversation in Pittsboro on Tuesday, October 5, 2010. Creative Conversations bring together local emerging arts leaders and community members to discuss issues regarding the arts in their communities. Creative Conversations are part of National Arts and Humanities Month programs coordinated by Americans for the Arts. The event is free and open to the public. To attend, register online at http://bit.ly/bh5BnP

The local Creative Conversation features an interactive discussion with special guests EbzB Productions’ Serena Ebhardt & David zum Brunnen. Teachers, parents, students and artists are invited to learn about Arts Integration—What it is, how it works, and how it benefits students and teachers in multiple disciplines. Recognized in the North Carolina Arts Council Touring Artist Directory and in the South Carolina Arts Commission AIE Roster of Approved Artists, EbzB artists have been trained by The Lincoln Center Institute and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to teach Arts in Education Workshops.

Creative Conversations are free and open to the public. Last year, more than 1,500 emerging arts leaders participated in 43 locally hosted Creative Conversations held throughout the country. An interactive Google map is available online at http://artsactionfund.org/events/creative_conversations detailing where Creative Conversations are taking place. Visit the website after October to read summary reports of the events and learn what next steps to take in your community.

National Arts and Humanities Month is coordinated by Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. The month-long celebration has become the largest annual celebration of the arts and humanities in the nation. With 50 years of service, Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. More information about Americans for the Arts, Creative Conversations, and National Arts and Humanities Month is available atwww.AmericansForTheArts.org.

EbzB Productions, Inc. develops original, touring, theatrical productions to promote integrity, self-discovery and positive transformation of individuals, artists, audiences, and communities. They believe that the performing arts encourages positive transformation through discoveries unveiled immediately and upon reflection. EbzB artists are dedicated to the promotion of dramatic art as a valuable educational tool. They are trained by The John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts “Artists as Educators:  Planning Effective Workshops”, and The Lincoln Center Institute’s International Educator Program. EbzB Is also endorsed by the North Carolina Arts Council’s Touring Artists Directory. In addition to performances, EbzB Productions, Inc. is available for student workshops, residencies, and professional development seminars.  EbzB Productions – Your World Is Our Stage!   www.EbzB.org.

ChathamArts, the Chatham County Arts Council, is a not for profit organization that supports and presents the arts and artists in our community. They encourage community participation in the arts to enrich the quality of life of the county’s residents. ChathamArts fosters arts awareness and education, and encourages the use of arts as a tool for economic development. www.Chathamarts.org

The Northwood High School Arts Education Foundation (NHSAEF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit, all-volunteer organization, is a community initiative dedicated to ensuring excellence in arts education by identfying, creating, and supporting programs that enrich learning, foster student achievement, and increase community involvement. Visit NHSAEF at www.NHSAEF.org

Celebrating Arts in Ed in My Neighborhood

Along with many, I’ve been celebrating the first National Arts in Education Week. As with any new project, there are a lot of details and more ideas than can be accomplished in a short amount of time. But here are some of the things that have gotten checked off my list.

  1. On Monday, we published NorthwoodArts 2009–2010: Celebrating a Gala Year. This is our annual report highlighting activities and accomplishments of the NHS arts education students and faculty. This accompanies a short video slide show of highlights we completed earlier in the summer.  We presented copies to the Chatham County Superintendent and School Board on Monday evening and posted the online version on our website.
  2. NHSAEF participated in Northwood’s annual Open House. Our local mayor issued a proclamation in conjunction with the national celebration and named it also Pittsboro Arts in Education Week. We shared the proclamation, the annual report, a calendar of upcoming events, met new students & parents, signed up new members and added folks to our listserv.
  3. [I spent Wednesday night as an arts student myself along with Duke students and community members, trying to master Creole for a Haitian anthem the Duke Chapel Choir has scheduled for Sunday.]
  4. On Thursday got some pix of the great banners NHS art students created for the school. Got copies of the annual report in the mail to our representatives in the State Legislature. Participated in a webinar by Americans for the Arts on their upcoming Creative Conversations in October before our ChathamArts Board Meeting.  NHSAEF will be a part of in this exciting initiative. Along with ChathamArts and the NHS arts department, we’re hosting a Creative Conversation at Northwood High School. Our friends from EbzB Productions, Serena Ebhardt and David zum Brunnen will lead an interactive discussion for teachers, students, artists, and community members on Arts Integration—What it is, how it works, and how it benefits students and teachers in all disciplines. In addition to being consummate  professional theatre performers, they have been trained by The Lincoln Center Institute and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to teach AIE Workshops. It’s going to be an exciting beginning to National Arts & Humanities Month.
  5. I’ve tweeted and re-tweeted, posted to Facebook, sent emails, worn my Arts Create Jobs button courtesy of Arts NC.
  6. I’m off the ballgame to see our Marching Chargers perform Amusements. Their first competition is next weekend at Pinecrest Band Fest.
  7. Marching Charger BandOh, and I’ll be collecting your recyclables (laptops, old cell phones, digital cameras, ink jet cartridges, hand held games, etc) at the game for our Arts Ed Fundraiser

Chatham Conversations

Even before I heard Barbara Shepherd of the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education speak last March at North Carolina’s  NC: The State of the Arts Conference, I’ve been eager for our community to undertake their Community Audit for Arts Education. [I know, you’ve heard me saying this for two years!] It’s a great assessment tool to examine strengths and needs. Most importantly, it incorporates information not only from a school system, but from all those that have a stake in, or provide, arts education activities—arts organizations, community arts leaders, local artists, families, afterschool programs, summer camps, child care providers, recreation departments, civic and business community members, etc. One of the comments Ms. Shepherd made in Raleigh was that, even in bad economic climates, it can be possible for people to come together for discussions. Civic and business members may not have money to contribute, but they can contribute time.

NAHM_2007_logoEvery October Americans for the Arts celebrates National Arts and Humanities Month. One of the activities they promote is called Creative Conversations. Here’s how their website describes them:  “Creative Conversations are local gatherings of emerging leaders in communities across the country and are part of a grassroots movement to elevate the profile of arts in America during National Arts & Humanities Month every October. Started in 2004, some of these local convenings have grown into cohesive, organized emerging leader networks. This local tool empowers emerging leaders to take a leadership role in their own community by both designing programming and galvanizing their peers to connect professionally.”

Doesn’t that sound like the perfect opportunity for us in Chatham County?  Our school system covers such a large geographic area that many involved in arts education rarely see each other and may never have met. When resources are limited, collaboration can be a valuable strategy to make real progress, plan for the future, and provide the best arts education opportunities for our students.

Take a look at the Community Audit along with feedback from other communities that have used this tool.

What do you think?  Are you interested? Who would you invite?

Let’s have a conversation!

[To join another conversation of sorts, check out next week’s Americans for the  Arts ArtsBlog which will be devoted to Arts Education with two dozen national arts education experts contributing.]