by Tom Jacobs, Senior Staff Writer of Pacific Standard
A new study identifies a uniquely effective way to impart this foundational knowledge: immersion in the arts.
It reports low-income children who attended a Head Start program experienced a more robust rise in readiness if their program included daily music, dance, and visual arts classes.
The results "support the broad educational value of the arts," writes a research team led by psychologist Eleanor Brown of West Chester University. "Our findings indicate that the arts may hold value not only for art's sake, but also for advancing children's overall school readiness."
by Carla Javier, Arts Education Reporter KPCC
More arts education is being offered to more students than previously assumed – 89.6 percent of elementary schools–and 92.7 percent of secondary schools–offer at least some arts instruction during the school day to students.
That's according to the Los Angeles County Arts Commission's arts education arm's recently-released county-wide survey of schools and districts' arts education offerings.
The findings were surprising to many advocates, given a common perception that the arts are often the first to go when schools have limited funds.
"We now know with the data that is not the case," said Denise Grande, head of the LA County Arts Ed Collective. "If every parent or every stakeholder looks at what's happening in their neighborhood school, they can walk in from a place of strength and say, 'There are lots of other schools in our district that are doing this well. Let's look at those schools for examples of how that work can happen for my children in my school.'"
While the study didn't look into causes for the unexpectedly high number of arts education offerings, Grande said she thinks efforts by schools and districts to increase their arts offerings likely played a part.
"Some districts cut the arts. Many others did not," Grande explained. "And in the middle of that is this idea that over the past five years many districts have been working hard to increase what [arts instruction] was already in place."
Another possible explanation, according to Grande: increases in funding.
"We know that as more money has been flowing into the school system since Proposition 30 [a ballot measure that sent money to public schools]," Grande said. "Districts are continuing to look for ways to increase arts education."
While the survey demonstrated a surprisingly high level of arts instruction happening in LA County schools, there's still work to do.
The Los Angeles County Arts Commission releases findings from a 18-month survey of arts education in K-12 public schools. The Arts Ed Profile was administered to all 2,277 schools across LA County, including 81 districts, four charter school networks as well as a few individual charter schools.
California law requires schools to offer arts instruction from first to 12th grade. But, in practice, not all students are getting equitable access to arts education.
So the Los Angeles County Arts Education Collective is trying a new approach: forming an Arts Ed Innovation Lab, and working with stakeholders to create prototypes – small but scalable projects that creatively increase access to arts education for more, and ideally all, students.
"We launched the Arts Education Innovation Lab with this idea of really rethinking, 'What is it going to take to really get us to scale in arts education so that arts education doesn't continue to just be for some kids in some classrooms in some schools in some parts of the county," Los Angeles County Arts Commission director of arts education Denise Grande told the group of over 40 gathered for the Innovation Lab's Boot Camp.
The over 15 prototypes supported by the Arts Ed Innovation Lab center on five main "pillars":
- The Arts are Essential
- The Arts are Core in Public Education
- Providing a Conduit for Advancing Teaching & Learning
- Expanding Education Boundaries to Increase Self-Initiated Arts Learning
- Creative, Collaborative Communities
One prototype aims to create a mobile graffiti yard for budding street artists.
Another, called "El VAPA Access," would focus on middle school students by "redefining the designated EL class" – or English learners – "to be VAPA-driven" – meaning, motivated by the visual and performing arts.
"We take the VAPA teacher at the middle school and have them provide the designated EL class," Orange County Department of Education VAPA coordinator Steve Venz explained to the group.
Some of the prototypes even include ideas from outside of the arts and education worlds. For example, "Virtual Reality Arts Ed to Experience Self as Artist" aims to use VR technology to bring students places where they couldn't go physically, like "performing onstage with the ancient Greeks" or "painting in Picasso’s studio."
"Arts Playground" would provide creative spaces and supplies in places like public parks, borrowing from the model of public swimming pools.
Kaz Matamura came to prototype boot camp with her program, called "Speak Up Now!" She wants to teach students public speaking skills, and sometimes she uses theater games to do it. She says she went to boot camp because she wanted to find people who could help her bring her program to more students, and to learn from their expertise.
"To me, it's like being in a creative candy store," she explained. "So, I'm just taking a lot of recipes."
October is National Arts & Humanities Month (NAHM) - a coast-to-coast collective recognition of the importance of culture in America. NAHM was launched by Americans for the Arts 30 years ago as National Arts Week in honor of the twentieth anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1993, it was reestablished by Americans for the Arts and national partners as a month-long celebration, with goals of:
FOCUSING on the arts at local, state, and national levels;
ENCOURAGING individuals and organizations to participate in the arts;
ALLOWING governments and businesses to show their support of the arts; and
RAISING public awareness about the role the arts and humanities play in our communities and lives.
Find out more and access resources here.
The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) will receive the Arts & Sciences Cities of Distinction Award from the Phi Beta Kappa Society in recognition of the quality, depth, range, and vibrancy of its community engagement with the arts and sciences.
"Los Angeles is the creative capital of the world, so culture isn't an afterthought for us - it's part of who we are, and it's essential to the health and happiness of our people," said Mayor Eric Garcetti. "Art has the extraordinary power to transform perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors, especially when it lives in places that are accessible to everyone."
As the nation's most prestigious academic honor society, Phi Beta Kappa is best known for inducting outstanding undergraduate students across the nation. It launched the Arts & Sciences Cities of Distinction Award in 2016 to spotlight cities or metropolitan regions for their exceptional artistic vitality, cultural vibrancy, and scientific engagement. Previous recipients of this award include the cities of Chicago, Portland, Oregon, and Atlanta.
Arts for LA is hosting its first ever Youth Arts Leadership Workshop on Saturday, October 14th (10am - 4pm) at The Broad Stage Administrative Offices. This program is designed for young leaders interested in advocating for the arts in their schools and communities.
The Youth Arts Leadership Workshop offers young leaders between the ages of 12-18 years old the opportunity to enhance their advocacy skills through youth-led workshops focusing on Personal Leadership, Advocacy 101 & Best Practices, Marketing Strategies and Student Engagement.
If you know of any youth leaders who may be interested in this workshop, please make sure to RSVP today due to limited availability of space. Travel stipends (for youth participants who are interested in attending the workshop) are available upon request by calling (213) 225-7526 or emailing email@example.com.
With the LA County elections a mere month away, Arts for LA is currently conducting our Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys, which promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and cultural policy with candidates and residents.
If you live in any of the school districts or cities below, we need your help contacting candidates to encourage them to submit their survey responses. We provide a script and a list of candidates and their contact information. Phone calls can be made from home or the Arts for LA offices, depending upon availability. If you're available, please contact Program Manager Abril Iniguez-Rivas at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (213) 225-7580 as soon as possible. Volunteer callers are needed from Monday, October 10 - Friday, October 20.
For the November 7 ballot, Arts for LA is surveying 85 candidates in the following elections:
School Board Elections:
- ABC Unified School District (Trustee Areas 3 and 6)
- Compton Unified School District
- El Monte Union High School District
- Hughes Elizabeth Lake Union School District
- La Canada Unified School District
- Rosemead School District
- Whittier City School District
- Whittier Union High School District
- Hermosa Beach
- La Habra Heights
- Rancho Palos Verdes
- San Marino
- South El Monte
On November 2, 2017, the LA Convergence will bring together leaders, organizations, community members and artists at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Downtown Los Angeles. The theme for the 2017 LA Convergence is Expanding our R.E.A.C.H. In a year during which many communities are experiencing unprecedented challenges and discrimination, how do we expand our efforts to ignite grassroots and large scale change in our communities? Melina Abdullah, PHD will be the keynote speaker, sharing her vast expertise, perspective and solution based ideas to the forum.
As a catalyst for cross-sector conversations and collaboration, the 2017 LA Convergence will build upon the R.E.A.C.H. an acronym (Revitalize, Educate, Activate, Connect and Heal) in order to spark solution-based conversations focused on the expansion beyond ourselves in order to advocate for collaborative change within our communities.
If you would like to volunteer with us for LA Convergence, please complete the Volunteer Registration Form here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CNVRG17volunteer or contact Abril Iñiguez-Rivas at email@example.com.
We are grateful to the Boeing Company for sponsoring this year's LA Convergence.
If you have questions about ticketing, please contact Karen Louis at firstname.lastname@example.org
Navigating the Political Landscape
Webinar 3 for Data-driven Arts Advocacy
Navigating the Political Landscape features Arts for LA's Executive Director Sofia Klatzker, facilitating a conversation with California State Senator Ben Allen.
You can find a link to the Webinar HERE.