ACTION ALERT: Support Arts, Culture, & Creative Economy in Culver City!

ACTION ALERT: Support Arts, Culture, & Creative Economy in Culver City!

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 9:18am

Photo: Culver City SealCulver City is home to a vibrant and diverse arts and culture community dedicated to enriching the lives of all Culver City residents.  The City previously supported its arts and culture sector through the work of a dedicated Department of Cultural Affairs.  However, this department was dismantled in May 2012 when funding from the Community Redevelopment Agency was lost.

Spring 2014 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Culver City City Council

Spring 2014 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Culver City City Council

Candidate order: Jeffrey Cooper, Jim Clarke, Christopher Patrick King, Gary Abrams

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Charlie Jensen at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

Question 1: What was the most meaningful arts and cultural experience you had growing up?

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Question 2: What do you believe the role of City Council should be in the development and support of the region's cultural infrastructure?

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Question 3: How would you champion modifications to, or expansion of, the city's current funding stream for local arts and culture?

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Question 4: What three things would you do to deepen the city's investment in its creative economy (cultural tourism, indirect and direct jobs, nonprofit and for profit)?

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Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Survey Results

Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Survey Results

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 3:53pm

Photo: Candidate Survey LogoArts for LA surveyed 177 candidates in 31 school board elections this fall as part of our semiannual Arts & Culture Candidate Survey program.

Arts for LA Releases School Board Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys

Arts for LA Releases School Board Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys

Fri, 10/11/2013 - 10:03am

Photo: ArtsVoteLAWith an estimated $5.3 billion in educational funding set to invigorate California’s schools due to Proposition 30, school board leaders will be tasked with setting the priorities and direction for their schools’ future.  To help spark dialogue around arts and education issues, Arts for LA has distributed Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to every eligible candidate for election in 33 school district races throughout Lo

Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Culver City Unified School District

Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Culver City Unified School District

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Arts for LA at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

The California Alliance for Arts Education and LA2050 served as Regional Partners by promoting Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys throughout Los Angeles County.

Elections for Culver City Unified School District will be held on Tuesday, November 5.

3 seats are available in this election. Elections are at large; voters may vote for any of the eligible candidates in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

If a candidate has not yet responded, please click on the candidate's name below to invite the candidate via email to participate.

Candidate order: Steven Mark Levin, Kathy Paspalis, Susanne Robins, Karlo Silbiger, Vernon L. Taylor, Claudia Vizcarra, Robert Zirgulis

Question 1: Tell us about a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music) while growing up?

I vividly remember learning about the city of Guernica in Spain, and the massacre that happened there, by coming across a print of Picasso's famous painting of the same name. Because the painting made an emotional connection, I learned about the history with a deeper understanding and a sense of meaning that I would have missed if I had simply read about it in a textbook.

Growing up, I participated in music and theater programs. I had flute and piano lessons; flute through my public school and piano through private lessons, and I also sang in various choirs throughout my public education years. I participated in theater in elementary school, and also in high school. I carry those experiences and fond memories with me today.

I would like to share two. First, I studied ballet, tap and jazz for over ten years as a child and through that experience learned the value of physical expression of emotion to myself as well as others. I also learned much about cooperation and teamwork. My second meaningful experience was learning to sew. I used sewing as a creative outlet for many years and saw it as a creative means of solving problems (repairs, creating something unique but functional), expressing my own style and being independent.

I first picked up a musical instrument at age 2 and began taking lessons at age 3. Because music was cut in the Culver City Elementary Schools when I was in 3rd grade, my first real experience with group music instruction was at Culver City Middle School. My band teacher saw that I had natural musical ability, so he asked me to play in the marching band at football games and in the high school musical when I was just in 6th grade. I gained confidence in my ability and it ended up leading to a college degree in music education and a career teaching music.

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I loved music class in kindergarten. I loved singing with the rest of children, as our teacher played the piano. In later years, I kept trying to get that feeling back. Every year I tried out for the choir. And every year, I failed. Then, after years of frustrating piano classes, I starting concluding, that sadly, I didn’t have a ‘good ear’. Then in 5th grade I won the school wide contest for music appreciation, after recognizing the first few notes of “Morning’ by Edvard Grieg. Together, these experiences form the basis for my commitment to full access to arts education.

I took an Art History course in UCLA and was inspired to travel around the world to see great works of art I had seen pictures of. I learned to appreciate the works and communication the artists from all those periods were trying to convey.

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Question 2: What role do you think creativity can play in supporting key priorities of the district, such as reducing the dropout rate, closing the achievement gap, and preparing more students for college eligibility and/or meaningful careers?

When students are engaged, they are more successful, and when they are successful, they are more engaged. When a student succeeds in art, and feels empowered, that carries over to greater success in other areas. Similarly, when art is incorporated into the classroom, it engages the students and broadens their perspective.

Creativity and the arts keep kids’ minds engaged and attentive. Therefore the creative arts are a critical component in supporting CCUSD’s key priorities, including but not limited to preparing all our student for their world after high school, closing the achievement, and reducing the dropout rate. It’s about keeping kids engaged, and we strive to do that in CCUSD as an original Arts for All District.

Creativity allows students who are having difficulty connecting with the content find their own path to understanding, connecting and relevance. I found as a teacher, that by allowing students to pursue and present their understandings in their own way, they were considerably more engaged, had a greater depth of understanding and were more able to make connections to other content areas or pre-existing knowledge. When students are more engaged, can see the relevance to the content from their own unique perspective, they learn more and perform better academically.

Our superintendent likes to call it a "plus." Music, art, dance, athletics, drama, film, all provide students with a reason to come to school. It prepares students for the types of skills that they will need to be successful in college and the workforce, and it helps us to build a generation of creative thoughtful people who will support the arts and culture for years to come.

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Research has been conclusive in showing that students, especially low income students, who have a history of in depth arts involvement earn better grades and demonstrate higher rates of college enrollment. The evidence also shows that sequential standards based education increases test scores in every subject area, lower drop out rates and closes achievement gaps for students from low income families and for students of color. Additionally, access to arts education can prepare students for jobs in the creative economy that prevail in the Los Angeles region. Supporting investments to strengthen our arts program will be my priority if elected.

I think we need to have more field trips to art museums and expose children to the arts an early age so they can understand what they are seeing.

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Question 3: Your district has embarked on an initiative to restore meaningful sequential arts education into its core curriculum. What do you feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the plan?

We are making good progress at bringing the arts into our schools. As leader of the booster club at Farragut, I helped raise money for art and music in the classroom, and for the artist in residence at Farragut, whose contract is funded by the booster club. CCUSD has done a lot at the district level, for example with Symphonic Jazz Orchestra, but there is much more we could do. When incorporated into the classroom (such as the Drama Education Network program, which teaches language arts and other subjects through drama), we can combine art with other subjects, enriching both.

The strengths of the plan are its longevity, the commitment of the District to it, and the results we see in the children who actively participate in the programs connected with it. The weaknesses are, as with almost everything in this weak economy (and especially at the height of the recession just a few years ago), funding and sufficient staffing.

Just as one needs to learn the strokes to learn to swim and one needs to learn to write letters to write paragraphs, students need to learn the basics of arts skills to effectively utilize them in expressing their understandings and emotions. Sequential arts education is important just as sequential core content area education in terms of being able to produce and appreciate various art forms. The only weakness is the potential of treating art as a separate content area from other subjects, it should be an integral part of all learning. This is because its an extremely effective means of differentiating learning in the classroom.

It allows us to better connect the arts with the rest of the curriculum and introduce teachers in a variety of subject-matters to the power of teaching with the arts in their classrooms. However, it is an optional training / program, so while some teachers are incorporating it into their daily lesson planning, others are not. The arts can never be an extra, they must be an essential part of the curriculum.

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The existing plan, and policy, both created in 2004, are a good start. The investments the District has made lately, especially as a result of the funding that Measure EE, the Education Foundation, the Music Center and the Centre Theatre Group, and our local partners such as Sony - have also been significant. Still and all, it’s unclear to me whether there has been adequate data collection to determine if the programming is reaching all students, what the gaps might be, and what kind of investments are necessary to address them.

The district needs to do more work.

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Question 4: How can your district make your arts education plan and its progress on the plan more visible to parents and leaders in your community?

As in many other areas, CCUSD needs to reach out to the community more. Rather than waiting for people to come to us with ideas and offers to volunteer, we need to go out in the community and ask people how they would like to help. That should include public workshops on art education, the benefits and challenges, and an open discussion of what we're doing and what we could be doing.

Publicity and 'marketing' efforts, via Culver Currents online and in print, the CCUSD website, and other outlets in the Culver City community help spread the word regarding the arts in CCUSD. Communication via students to parents, friends and neighbors helps as well. Inviting the community, and/or having music performances and art installations, etc. accessible and in public spaces can help make the arts education plan and its progress more visible as well.

First would be to post the full arts education plan on the district website for all to see. Second would be to offer arts education forums at the schools to provide information and receive feedback from the community. Second, each school should have a means of showing the community the arts education products from that school which could be in the form of school art shows, highly visible exhibit areas with monthly themes and family arts nights. Finally, an annual arts education report which would be both printed and online would allow families to learn about what has been done, what is in the works and how they might participate.

Include it in board action. During my 4 years on the board, we have only addressed the arts 3 times. First to cut our music program by 25% (where I was the only board member to vote against it). Second to pass a district-wide k-12 music curriculum (at my insistence). And third, to bring back a music teacher as part of an expanded program and vision that I spearheaded with the superintendent. However, if we want the entire plan to gain more exposure, then the board has to highlight it on a more regular basis. We need to take action, setting policy that promotes the arts.

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I'd like to see a district wide, but centralized Back to School, or Open House, to showcase our arts education programs. I feel that not only would such an event familiarize parents and community members with the many benefits of arts education, but it would create the space for showing progress, not only in the various delivery models, but in the increased access to all student populations. Such an event, could also showcase our other creative endeavors: language and science programs. And it would be a lot of fun!

We need to communicate with the parents and get their support for the arts programs.

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Question 5: In light of the new funding structure for school districts in the state (i.e. the Local Control Funding Formula), how do you see arts education aligning with the eight new priority areas?

The eight priority areas (achievement, engagement, school climate, basic services, common core standards, course access, parental involvement, other student outcomes) are inextricably intertwined. Improvement in any one of these areas affects the others. Art can be a wonderful way to improve engagement and achievement, promote a positive climate of learning, and engage parents and the larger community. The key is to make it an integral part of the school culture, not a separate, isolated activity.

I do not think that the Local Control Funding Formula changes our focus and priorities in CCUSD. We are student centered, and 'whole child' focused. Providing kids with hands-on access and exposure to the creative arts is key to a well-rounded education and a well-rounded person. That means that we will continue to integrate the arts into our classrooms from K-12, and work to continue to bolster our programs that are independent of arts integration efforts, as best we can with the funding provided to us.

The LCFF will benefit CCUSD in that a little more funding for our target populations will be available. Arts education offers an excellent set of media for working with the targeted youth populations by providing alternative means of self expression and a humanistic approach to helping those who struggle. I recommend using the additional funds for professional development for a selection of Culver City teachers to learn a variety of means of integrating arts into core content education which they would bring back and share with the other teachers. I would also like to add art/music and dance therapy to our offerings for students in the target populations.

In our district, the LCFF will provide us with more funding to educate those populations in need of more support. It will also provide the board with some flexibility in how we spend our money. Both are positive developments that should help us to better prioritize money to our arts programs.

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Arts education fits right into at least 5 of the 8 priorities defined by the Local Control Funding Formula guidelines. As mentioned earlier, there is ample proof of improved student achievement, student engagement and school climate. A robust arts education program is essential for the development of 21st century skills: critical thinking, collaboration skills, and creativity, that are central to Common Core Standards. Arts education is also key for parental involvement, because arts projects remove many of the barriers that often impede parents from participating, such as language. And as importantly, it allows for the expression of culture for immigrant families.

Without arts you have no soul.

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Spring 2012 Candidate Surveys in Long Beach, Culver City

Spring 2012 Candidate Surveys in Long Beach, Culver City

Thu, 03/01/2012 (All day)
Advocacy Team (if applicable): 

VoteArts for LA is surveying candidates for Long Beach City Council, Culver City City Council and Long Beach Unified School District prior to the April 10th, 2012 local elections.  All candidates have been contacted and encouraged to complete a brief survey.  Results will be posted at ArtsforLA.org/spring-2012-candidate-surveys as they are submitted.  Candidate

Spring 2012 Candidate Surveys: Culver City City Council

Click here to return to the Spring 2012 Survey main page.City of Culver City Seal

Click a name below to view responses from candidates running for City Council in Culver City.

Dissolved CRAs' Effect on the Arts

Dissolved CRAs' Effect on the Arts

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:00pm

Clock Tower Chimes400 Community redevelopment agencies (C.R.A.s) across California closed their doors on February 1st and 73 were located within the county of Los Angeles

Report-Out: Culver City Cultural Affairs Town Hall

Report-Out: Culver City Cultural Affairs Town Hall

Wed, 01/11/2012 (All day)

Jen Mulder of Vox FeminaCollaboration and partnership was the theme at the annual Culver City Cultural Affairs Town Hall, held at City Hall on January 10th, 2012.  The Cultural Affairs Commission invited members of the public to provide public comment and updates about Culver City cultural organizations.  Over 20 community members spoke, encouraging their Commissioners to continue to support Culver City's rich cultural resources and sha

Case Study: Front & Center in Culver City

Advocacy Team (if applicable): 

Juana Esquivel, Journalism Intern with Arts for LA

  

 

      

Juana Esquivel writes about how collaboration between schools and nonprofit organizations brings arts education to students in Culver City and Santa Monica-Malibu.