Arts Ed Advocates in Action

I have to admit, when we embarked on this process last fall it was hard to imagine that just a few months later, five teams in five school districts would be leading their own advocacy campaigns, and that so many individuals would be taking on leadership and figuring out how they can sustain their arts ed programs and their advocacy efforts into the future.

But that is what's happening.  Over the last few weeks, school districts across the state have begun releasing their proposed budget cuts, and unfortunately but not surprisingly, the arts are in danger.  The advocacy teams are moving fast to mobilize their communities to demonstrate their support for arts education, and to make the case that in our creative economy arts education is a way out of this fiscal crisis. 

The Santa Monica-Malibu Team has just launched a letter-writing campaign to encourage the SMMUSD School Board to maintain the elementary music program at its current level and to ensure them that they can count on the arts ed community to support the Parcel Tax measure in May.

In Culver City, the community mobilized to encourage the Board to preserve the Arts Consultant position in the 2010-11 budget.  At Tuesday's board meeting, after hearing public testimony from several arts ed advocates, the CCUSD Board unanimously voted to take the position off the proposed cut list.  You can thank the Board for their decision by clicking here.

The Burbank Team made a presentation to the BUSD School Board last week outlining a cost-benefit analysis of the Burbank Arts Coordinator position.  To date the Burbank board hasn't yet released their proposed cuts, so this presentation put us ahead of the curve.

In Paramount, the team has worked closely with the PUSD leadership to plan a pilot Arts Masters program this spring that will recruit parent volunteers to come into Kindergarten classrooms and work with teachers to teach standards-based visual art.

In Montebello, team members are crafting a thank-you campaign to the MUSD Board and District leadership for funding a new Kindergarten arts-integration program this spring despite the tough fiscal climate.

So much is happening, and the teams are taking it on with gusto.  In times like these, we need strong leadership, and it has been an inspiration to see how enthusiastically these advocates have taken to the notion of keeping things positive in light of the dismal climate we are faced with.

Keep an eye on the advocacy team pages for more updates and ways to take action.   Thanks to all the arts advocates out there who have been a part of our current efforts.  We will come out of this a stronger community.