Making a Difference in Arts Education: ACTIVATE Advocacy Leadership Initiative

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 5:00pm

By Amy Sauceda

Arts for LA launched its first session of ACTIVATE Advocacy Leadership Program on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 welcoming forty participants from all over Los Angeles County. 

An opening session on Qualities of a Quality Arts Education provided a new way to analyze what a quality arts education looks like. Speakers Talia Gibas, Manager at Arts for All and Megan Kirkpatrick, Senior Manager at Arts for All, engaged the attendees with the idea of evaluating education through different viewpoints introducing Project Zero’s report, The Qualities of Quality Understanding Excellence in Arts Education by the Harvard School of Education. To begin, Participants were asked to close their eyes and imagine an arts class full of students, resources, activities, and all the elements that contribute to a successful arts education. 

"One of the more memorable activities in the workshop was the guided imagery exercise where we all got to flex our imagination and manifest our ideal learning environment.  It was striking to discover that many other people envision the same exact ideal in beautifully different ways.  The magic I saw happening on a stage, was manifested on a canvas for one of the other participants, illustrating that our target may be different but our aim is the same," said ACTIVATE participant, Guillermo Aviles- Rodriguez. "The activities and presentation on Project Zero were extremely informative.” 

The activity illustrated the technique from Project Zero, The Qualities of Quality Understanding Excellence in Arts Education of approaching arts education through a variety of methods implementing the quality of education seen from the lens of student learning and community dynamics.  

The combinations of distinctive ideas incited ACTIVATE participants to consider advocacy projects that can address different arts education lenses and angles. Participants represent a varied geographical area of Los Angeles County ranging from the districts of Burbank, Centinela Valley, Claremont, Compton, East Whittier, El Rancho, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Rosemead, Manhattan Beach, Wiseburn, and Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). 

“It is so exciting to be around such an intelligent and motivated group of educators. I love that we share the same passions and can exchange ideas and experiences,” said ACTIVATE participant, Elisa Romero. “I have so much more to learn and I feel grateful to have this opportunity!”

ACTIVATE Advocacy Leadership Program kicked off with a thought provoking session on the quality of arts education creating a space where participants can continue to thrive to make a difference in education in the Los Angeles County. The next session will include an Educational Policy and Decision-Making workshop where participants will learn about regional, statewide, and national education trends. Following that session participants will understand data and mapping and finally learn how to take leadership and action after the final seminar. 

For more information on ACTIVATE, please visit: