Summer greetings from the Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and thank you for your interest in the Arts and Education Initiative (AEI).
EPLC is engaging members of the arts and the education communities across Pennsylvania with the launch of a multi-year project that is determining how to best use state- and local-level public policies to strengthen support for the arts and enhance access to high-quality arts educational experiences for students in schools and the general public.
Many of us active in arts communities know that encounters with visual art, music, theatre, and dance can be deeply impactful and personally transformative. Immersing ourselves in the creative process grants us clearer understanding of ourselves, others, and the world around us. Our own experiences, and those we have witnessed, reveal that art and education are synonymous.
In order to create a society where the arts flourish--both their production and their enthusiastic reception--it is crucial to integrate the arts into the widest possible array of educational environments in Pennsylvania. It is our responsibility to work with each other, with our policymakers, and with the general public, to ensure that all citizens have the opportunity and the desire to learn, in and through the arts.
This moment is ripe for our action. Transitions in government, growing research on the value of the arts, advancements in technology and information sharing, and widespread focus on the need to strengthen our public education system, together set our stage.
Through the organization of the AEI Advisory Committee and Study Group, a series of regional planning meetings and Regional Community Forums, the Fall Symposium, and the coordination of a subsequent state-wide advocacy campaign, EPLC offers a framework for the creation and implementation of AEI's Vision for arts education: Pennsylvania citizens and public policy support the arts in schools and communities and the learning opportunities they afford to people of all ages.
Please share this news with all who may be stakeholders in the Initiative. We welcome your feedback and hope to work with you closely in the months ahead.
Director, Arts and Education Initiative
AEI and EPLC News
AEI Study Group Meetings
May 19 was the second meeting of the 33-member Study Group in Harrisburg. With the assistance of facilitator Marilyn Coleman and some special visiting guests, the Group refined its Arts and Education Vision Statement, which reflects an ideal Pennsylvania environment to nurture the arts and arts education and is assisting with the process of focusing the AEI policy study. After a lively discussion panel of K-12 Pennsylvania school leaders about the arts, the Group heard from four out-of-state leaders, including Sandra Ruppert from the Arts Education Partnership in D.C., Karen Wells from Arts North Carolina, Marcia McCafferty of the New Hampshire Department of Education, and Dan Hunter of Hunter Higgs in Boston. Rich ideas were collected about how state-level policy can creatively impact 21st-century learning opportunities and strengthen participation in the arts. The Study Group will next convene via conference call in mid-July.
AEI Regional Community Forums
EPLC has completed the first two in the 2011 series of Regional Community Forums, which are designed to raise awareness about AEI across the Commonwealth, gather the experiences and insights of Initiative stakeholders, shape the Vision for effective public policy, and connect arts and education professionals in communities. On May 25, the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art in Altoona welcomed AEI for a fruitful discussion, refreshments, and inspiring vsiual art exhibitions. On May 15 at the Capital Area Intermediate Unit in Enola, AEI led a brisk and well-articulated dialogue on the arts and arts education in Central Pennsylvania. AEI Director Jordie Crosby was pleased to participate, too, recently, in equally-rich roundtable discussions on the state of arts education hosted by the Coatesville Community Education Foundation and the Perry County Council of the Arts.
AEI Fall Symposium: Save the Date!
Please plan on joining AEI and guests from around Pennsylvania and nationally in the Harrisburg area on Thursday, October 13, 2011. EPLC is hosting the day-long Arts and Education Symposium to bring together artists, educators, administrators, policymakers, and thought-leaders to explore the key issues of the 2012 Arts and Education Policy Report. Hear from inspiring speakers and participate in breakout sessions to help shape the future of the arts and education in Pennsylvania.
AEI Fall 2011 Internship Available
EPLC is recruiting for a current undergraduate or graduate student to serve as a part-time intern during the fall semester beginning in early September in the downtown Harrisburg offices. The internship will support the culminating events of year one of AEI, and the preparations for the public policy advocacy campaign of 2012. Ideal candidates have a demonstrable background in the arts and education, strong skills in research, writing, and speaking, as well as a commitment to grassroots advocacy organizing. The internship is unpaid, but free parking is available. Weekly hours of the internship are negotiable and may fluctuate due to special events. To apply or to suggest a candidate, please email AEI Director Jordie Crosby for further information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
State Policy News
2011-2012 State Budget
Final action on the 2011-2012 Pennsylvania State Budget is imminent. Funding for school districts is expected to be cut significantly, although not as much as originally proposed by Governor Corbett. Funding for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA)--originally slated for a small decrease in Corbett's proposal--was unexpectedly cut in the House-approved budget by approximately 70%. In the final budget to be approved by June 30, it is expected that much of this suggested cut will be restored, bringing PCA funding closer to the original level suggested by the Governor. EPLC will provide a special report on the State Budget shortly after final action is taken by the Legislature and the Governor.
Capitol Arts Press Conference in Harrisburg
Senator Larry Farnese of PA's 1st Senatorial District, in association with the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, held a news conference on June 7 protesting the House's passage of a budget that would slash funding to the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Cultural leaders were joined by Representatives Tony Peyton and Vanessa Lowry Brown, along with Senators John Blake, Jay Costa, Vincent Hughes, Shirley Kitchen, Daylin Leach, Mike Stack, and Anthony Williams. Education, jobs, quality of life issues, and economic impact were key areas of discussion.
Governor's Appointments to the Arts Council
Governor Tom Corbett has appointed First Lady Susan Corbett to Chair the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA). He has also appointed William Lehr, CEO of Capital Blue Cross, who is a member of the AEI Advisory Committee. The complete list of new appointments is as follows: Laura E. Ellsworth (Sewickley); Jeffrey W. Gabel (Gettysburg); Gayle Isa (Philadelphia); William Lehr, Jr. (Palmyra); Jen Holman Zaborney (Harrisburg); Richard J. Allan (Camp Hill); John A. Barbour (Mars); Karen Dougherty Buchholz (Flourtown); William V. Lewis, Jr. (Pittston); Frederick C. Powell (Mechanicsburg); Robert E. Ames (Coaldale). Congratulations to Mrs. Corbett and the new Council members.
Arts in Communities
Representative Daniel Deasy, Jr. introduced House Bill 611 in February proposing the establishment of a Cultural Development District Program for communities with arts and cultural centers that benefit the public. The individuals and businesses that reside and operate in designated Cultural Districts would receive state tax exemptions. The bill was referred to the House Urban Affairs Committee and no further action has been taken.
Senate Resolution 54 was introduced on March 7 by Senator Daylin Leach, was referred to the Senate Committee on Community, Education and Recreational Development, and no further action has been taken. The Resolution directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a study of Pennsylvania museums and an evaluation of their state-supported funding mechanisms. The results, including recommendations, would be due to Senate members no more than 90 days after adoption of the Resolution.
House Resolution 207, introduced on April 11 by Representative Matt Smith, also proposes a study of PA museums by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, but the language is different from SR54. Furthermore, HR207 indicates the study must be completed by July 1, 2011. The Resolution was referred to the House Appropriations Committee and no further action has been taken.
March became "Music in Our Schools Month" in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on March 5, after the House unanimously passed House Resolution 204. HR204 was introduced by Representative Eddie Day Pashinki.
Arts and Education News
President's Committee on the Arts & Humanities
An 18-month national study on the current opportunities and challenges facing the education of school students in the arts culminated this May in a report: Re-investing in Arts Education: Winning America's Future Through Creative Schools. In addition to articulating the strong case for linking arts education to student success in academia, behavior, and workforce preparedness, the report features five specific recommendations to the field and to policymakers, including: increased collaboration across various approaches to arts education; development of the field of arts integration; expansion of the role of teaching artists in schools; reinforcement of arts programming in K-12 education; widening the focus of evidence gathering about arts education.
Arts in Education Week Features AEP Forum
Last year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a Resolution designating the second week in September as National Arts in Education Week, so be sure to use September 11-17, this year, to showcase your work and advocate for the arts and education. Join the Arts Education Partnership (AEP) in San Francisco for the 2011 National Fall Forum on September 15 and 16: Transforming Urban School Systems Through the Arts. The deadline for registration is July 1.
PAEA Conference in Gettysburg, October 20-23
The Pennsylvania Art Education Association will host its annual conference at the Wyndham Gettysburg this fall. The theme of this year's gathering, Dedicated, was inspired by Abraham Lincoln's frequent use of the term in the Gettysburg Address of 1863. Session proposals may be submitted through the end of June.
Related Items of Note
Tom Corbett's Arts and Culture Statement
In this moment of anticipation about Pennsylvania's plans for the arts and education, it behooves us to reflect on Governor Corbett's campaign statement on the arts and cultural heritage, which explained his plans for steering activity in these fields during the months leading up to his election.
The KeyArts Wiki
Are you interested in connecting with Pennsylvania arts educators and finding tools and tips related to the field? KeyArts is an online space designed for the free exchange of ideas by members of the arts education community. Join this wiki, read, share, and create your own content.