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March 2012




Notes from the Executive Director

Louise Kennelly

Louise Kennelly


Raising Awareness and Support for Arts Education


"Arts in education saves lives," rang out one of the first volunteers to give her three-minute advocate speech at the recent Arts Education Advocacy 101 session held at the National Museum of Women in the Arts this week.


Member organizations and their supporters honed their skills in making the case for investing in arts and humanities learning. At a time when many arts education programs are struggling to raise resources, too many policy makers and decision makers outside our field are not aware of the value of arts and humanities education.


 "The positive impact of arts education on young people is significant yet there continues to be a lack of committed resources. We need to advocate, broaden support and raise awareness," said Dorothy McSweeny, Chair of the MidAtlantic Arts Foundation, who shared remarks on the history of arts education advocacy in the US and DC over the last few decades.


"Legislators and budget makers need to know the impact of art education, especially for children who come from low-income house-holds,"  said Maureen Dwyer, Executive Director of Sitar Arts Center, who shared images and stories about the transformative power of arts education she witnesses each day.



"Arts are fundamental to a child's learning," shared Charlotte Cameron Marshall, on the Board of Directors of the Washington Performing Arts Society, adding that there is a need for easy-to-use messages and information. She posed the question "How can advocacy for arts education be more accessible?" and outlined some Three-minute Advocate steps that a cultural organization's supporters, such as Women's Committee members, can readily take. Suggested action steps included using social media to spread the word, signing up for newsletters such as AFTA's Arts Action Fund bulletins, and signing petitions that call for support for arts education.


Kristen Engrebretsen of the Americans for the Arts facilitated the workshop "Building Blocks for Arts Education Advocacy: Learn, Practice, Act" wherein groups worked on their messages and shared them with the larger group. Gladstone Peyton, Director of Federal Policy at AFTA, outlined activities for Arts Advocacy Day on the Hill April 16 and 17.

The workshop was a wonderful way to celebrate Arts Education Month (also known as Youth Art Month, Music in Our Schools Month, and Theatre in Our Schools Month). 




Member Spotlight  





Step Afrika!


Step Afrika is the first professional company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping. Founded in December 1994, the company is critically acclaimed for its efforts to promote an understanding of and appreciation for stepping and the dance tradition's use as an educational tool for young people worldwide. Step Afrika reaches tens of thousands of Americans each year and has performed on many stages in North & South America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean.


Based in Washington, DC, the company has been featured on CNN, BET, PBS & NPR as well as numerous books, documentaries and articles that seek to explore the tradition of stepping. Step Afrika serves as a cultural ambassador for the United States, representing the nation at events around the world through special invitations from American embassies. Its signature event, the annual Step Afrika International Cultural Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa, is the fruit of a ten-year collaboration with the Soweto Dance Theatre that unites artists from around the world in dialogue and dance performance.


 For more information click here!

DC collaborative events


Join the DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative for a

Patriotic Arts FÍte


at Lincoln

1110 Vermont Avenue, NW (Vermont and L Street)

Washington, DC 20005


on April 25, 2012

from 6:30 to 9:00pm


Enjoy a night celebrating arts education with music, wine and Lincoln's signature hors d'oeuvres. The DC Collaborative is committed to providing all DC public and charter public school students with equal access to the region's rich artistic and cultural opportunities. Working with our members, we provide free arts and humanities events for 30,000 DC students at no cost to schools each year.



Music soundscapes by DJ Jahsonic

Live student performances

Guest Raffle with Gift Certificates, Fine Art, Wine and Travel Excursions


Purchase ticket at


or at


$25 in advance ($30 at the door)

Includes 1 raffle ticket, 2 beverages, and passed hors d'oeuvres




 DCPS Arts Planning Meeting

DCPS Arts Planning Initiative

The DCPS Central Arts Team is currently in the initial phase of creating a sustainable arts plan for DCPS and they held the first in a series of meetings this week.

Developing an arts plan will involve researching those already in place in other states such as  Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City and Washington State. A district-wide arts plan will not only lead to higher student achievement, but open the door to new sources of funding and strengthen partnerships as well.

The meeting was held by the Arts Team Monday, March 26 at DCPS Central Offices and included individuals from community organizations representing all of the artistic disciplines; community leaders; teachers; school administrators; parents and business people.

The next step in the planning process will be to conduct a SWOT analysis with DCPS principals and community partners in order to gain a clear picture of the current resources, opportunities, and challenges that will help inform a district-wide arts education policy.


Focus group meetings for all DC Collaborative members will be arranged in May in order to ensure opportunities for involvement and input. "We are eager to make this an inclusive process with concrete outcomes," said Sara Madera, arts and music specialist in the DCPS Office of Family and Public Engagement.


Upcoming Member Event 


 Past is Prologue

Presented by the Corcoran Gallery of Art

Saturday, April 12, 2012 9:00am-12:30pm

Explore selected historical works from the Corcoran gallery's permanent collection. Discuss common themes spanning historical periods, generations, social movements and artistic disciplines. Learn how the issues and themes presented in these works may be used to make interdisciplinary curricular connections and engage students in making their own comparisons.


Contact us for more information! 



Job Opening 


Teaching Artists 


Capitol Hill Arts Workshop is always on the lookout for vibrant and innovative teaching artsists for its varied curriculum of arts classes.  If you have any questions or would like to submit a resume and class proposal, please contact Amy Moore, Director of Education and Programs, by emailing amy@chaw.org or calling (202) 547-6839. 

Donate Now! 

Provide the Keys to Wonder

Make the DC Collaborative a part of your giving plan this year!  Help us bring quality arts and humanities education to all DC public and chartered public schools. Your donation can provide tickets and transportation through the Arts for Every Student program, support teacher registration fees for Professional Development workshops, or provide  for support for arts-integrated work with schools as part of the Arts Education Initiative.



About the DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative:
More than 70 members strong, the DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative (DC Collaborative) provides equitable access to quality arts and humanities education for all DC public and chartered public schools for the growth of the whole child. Working with its partners, since its founding in 1998, the DC Collaborative produces such exemplary programs as Arts for Every Student and the Arts Education Initiative.

For more information on the DC Arts and Humanities 

Education Collaborative, Please visit our website.

If you would like to include something in our next 
member e-news, please email us!
DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative
1835 14th Street, NW 
Washington, DC 20009
p. (202) 204-7750
f.  (202) 204-7803