Posts Tagged ‘advocacy’


Letter to Editor

January 24, 2017

Communicating about the Arts

Nancy Harris Frohlich is a retired educator who moved to Maine and settled in the mid-coast. She started LEAPS of IMAGINATION to provide more art making opportunities for elementary students. The LEAPS philosophy: We believe that all children are imaginative thinkers, and that if we give them the opportunity to use their imaginations in school by making art, they will thrive.

screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-6-23-12-amLEAPS of IMAGINATION brings local Maine mentor artists together with elementary school students and teachers in a collaborative school-day classroom program. Mentor artists interweave in-depth art making experiences with carefully chosen social justice and literature themes linked to the class curriculum. Our project empowers children to believe in their own capacity to create and to make change in both their local community and the larger world.

I receive emails with these type of questions: “How do I convince people that more funding is needed for art supplies?” and “I want to start an elementary chorus, how do I go about that?” and do I communicate to my administration that we need to increase time for small group lessons?” and “Field trips have been cut from the budget, how can I get my students to an art museum?”

In the fall Nancy wrote a letter to the editor of a local newspaper during arts week. It’s a great example of advocating to educate. This needs to take place at many levels; school-base with administration and teachers of other content and grade levels, district-wide, community/regionally, and beyond. I’ve always believed that our first responsibility is to teach students, and in addition, adults. Since adults are almost always the ones who make the decisions they need to be informed about why the arts are essential.

As you prepare budgets for next year what will you communicate about the needs for a comprehensive arts education? With Youth Art Month and Music in Our Schools Month just around the corner, how will you use the opportunity to communicate and educate your community? I urge you to begin planning your action steps.

Below is Nancy’s letter to the editor. Even though she uses the word “art”, it certainly can apply to music, dance, theater and media arts. Nancy can be reached at A great big thanks to Nancy for the work she continues to do!

Art Makes Kids Smart

Another academic year has begun, and every year invites new opportunities for teaching and learning. As educators, our work is about designing a more powerful and relevant curriculum in a world in which sea change is the norm. Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind and Drive, reminds us that, “The future no longer belongs to people who can reason with computer-like logic, speed, and precision. It belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind.”  We can teach our children to learn differently. Through art.

Art is a vehicle through which children learn to connect their ideas, to be persistent when problems arise, and to work collaboratively with their peers – all skills critical for the future.  Art teaches children to use their imaginations, to bring an idea to fruition, and to believe in themselves – not just in the studio but in the classroom, where kids can apply the skills they learn in art to all academic domains.

Art has a long-standing tradition in schools, and it’s time we start changing the way we think about it, because we now know that art changes minds.

  • Here’s what art can do for children today:
    Art can build thinking mindsets. Art teaches kids to find connections, make inferences, analyze, and pull their ideas together into a new and inventive whole.
  • Art cultivates student passions, motivating them to think big.
    Art immerses kids in real-world challenges.  When kids are focused on critical issues in today’s world, art gives them an avenue through which to articulate their perspectives.
  • Art teaches children to collaborate. Shared projects and shared thinking open up opportunities for critical skills like negotiation and consensus building.
  • Art invites presentations, critique, and feedback. When kids bring their work to an audience they learn to articulate their ideas and listen to what others have to say about them.
  • Art develops risk taking behaviors in a safe and creative context. If children are going to play a positive role in their world, they have to know what it feels like to bounce back from mistakes and disappointment and to take the risk to think big for everyone’s future.

Arts Advocacy Day

December 1, 2016

Get Your Students Involved in Advocacy Day 2017!

Arts students became arts advocates at last year’s Arts Education Advocacy Day.  The Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) and its community arts organization partners around the state invited arts teachers to send their screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-2-28-16-pmmost enthusiastic students to meet one-on-one with their elected representatives at the Statehouse. Close to 200 students came, representing every arts discipline and over half of the senate and house districts. The legislators were delighted to meet with the students and in some cases brought them right into their offices and Senate and House chambers.

And meeting their legislators was only the beginning. At a dance workshop and performances downstairs in the Hall of Flags the students had an opportunity to meet each other and celebrate the arts together.

screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-2-30-17-pmThe statewide expression of arts education support was also reflected by the exhibit tables in the Hall of Flags, which were organized county by county. Deb Bickford’s Westbrook High School art team provided identifying signs.

At Advocacy Day 2017 on Wednesday, March 8th, we will not only welcome the students again; this year a committee of students from around the state will be helping to plan the day’s activities. We already have some new ideas to help students meet each other, and to make the day even more exciting. The program will begin at 9:30 a.m. and end by 1:00 p.m. Lunch is provided. We’ll be looking for two student advocates (of any age) from each state legislative district (note: that’s legislative, not school district). We hope you as arts educators can help us recruit those students and offer them that opportunity. And if you can come too, so much the better!

screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-2-30-03-pmTo get involved and find out more, contact Susan Potters, MAAE director, at For a full report and more photos of last spring’s Advocacy Day, visit MAAE’s website,
 At Advocacy Day 2017 on Wednesday, March 8th, we will not only welcome the students again; this year a committee of students from around the state will be helping to plan the day’s activities.  We already have some new ideas to help students meet each other, and to make the day even more exciting.

Thanks to Susan Potters for providing the information for this blog post.


National Arts in Education Week

September 4, 2016

What you can do

Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 6.12.15 AMJoin Americans for the Arts in celebrating National Arts In Education Week from September 11-17, 2016. Take two minutes to issue a Letter to the Editor to your local papers and tell them why the arts matter in education!

Designated by Congress in 2010, House Resolution 275 names the week beginning with the second Sunday in September as National Arts in Education Week. During this week, the field of arts education and its supporters join together in communities across the country to tell the story of the transformative power of the arts in education.

In 2016, it is a particularly important time to celebrate arts education, as we usher in a new chapter of American educational policy with the new Every Student Succeeds Act and its many arts-friendly provisions. In the new law, the arts remain a “well-rounded” subject and are empowered to be central to a child’s education in our public schools.

Our municipal, education, and state leaders need to know about the impact the arts have on young peoples’ lives and that they must support the arts in every district and every school in America. Write a letter to the editor now to tell them how and why the arts matter in education!

After sending in your letter, you can join the movement of thousands of arts education advocates celebrating National Arts in Education Week. Contribute to the visibility campaign on social media during the week of September 11-17, 2016 by using the hashtag, #BecauseOfArtsEd. People from all walks of life can share their story of the transformative power of the arts in their own education and the impact the arts have had on their work and life.
Post on Facebook. Tell the world your #BecauseOfArtsEd story on Facebook. Describe what you are doing now in work and life and how arts education has a positive impact with a photo! Be sure to use #ArtsEdWeek, too.
Send a tweet.  Share your quick #BecauseOfArtsEd story on Twitter. Be sure to include an image or video along with #ArtsEdWeek.
Share a photo. Post your favorite arts education photo on Instagram along with your #BecauseOfArtsEd story about the impact of arts education on your life. Be sure to use #ArtsEdWeek.
Be sure to do your part to advocate to our decision makers and bring attention to the cause of arts education!


National Arts in Education Week

August 21, 2016

Save the dates

Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 6.12.15 AMCelebrate this year’s National Arts in Education Week! September 11–17, 2016

Designated by Congress in 2010, the third week in September is a national celebration of the transformative power of the arts in education. Over the course of September 11–17, celebrate arts education in events across the country; advocate to federal, state, and local decision-makers; and participate in visibility campaigns on social media using #ArtsEdWeek. Americans for the Arts will also host a series of professional development opportunities on ArtsU. For more information, contact Arts Education Program Manager Jeff Poulin at


Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 6.14.57 AMThe arts are a part of our lives every day, but we take all 31 days in October to commemorate the arts in a big way! National Arts & Humanities Month is the largest annual celebration of the arts and humanities in the United States. October may seem far away, but it’s never too early to start planning the celebration in your community. Our website offers resources and tools to establish a Do-It-Yourself Community Visioning Forum, host a Creative Conversation, or partner with a local arts venue on an open house or a special performance. Follow NAHM on Facebook for the latest updates on the national celebration, including a special social media challenge coming October 1, and to share your ideas and events with our followers.


Arts Education Advocacy Day

March 23, 2016

Join the excitement in Augusta – tomorrow!

Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) has planned a wonderful day in Augusta at the State House for Arts Education Advocacy Day. Thanks to Executive Director, Susan Potters, MAAE for the preparation work. Students will be meeting with legislators, SLAM from MSAD #33 will be interviewing Commissioner of Education William Beardsley, Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader Andrea Wollstadt will be leading the Biddeford Intermediate School Chorus in a performance. Maine Arts Commission Executive Director Julie Richard will speak and Jeff Poulin, Arts Education Program Manager from Americans for the Arts will join us and much much more! I hope to see you there!

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 7.52.26 AM Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 7.52.39 AM


National Arts in Education Week

September 13, 2015


Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 8.52.00 AMBelow are suggestions, from Americans for the Arts, on how to celebrate National Arts in Education Week and resources to help you do do.

Information on Website and Resources
Launched in March 2015, a website containing downloadable resources has been made available for those interested in celebrating, advocating and participating in National Arts In Education Week.  A share domain ( and logo have been created to unify the field in celebration. Containing action-oriented materials, the site asks supporters to take three actions:
·         Celebrate: Host or attend an event in your community to celebrate the week (and be sure to include it on ArtsMeet National Event Calendar). Download the logo (above) to be used on any materials, fliers or public awareness campaigns.
·         Advocate: Use the latest tools to bring attention to the cause of arts education in your community or state. Download resolutions for your school, city or state elected officials to voice their own support of arts education.
·         Participate: Get online and use the hashtag #ArtsEdWeek. Show a picture of student artwork or a performance with #EncourageCreativity or tell a story about an arts educator who made a difference with #TeachTheArts. Also, use the new Encourage Creativity. Teach the Arts. video campaign to bring awareness to the cause.

The Arts Education Navigator
The newest tool from Americans for the Arts launching on 9/14/15! Do you believe in the transformative power of arts education? The Arts Education Navigator will help you turn your passion into action.  Follow this six step process to better understand your role in the arts education ecosystem, the policies which affect your state, the current trends in the field and how to best take action. With over 300 contributors and 75 partner organizations, find the tools and tips you need to take action immediately! (Note: this link goes live on 9/14/15)

Blog Salon September 14–18: Reauthorizing ESEA
Read from 20 of the top experts from the field on the impacts of the current reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). As the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate go into Conference Committee, this is your chance to understand the inner workings on this law and its impact on arts education. Learn more on ARTSblog.

“Arts Education: What You Need to Know” Webinar Series
Every year there are new buzzwords which affect our work. Each day during the week of September 14–18, we will gather thought leaders to unpack these terms, where they came from, and their impact on our day to day work in arts education. These daily webinars will be held at 3:00 p.m. (EST) and last approximately 20 minutes. To continue the conversation, join Jeff Poulin (@JeffMPoulin) and special guests for a Twitter chat from 8:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. (EST) by following the specified hashtag. You can either view them live or throughout the week.

The topics include:

  • Monday, September 14, 3:00pm ET: Arts Integration
    Including presentations from Amy Duma (John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), Janet Starke, (Richmond Center Stage) and Lauren Hess (Cincinnati Public Schools). Register here. Follow the conversation at #ArtsIntegration
  • Tuesday, September 15, 2015, 3:00pm ET: Creative Youth Development
    Including presentations from Heather Ikemire (National Guild for Community Arts Education), Traci Slater-Rigaud (President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities), Erik Holmgren (Massachusetts Cultural Council) and Denise Montgomery (CultureThrive). Register here.  Follow the conversation at #CYD
  • Wednesday, September 16, 2015, 3:00pm ET: STEAM
    Including presentations from Kate McClanahan (Americans for the Arts), Lucinda Presley (The Innovation Collaborative) and Andrew Watson (Alexandria City Public Schools). Register here. Follow the conversation at #STEAM
  • Thursday, September 17, 2015, 3:00pm ET: Arts Education Standards
    Including presentations from Pam Paulson (Perpich Center for Arts Education), David Dik (Young Audiences Arts For Learning) and Jim Palmarini (Educational Theatre Association).  Register here. Follow the conversation at #Standards
  • Friday, September 18, 2015, 3:00pm ET: Creative Aging
    Including presentations from Gay Hanna and Evan Sanderson (National Center for Creative Aging) and Robert Schultz (City of Mesa, AZ Arts and Culture).  Register here. Follow the conversation at #CreativeAging
    Be sure to register for the webinars to receive the direct link, pre-reading materials, and details for the follow up Twitter chat!

Join the National #ArtsEdChat on Twitter
Join Americans for the Arts’ Arts Education Program Coordinator, Jeff M. Poulin (@JeffMPoulin) and special guests for a Twitter chat from 8:00–9:00pm ET by following the specified hashtag. The Schedule is as follows.
Monday, September 14, 8:00-9:00pm ET: Arts Integration (#ArtsIntegration)
Tuesday, September 15, 2015, 8:00-9:00pm ET: Creative Youth Development (#CYD)
Wednesday, September 16, 2015, 8:00-9:00pm ET: STEAM (#STEAM)
Thursday, September 17, 2015, 8:00-9:00pm ET: Arts Education Standards (#Standards)
Follow @Americans4Arts and #ArtsEdWeek for more updates.


Rock Stars!

September 1, 2015

Great stuff happening with Arts educators and Arts education!

Photo on 8-25-15 at 2.44 PM

Sue Barre’s colleagues on the first workshop day: Strings Teacher Ciara Hargrove, Digital Arts Teacher and MALI Teacher Leader and Leadership Team member Suzanne Goulet, Strings Teacher Sam Lyons, and art teacher Dave Matteson

Everyday I hear about the focus and commitment that Maine Arts Educators have about teaching and to their students. The following all happened on the same day. YES, these made my day – I am so proud of the work that Arts educators do for the sake of their PK-12 students! These teachers are all making a difference and carry the sign ROCK STAR! in my book!

  • Sue Barre sent this early one morning… “In the opening school assembly today the Superintendent told everyone to look to the music document for guidance… kinda cool!” CONGRATULATIONS to Sue who teaches music in Waterville Schools and is a Teacher Leader with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI). In addition, Waterville High School VPA teachers (seen in the photo to the right) established this goal: “We made a VPA goal to have all students in our Waterville High School VPA classes do at least one reflective writing assignment and then share those at a faculty meeting this year.”  Awesome work team!
  • jen - Version 2Jen Nash was on WERU morning show called Arts Alive and was a ROCK STAR! Jen was articulate and represented arts educators across the state…. Jen teaches music at Sebasticook Middle School and is an MALI Teacher Leader.
  • Theresa Cerceo is a MALI Teacher Leader who teaches K-12 Visual Art in Dr. Levesque Elementary School, Wisdom Middle/High School, MSAD 33 (all the way up in the County). Her Logic Model plan for her work as a Teacher Leader this year, involves advocacy work with students. In her own words: “I started working with my students today on advocacy work. I had K – 12 come up with possible blog titles and the high school art club created the, “Student Leaders in the Arts Movement” or S.L.A.M.!  We will have a meeting at the start of every art club meeting (once a week).  We had a great talk about the importance of messaging why the arts are essential. They had a lot of great ideas and really took ownership of the project. We have a board going for all the different activities we will work on. They are excited!” (There will be more information about this in the near future. Theresa is piloting this idea and will gladly share more with you about this in the months to come!)
Students (l to r): Daley Pedersen, grade 11 Elizabeth Raymond, Grade 12, Adam Weyneth, Grade 12, Jasmine DeMoranville, Grade 11, Sarah Harris, Grade 12, Dorothy Harris, Grade 10, Cassandra Boucher, Grade 10, Celine "Ce Ce" Young, grade 12

Students (l to r): Daley Pedersen, grade 11, Elizabeth Raymond, Grade 12, Adam Weyneth, Grade 12, Jasmine DeMoranville, Grade 11, Sarah Harris, Grade 12, Dorothy Harris, Grade 10, Cassandra Boucher, Grade 10, Celine “Ce Ce” Young, grade 12

  • Joshua Bosse is the PK-12 Music Teacher in Madawaska and a new Phase 5 MALI Teacher Leader and put this message on the MALI community wiki: “I would like to take the time to just say that I appreciate what each and every one of you have been doing for MALI and for your school districts. With school already starting for me, I can say that I have already seen a dramatic change in my teaching (for the better). I feel that MALI has done great things for me, and I am more excited than ever to be teaching students what I love most! Again, thank you so much for all that you have done, and I hope you all have a wonderful school year, and that all of your workshops go well! I saw a lot of great plans! I will definitely be keeping in touch throughout the school year, and I am so overjoyed about being able to be part of this wonderful organization!”

When you find yourself asking yourself the hard questions about your chosen career field, know that you are not alone! I suggest that you “get off your island” and attend a MALI event to connect with spirited Teacher Leaders. And, join us at the fall biennial arts conference, Arts Education: The Measure of Success, October 9, Point Lookout Conference Center. Information and registration (early-bird through September 9) is located at MALI resources located at

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