Implementing a Strategic Arts Plan in Napa

Guest author: Robin Hampton, Local Advocacy Field Manager

The Challenge: How to keep a strategic arts plan from ending up in a drawer

The Strategy: Engage community and stakeholders through events and updates

The Story: The Arts Council Napa Valley (ACNV) Education Alliance was launched in 2013 to assess the state of arts education in Napa County. A countywide assessment by this public-private alliance resulted in the drafting of an Arts Education Master Plan, which presents a comprehensive framework for the development of TK-12 sequential, standards-based arts education curriculum for Napa Valley Unified School District (NVUSD). The NVUSD Board unanimously voted to adopt the NVUSD Arts Education Master Plan in June 2016.

The Plan follows best practices, amplifies existing programs and incorporates bold and innovative approaches to provide all students with arts education opportunities, such as:

  • Development of curriculum articulation for all students at all grade levels
  • Creation of culturally relevant syllabus
  • Class scheduling inclusive for all students
  • Optimization of the use of facilities community wide
  • Organization of community resources to comprehensively support arts educational opportunities

NVUSD has since hired a full-time Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Coordinator, Chuck Neidhoefer, and new curriculum and programs are being developed to fulfill the goals of the Arts Education Master Plan. 

But how can arts advocates keep this momentum going?

Earlier this year, Arts Council Napa Valley hosted its third annual Napa County State of the Arts Summit, where President & CEO Olivia Everett Dodd highlighted the accomplishments of the ACNV Education Alliance over the past year. The event brought together the educators, community members, and public and private entities who are collaborating to implement the comprehensive and sequential TK-12 arts education curriculum to celebrate their success to date and keep the process on track. 

Chuck shared progress in implementing the Arts Education Master Plan, including:

  • Creation of a new communication structure for the VAPA office and the unification of the district’s VAPA teachers to articulate curriculum, organize resources, and identify district-wide actions
  • New connections leveraged by Nimbus Arts and Napa Court & Community Schools to serve the most disadvantaged students
  • New workshops for teaching artists and nonprofits for designing education programs

The Summit also reflected and contributed to institutions becoming more knowledgeable and invested in systemic change and student-focused funding, and underlined the value of partnerships.

NVUSD’s Arts Education Master Plan is driving progress to support and expand sequential, standards-based TK-12 curriculum for all students in the disciplines of instrumental music, choral music, visual arts, theatre, dance and media arts. Instruction will be monitored by effective assessment and evaluations, and supported by relevant professional development opportunities.

Champions like Chuck and Olivia are critical in keeping momentum after the adoption of an arts plan to ensure progress in implementation. From the very first step, Olivia Everett Dodd has worked diligently toward equitable access to arts education in Napa. The implementation of the Arts Education Master Plan puts in motion exceptional opportunity for sustainable arts education for every TK-12 student in Napa Valley Unified School District.

Learn more about the Alliance’s Arts Planning Initiative.