Arts Now Communities

Arts Now Communities receive leadership development, strategic assistance and communications tools from the California Alliance to support coalition building, strategic planning and arts education advocacy. Now in over thirty California communities, these coalitions convene business partners, community, arts and parent organizations to stand together for quality, accessible arts education for all students. Below are the most recent blogs from our local coalitions.

  • Webinar: Introduction to Arts Now Communities (formerly the Local Advocacy Network). Slides.

Coalition Blog

 

Murrieta Valley Unified Joins Arts Now Communities

Murrieta Valley Unified School District joins the Alliance's Arts Now Communities program, a statewide network of districts and counties working to increase access to arts education in local public schools. This month, Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington, Murrieta Valley Unified School District (MVUSD) Superintendent Patrick Kelley, and Miyamoto Music Studio Director Susan Miyamoto hosted a group of 50 parents, teachers, school leaders, arts organizations and local businesses to launch the new effort. Carol Hernandez, MVUSD's Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Coordinator, presented on the amazing arts programs currently underway and invited attendees to participate in the district's upcoming strategic arts planning process, which aims to ensure that all students in the district have access to the arts.

The Arts Now Communities program offers coaching and training, communications tools and field-tested strategies for advancing arts education in California schools. Start a coalition.

Bringing Arts into the Lives of All Students: Burton School District Strategic Planning Success Story

The Challenge: How to bring equitable access to arts education to a rural school district

The Strategy: Use a strategic arts plan to provide a framework for arts education throughout the district and community

The Story: Teacher Mentor Hector Marquez is highly motivated, and he has been promoting the arts within the Burton School District for some time.  But he realized that in order to provide equity and access to the arts for all students, he was going to need a team, and a plan!

With the support of the California Alliance for Arts Education’s Arts Planning Initiative, Hector gathered a team of district and community members in October of 2016 to make arts education history in a small school district in the Central Valley of California.

Bringing Arts Masterpieces to Life for All Students: A Pasadena Strategic Planning Success Story

Guest author: Peggy Burt, Senior Advisor, Arts Planning Initiative

The Challenge: How to create a greater impact in arts education by connecting to your local arts organizations and city 

The Strategy: Use a strategic arts plan to provide a framework for arts education throughout your district and city

The Story: How many times have you driven by a piece of public art or a local museum without taking the time to stop and really see the work? 

Pasadena is a special place - rich with arts and creativity. But we asked ourselves, “How do we share these riches with the school district? 

In 2003, the Pasadena Unified School District began a strategic planning process to strengthen arts education district-wide.  The team came together to create a comprehensive arts plan to provide dance, music, theatre and visual arts education to all students, K-12 within the school day.  In partnership with the Los Angeles County Arts Commission: Arts for All and the California Alliance for Arts Education, the district received a coach and planning assistance. As the comprehensive arts plan moved into implementation, the team asked “How can we create an authentic connection between the school district, our city, and our arts organizations in support of arts education?”

Expanding Arts Education Advocacy in Santa Barbara

 

The Challenge: How to expand arts education advocacy efforts in your district and beyond

 

The Strategy: Host a countywide event to build visibility and leverage new support

 

The Story: Established in May of 2014, the Santa Barbara County Alliance for Arts Education (SBCAAE) hit the ground running. Just days after launching, they went before the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) board to advocate for a Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Director position – and succeeded! Building on that accomplishment, SBCAAE wanted to increase their presence and continue the conversation of arts advocacy around their county. Their goals were to engage key community stakeholders countywide, recruit new members to their arts education advocacy efforts, and keep people engaged by participating in a subcommittee.

The Power of a Wish List

The Challenge: How to hold your district accountable for what's in the LCAP


The Strategy: Keep a wish list, and keep talking about it!


The Story: As a longtime PTA parent and local organizer for the California Alliance's Local Advocacy Network, Courtney Fielder was educated about California's new funding law and took an active role in her school district's Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) meetings. But she had something else too: a wish list.

 

Building and Engaging a Strong Leadership Team in Amador County

The Challenge: How to build a countywide effort to increase arts education  

The Strategy: Build a strong leadership team composed of cross sector partners (and keep them engaged)

The Story: The small county of Amador sits among the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. When the Amador Alliance for Arts Education launched, one of their challenges was bridging the county's geography to build a coordinated effort across county schools.
 
"We needed a strong leadership team that gathered leaders from several key stakeholder groups to create a unified effort that bridged the county's hilly geography," says Terra Forgette, Executive Director of AmadorArts and the lead for the Amador Alliance.

From Assessment to Arts Plan in Napa County

At this year’s Local Advocacy Retreat, local organizer Robin Hampton presented a breakout session featuring a case study of a countywide assessment of arts offerings, done by the Napa County Alliance for Arts Education - a local coalition made up of the Arts Council Napa Valley, the Napa County Office of Education, and over 50 Napa County educators, arts organizations, nonprofits, and community leaders.

The group’s extensive 360 Degree Assessment of arts education in Napa County aimed to identify the current landscape in relation to arts education assets the county already had, and also what it needed. 

Anaheim: Arts Education & Student Success Go Hand in Hand

This week, Anaheim Unified High School was chosen as a Gold Ribbon School for demonstrating exemplary achievements in implementing California’s academic content standards and, the district also received recognition for having an “Exemplary Program in Arts Education, Career Technical Education, or Physical Activity and Nutrition.” According to Shanin Zeimer, a parent, PTA member and local organizer for our Local Advocacy Network, the district has a strong commitment to the visual and performing arts that goes hand in hand with overall student success.

Numerous research studies suggest a correlation between access to high quality arts education and student success. Student involvement in the arts is linked to higher academic performance, increased standardized test scores, greater involvement in community service and lower dropout rates.[i]

So how can community members work to build a high quality arts program in their district? Shanin Zeimer and Pat Wayne, Field Manager for the Local Advocacy Network and Program Director for CREATE CA offered the following suggestions:

Mission Possible: Napa County Alliance for Arts Education

The Challenge: To launch a countywide advocacy effort with multiple partners and stakeholders who have diverse goals and little to no bandwidth to ‘start something new’

The Strategy: Define your terms: Know your mission; educate your stakeholders about what advocacy is… and isn’t.

Your District Superintendent: A Key Ally for Arts Education

"Your district superintendent is the person who knows and understands what's happening on a day to day basis in each school in the district. He or she is responsible for implementing programs.[…] [and] oftentimes their voice is the one the SB hears the loudest or that carries the most weight.”

In this month’s blog from our Local Advocacy Network, advocates from the San Luis Obispo Alliance for Arts Education explain how and why they worked with the district superintendent in Paso Robles in this brief video blog

 

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