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. For more information contact us here

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

Coalition Blog

 

Using Facebook to Promote Arts Education in Los Alamitos

The Challenge: How to connect with parents and other allies and build support for K-12 arts education in local schools. 

The Strategy: Donna Chinn created a Facebook page that pooled information about arts education events in Los Alamitos from various sites and schools, providing parents with one place to find out about all arts events in the district. 

The Story: “I didn’t really know how Facebook worked,” says Donna Chinn, local organizer for the Los Alamitos Alliance for Arts Education, ”When I started I was trying to find or invent a way to connect with parents and other people who might be interested in local arts. Eventually, I discovered that I could set up a page for the arts alliance as an organization.  Luckily, my daughter was able to help me with my many newbie questions.”

While she didn’t have experience with social media, Donna started with clear objectives and a sound strategy: 

Alliance Launches 5 Local Coalitions through Arts Council Partnership

As a result of a new partnership with the California Arts Council, this fall local arts councils in Amador, Fresno, Mendocino, Placer and Santa Cruz joined the Alliance’s Local Advocacy Network.

The program empowers local communities to keep arts programs in schools by providing the strategic assistance, leadership development and communication tools. Since its launch four years ago, the network has helped local advocates build strong relationships with their local school boards, participate in the creation of a district arts plan and earn media coverage and broad support for arts education.

The five local councils support from bring a wealth of experience and a strong commitment to this work. Each one hosts a breakfast event for community leaders to gather and unify local support for arts education. Read about the recent launch in Amador County. 

I was shopping at Costco when I saw a school board member right there in my path.


From Costco to the Curriculum Advisory Committee – Elevator Speeches that Work

By Cathy Dagostino-Hamilton, Local Organizer for the Escondido Alliance for Arts Education

The Challenge: How do you build relationships with school board members in your community? 

Strategy: A little bit of nerve and a well-prepared elevator speech

Story: When I started working with the Alliance’s Local Advocacy Network I was a concerned, resourceful mom with a strong belief in the value of the arts. I had seen first hand how they had helped my daughter connect and learn at school and read research that backed up my experience. But I didn’t have relationships with local school board members who made the funding decisions about arts programs – how could I get my message across? 

Get to know your school board members

You may find they or one of them may live in your own neighborhood. That happens to be the case for me and once I realized that, I began to notice her around our local area, walking, shopping, and at community events. Don’t be a stalker! I do not follow her around! I just take opportunities as they are presented. As it happened, I didn’t have to wait long. I was shopping at Costco when I saw a school board member right there in my path.

Advocates in Fresno Give Fundraising a Good Name

The Challenge: Finding a concrete way to get business leaders involved in arts education advocacy.

The Strategy: Ask them to sponsor a wall to display student artwork in a community gallery. 

The Story: When Elva Rodriguez launched an arts education advocacy group in Central Unified Fresno, she already had good, solid relationships with local businesses. She had been involved with the Rotary club as well as the school district. But, she wondered how she could create a tangible way for businesses to support arts education in the community. 

Her team came up with a concrete idea. They asked the Rotary Club to sponsor and name a wall in one of the galleries at Arte Américas, a community cultural center. The wall will be devoted to displaying student artwork. 

Eight OC School Districts Receive Grants to Fund Arts Plans

The Orange County Arts Education Collaborative Fund—a collaboration between the Orange County Community Foundation and Arts Orange County—recently presented grants totaling $66,000 to 8 Orange County (OC) School Districts. Grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 were made possible by funding from The Boeing Company and the Orange County Community Foundation.

News from the Local Advocacy Network: Placentia Yorba Linda

The Challenge: How do you garner support for a far-reaching arts plan in tough financial times? 

The Strategy: Partnership and patience. But not too much patience. 
 
The Story: Adopting a district arts plan is a great way to build community support for a long-term commitment to arts education in schools. But given the state of public school funding in California, it’s understandable that district officials would be cautious about agreeing to a plan with long-term financial implications. 
 
Sandee Van Oyen, the Local Organizer for the Placentia Yorba Linda Alliance for Arts Education, who spearheaded the effort says she was lucky to find strong commitment to the arts in the school board, district staff and County Department of Education -- and patience. 
 
“Without the support and partnership of staff within the district office we could not have pulled this off,” says Van Oyen “It took months and months of meetings and carefully going over the details of the Arts Advantage plan so that everyone could understand and become comfortable with the fiscal impact. A lot of patience was required on everyone’s part.”
 

Local Advocacy in Stanislaus: Getting Parents Involved

The Challenge: How do you connect with parents across a large, rural county with twenty-three separate school districts?

The Strategy: Invite parents to an event featuring resources for advocacy and a free night of theater.

The Story: When the Stanislaus Alliance for Arts Education launched last fall, it was clear that parents were key to preserving or expanding arts education in Stanislaus schools.

“We saw right away that the districts that had arts programs were the ones where parents were involved -- through booster clubs, PTAs or education foundations,” says Patty Larrick, the local organizer for the Stanislaus Alliance. “Our challenge was to bring all these different groups together, in order to share best practices and coordinate efforts.” 

Riverside Unified School District embraces Community Partnerships!

Guest author: Peggy Burt, Arts Now Program Director

The Challenge: How to engage and gather input from the community for school district arts planning

The Strategy: An invitation to a meeting at the Mayor’s office!

The Story: On a lovely day in Riverside, August 15, 2017, a passionate group of arts education providers and supporters gathered in the Mayor’s Ceremonial Chamber at Riverside City Hall. As soon as you stepped into the room, you could feel the buzz of excitement! This was a moment of collaborative opportunity and an invitation to contribute to the work of enhancing and strengthening the arts in the Riverside Unified School District. Holding it at the Mayor’s office underlined the value placed on the community’s input.

Annemarie Guzy, Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, warmly welcomed the attendees. “This is a very momentous time for Riverside Unified.  With renewed support for the arts from our incredible Board, our school district is very excited to be building a future for the arts, and helping all of our students to reach their highest creative potential in drama, dance, visual arts, media arts, instrumental music and vocal music.”

Riverside Unified School District embraces Community Partnerships!

Guest author: Peggy Burt, Arts Now Program Director

The Challenge: How to engage and gather input from the community for school district arts planning

The Strategy: An invitation to a meeting at the Mayor’s office!

The Story: On a lovely day in Riverside, August 15, 2017, a passionate group of arts education providers and supporters gathered in the Mayor’s Ceremonial Chamber at Riverside City Hall. As soon as you stepped into the room, you could feel the buzz of excitement! This was a moment of collaborative opportunity and an invitation to contribute to the work of enhancing and strengthening the arts in the Riverside Unified School District. Holding it at the Mayor’s office underlined the value placed on the community’s input.

Annemarie Guzy, Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, warmly welcomed the attendees. “This is a very momentous time for Riverside Unified.  With renewed support for the arts from our incredible Board, our school district is very excited to be building a future for the arts, and helping all of our students to reach their highest creative potential in drama, dance, visual arts, media arts, instrumental music and vocal music.”

Riverside Unified School District embraces Community Partnerships!

Guest author: Peggy Burt, Arts Now Program Director

The Challenge: How to engage and gather input from the community for school district arts planning

The Strategy: An invitation to a meeting at the Mayor’s office!

The Story: On a lovely day in Riverside, August 15, 2017, a passionate group of arts education providers and supporters gathered in the Mayor’s Ceremonial Chamber at Riverside City Hall. As soon as you stepped into the room, you could feel the buzz of excitement! This was a moment of collaborative opportunity and an invitation to contribute to the work of enhancing and strengthening the arts in the Riverside Unified School District. Holding it at the Mayor’s office underlined the value placed on the community’s input.

Annemarie Guzy, Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, warmly welcomed the attendees. “This is a very momentous time for Riverside Unified. With renewed support for the arts from our incredible Board, our school district is very excited to be building a future for the arts, and helping all of our students to reach their highest creative potential in drama, dance, visual arts, media arts, instrumental music and vocal music.”

Pages