The What and Why of Starting a Local Arts Education Advocacy Coalition

On December 3, Arts Council Napa Valley along with the Napa County Office of Education and the California Alliance for Arts Education hosted an early morning breakfast to garner support for arts education in Napa County schools. In response to the statewide changes in education focus, the California Alliance launched the Local Advocacy Network project, which supports local advocacy efforts in more than 30 California communities. 
 
Napa County Superintendent of Schools Barbara Nemko, along with the Principal Advisor to the State Superintendent of Schools Craig Cheslog, Napa Valley Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Patrick Sweeney and Executive Director of the California Alliance for Arts Education Joe Landon, began the conversation with more than 50 Napa County educators, arts organizations, nonprofits and community leaders in attendance. The event was held on the historic Napa Valley Unified School District Auditorium stage.
 
The Arts Advocates of Napa County agree that it is essential every child have the opportunity for an arts-rounded education. In working to make this possible, groups were formed to determine methods and needs to improve art education in Napa County. However, there are many challenges faced with art education in the schools, such as, state funding cuts, locally managed budgets, need of a central organizer for arts education curriculum and assets, absence of training for teaching the arts, and lack of opportunity available for arts as a new Common Core standard.
The newly formed Napa County Alliance for Art Education, sponsored by the Arts Council Napa Valley through a startup grant from the Alliance, will convene leaders together and work on developing a countywide plan to advocate, network and support the arts in education.
 

In the upcoming weeks ACNV will pull together a team to form the Leadership Committee, this committee will meet early in the New Year to review the notes from the Breakfast and decide on a 2014 Action Plan specific to Napa County's needs.