Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Technology in Arts Education

We've all experienced the benefits of technology in our everyday lives, most of us can't live without it and its impact. But its not everyday that you associate the significance of technology with arts education. 2014 has been a strong year for arts education and technology with new developments in teaching and classes. Specific areas gaining larger interest  are online communities and the way that students are now using social media to engage with art and learning on their own time. But the list is growing for new fields where art, education and technology intersect, and holds great potential for the future.  Jessica Wilt, an arts educator and administrator, has put together a strong resource of how technology is making its way into arts education.


(Article from ArtsBlog, Everything Arts + Education + Technology in 2014. By Jessica Wilt. Published on January 8, 2014.)

It’s the start of a New Year and technology will continue to be a hot arts education topic in 2014. Since launching my own ArtsEdTechNYCventure last spring, I’ve immersed myself in many conversations exploring ways in which technology – I admit, a super generalized term – is being utilized within the scope of arts education. In meaningful, effective ways including K-12, higher education, distance learning and special needs populations, I remain continuously inspired by so many people doing amazing work.

Here are a few things I’ve discovered where technology will continue to change the way we teach, educate and inform our arts education field this year and beyond.


The Wallace Foundation released two critical pieces of research late last year. As access to technology for learning, communication and art making grow among our youth, self-directed, connected, and digital learning opportunities are expanding as well.These reports are a must-read:
New Opportunities for Interest-Driven Arts Learning in a Digital Age by Dr. Kylie Peppler at Indiana University
Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs from Urban Youth and Other Experts by Denise Montgomery, Peter Rogovin and Nero Persaud

Image from New Opportunities for Interest-Driven Arts Learning in a Digital Age Report


The EdTech movement is the driving force behind development of so many new online learning platforms, apps, and software being created at lighting speed. Here are a few arts, creativity, and innovation sites that I think are great:
Connected Classrooms is a new venture recently launched by Google. The concept centers on how “Educational Virtual Classrooms” use the video platform Google Hangout to connect withothers all over the globe. Adobe Education Exchange, Microsoft’s Bing for Education – Class Think and Apple and Education among others, are also great sites.



Monday, February 9, 2015

Highlighting Arts Education in Schools

      New York, which has been a leader in many aspects of innovation and progressive movements across various fields, has made a large stride in arts advocacy and education for their schools with a new bill. The bill,which passed in December, would require "specific reporting on whether or not individual schools are providing the state-mandated instruction in the arts".(Israel)  The push by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is for stronger annual data and reporting of arts instruction which will help provide crucial information about gaps in arts education. The amazing and substantial support for this bill from art organizations and the New York City government sends a strong message to local communities but also communities across the nation-that the Arts should have a stronger foundation in our education system. Many states make education a priority in their administration, but how long will it be before other states follow the examples of forward thinking states such as,  New York, Chicago, and California, and start making the arts as an equal part of our child's k-12 education.

Image from Arts Education Partnership March 2014 Report 

(Article from ArtsBlogA New Era for Arts in New York City Schools?. By Doug Israel. Published February 26, 2014.)

Over the course of the past several years, big cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle have been advancing ambitious plans to expand access to arts education and creative learning for public school students. Here in New York City – home of the nation’s largest school district – with a new mayor and schools chancellor, and a growing chorus of parents calling for the inclusion of arts in the school day, there is momentum gathering that could lead to a much-overdue expansion of arts and music in city schools.

This December, at the close of his 12 years in office, New York City’s former Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed into law a City Council bill that would require the Department of Education to provide annual data on arts instruction that advocates believe will help identify gaps in the delivery of arts education and drive improvements in what is being offered at schools across the city.

While strides were made in expanding access to arts instruction at many schools across the city over the past decade, large gaps persist in the provision of music, dance, theater and visual arts in the over 1,800 New York City public schools.

That is why on the heels of the successful effort to pass the arts reporting legislation, advocates and leaders from a diverse cross section of New York, released a statement calling on the city to ensure that every child, in every part of the city, receives arts instruction as part of their K-12 education.

The statement – entitled “Every Child in Every School: A Vision for Arts and Creativity in New York City Public Schools” –notes that New York City – with its rich and diverse array of arts and cultural experiences and organizations – is uniquely positioned to be the leader in arts and creative education. (READ THE REST HERE)


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Creating Opportunity for Underprivelged Through the Arts

For many, the Arts has been seen as a social space specifically for the wealthy and elite. an idea that has sparked many debates and questions about the funding for organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts. On one side are the House Republicans and the House Budget Committee which have claimed that funding of the Arts primarily benefits the wealthy while creating a larger gap between the poor. Because of this stance the House Budget Committee "proposed budget for the 2014 fiscal year, which eliminated all funding for the arts endowment as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting."(Cohen) This, however, has been proven false time and time again and to add to the list of growing sources is a  Southern Methodist University study, which states that, "Public funding allows access to the arts for millions of Americans who otherwise couldn't afford the benefit of the arts in their lives."(Cohen) A simple statement that holds incredible value, especially in a state such as New Mexico which is one of the poorest states in the nation but with a growing arts advocacy and education for our underprivileged.  To say no to Arts funding and education is to dismiss the incredible enrichment, support, and opportunity it creates for individuals and community's, many of whom are below the poverty line.

Image from ArtsBlog: For the Poor, the Arts Are a Path to Opportunity

(Letter from The New York Times,  Opinion Page: For the Poor, the Arts Are a Path to Opportunity. By Robert Lynch and Robert Redford. Published February 7, 2014. Letter in Response to N.E.A. Funds Benefit Both Rich and Poor, Study Finds. )

To the Editor:

Re “N.E.A. Funds Benefit Both Rich and Poor, Study Finds” (Arts pages, Feb. 5):

A few years ago, a homeless girl in Los Angeles walked into a community arts center. Her name is Inocente. An Oscar-winning documentary by the same name told the story of how the arts turned her life around. Her success story illustrates the benefit of the arts to thousands of poor children and lower-income people all across our country.

The assertion by the House Budget Committee that the arts are the domain of the wealthy has proved to be a myth. A Southern Methodist University study reaffirms what nearly 100,000 nonprofit arts organizations already know. Public funding allows access to the arts for millions of Americans who otherwise couldn't afford the benefit of the arts in their lives.

Arts are a path to opportunity. Businesses benefit from the creativity, perseverance and problem-solving skills that Americans develop through the arts. The arts drive private-sector investment and job creation. Every dollar of N.E.A. funding generates $9 of non-federal money to the arts, and the nonprofit arts industry generates 4.1 million jobs.

This new study can help educate our elected leaders from both sides of the aisle about the true value of the arts for all our children, our communities and our country.


N.E.A. Funds Benefit Both Rich and Poor, Study Finds. By Patricia Cohen. Published February 4, 2014. )

Ever since the late 1980s, when the performance artist Karen Finley started playing around with yams and chocolate, the National Endowment for the Arts has come under fire from some conservative lawmakers. Back then the agency was castigated for giving grants to provocative artists like Ms. Finley, whom some critics called obscene.

Now House Republicans charge that the endowment supports programming primarily attended by the rich, causing “a wealth transfer from poorer to wealthier citizens.”

A new study to be released on Wednesday challenges that assertion, however, and concludes that federally supported arts programs attract people across the income spectrum; the wealthy, yes, but also many below the poverty line.

The study, by the National Center for Arts Research at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, was specifically intended to test lawmakers’ propositions about arts funding.

Last year the House Budget Committee, led by Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, issued a proposed budget for the 2014 fiscal year, which eliminated all funding for the arts endowment as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. (READ THE REST HERE.)


Monday, January 12, 2015

Business That Help Fund Arts Education

Arts education across the nation has unfortunately had unpredictable support and funding from various organizations, which leads to a growing access gap among youth. Surprisingly a large lack of support comes from businesses, with 66% of businesses not supporting the arts  because they were never asked to help. With that in mind, ProjectArt, an organization focused on closing this access gap for youths, decided to take it among themselves and reach out to businesses by doing one simple thing, ask. Although it was a simple action it is one that has paid off tremendously for both the business and ProjectArt. ProjectArt  contacted the successful and well known pastry chef, Jacques Torres to establish a relationship with his business Jacques Torres Chocolate. It was a easy connection, kids and candy, one that Jacques Torres jumped at the opportunity to do. with this Jacques Torres Chocolate donated proceeds from there malt ball sales during the December holiday season and soon again for the Valentine season. With this attitude and willingness, it begs the question, can we get more local businesses to contribute to arts education and development within our communities by taking the first step and forging a partnership?    

Image from
Image from ProjectArt Twitter.

(Article from ArtsBlogThe Sweet Side of Arts and Business (from the pARTnership Movement. By Stephanie Dockery. Published January 23, 2014.)

Affectionately known as “Mr. Chocolate,” Jacques Torres founded his company in New York City in the year 2000. In 1988, he emigrated from France and became the corporate pastry chef for the Ritz-Carlton, then served as executive pastry chef at Le Cirque from 1989-2000. Jacques Torres Chocolate is headquartered in New York, and the chocolate in manufactured in Brooklyn, establishing him as the quintessential American dream. A supporter of New York nonprofits, Jacques Torres has a personal passion for supporting youth initiatives, making ProjectArt’s proposal a perfect fit.

ProjectArt conducted market research and established metrics for their assets and achievements, then reached out to Jacques Torres Chocolate’s marketing team, using their metrics to tell the story about how their organization impacts children affected by the arts education gap. After Jacques Torres Chocolate positively responded to their pitch, ProjectArt reviewed the company’s specific funding interests and suggested a collaborative product idea. In October, they decided to orchestrate a rush promotion for the December holiday period. According to Marion Prely of Jacques Torres Chocolate, the company was inspired to “share the love” for the organization and the children they aid.

The original price point of the malt balls was raised from $20 to $25, allowing the company to donate $5 from each sale to ProjectArt. The malt balls were sold in all four of Jacques Torres Chocolate’s New York locations (DUMBO, Amsterdam Avenue, Rockefeller Center, and Hudson Street) and in the company’s two holiday pop-up shops on the Upper East Side. The product was easily recognizable, as the malt balls were adorned with large, colorful tags promoting the partnership. The company was active in using social media to spread the word, and ProjectArt engaged the public relations firm FleishmanHillard to work on the initiative pro bono. (READ THE REST HERE.)


Thursday, December 18, 2014

"Sun Mask"-a New Public Art Piece for Rio Rancho

"Sun Mask" Photo courtesy of Don Redman

The City of Rio Rancho and the Rio Rancho Art Commission would like to invite you to a ribbon cutting for "Sun Mask," new public artwork by artist Don Redman. The event will consist of several guest speakers and light refreshments.

Friday, December 19 at 3:00 p.m.

Rio Rancho City Hall, 3200 Civic Center Circle, Rio Rancho.

"Sun Mask" has been installed on the southwest side of City Hall, and is composed of two Corten steel structures with a base of emerald glass tiles. this project was made possible by the State of New Mexico's Arts in Public Places program.

Please find a link to the official press release here.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Urban Space Designs Evolving at City Center

A collaborative design studio (LA 503) hosted by the Rio Rancho Arts Commission with UNM’s School of Architecture and Planning is using Rio Rancho's City Center as a design lab. Students and faculty of UNM the Landscape Architecture Programs, including Director Eric Bernard and Professor Catherine Page Harris, over the past 6 months, have been researching, planning, and designing sustainable and creative ways to energize City Center. 

The Design Studio is providing a platform for the community and city leaders to explore cultural and urban design issues throughout the city. Through the studio, it is possible for the City to consider national grants like ArtPlace America or the “Public Art Challenge“ offered through Bloomberg Philanthropies. Organizations like these are dedicated to supporting economic development through art, culture, quality urban development and placemaking. Rio Rancho’s City Center is positioned perfectly for these opportunities through the commitment and dedication of the community in developing the UNM West Campus, Sandoval Regional Medical Center, and the Santa Ana Star Center. All of these “Institutions“, including the Hewlett Packard Center, contribute to a broad based Urban landscape for City Center that will be reinforced through a defined Cultural Civic Space.

A Community Gallery of this semester's design ideas will be presented on the 3rd floor of City Hall on December 3, 2014 from 2 PM to 7 PMOn display will be a digitally fabricated 8 foot scale model of the City Center, using UNM’s 3-D printers, with interchangeable modules. These modules or “possibilities“ are the result of the student groups and will illustrate eight Cultural Center designs for City Center.  There has been great participation and interest in the design studio, ranging from SSCAFCA to Sandoval County, and includes the newly formed Sandoval Economic Alliance. 

Hosted by the City of Rio Rancho and the Rio Rancho Arts Commission, this is an open invitation for all citizens of Rio Rancho to view the design models and to participate by providing feedback.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The New Mexico Art In Public Places Program (AIPP)

"Sun Mask" artwork being installed at City Hall by artist, Don Redman. Photo by Paula Scott

Maybe you've seen the acronym, AIPP before or, perhaps you've never heard of it before. The acronym stands for Art In Public Places Program. If you've visited the Rotunda at the State Capitol and noticed the rather impressive and stunning artwork everywhere in the building, know that it was primarily the AIPP funding that was responsible for a majority of that collection.

To explain further, the following excerpt is taken from the New Mexico Art in Public Places website (with permission to republish):

"The mission of the Art in Public Places program is to enrich New Mexico’s communities through innovative and diverse public art.
AIPP Program Description

Since its inception nearly 25 years ago, the program has placed more than 2,500 works of art in all of New Mexico’s 33 counties (Rio Rancho received its first two pieces several years ago). The goal of the AIPP is to reflect the diversity of the arts in New Mexico, the Southwest, and the nation while building a dynamic public art collection for the State of New Mexico.

Through a fair and open public process, committees made up of local and regional representatives work with New Mexico Arts staff to select artwork for their communities. The Art in Public Places program then commissions large-scale projects that are designed for integration directly into the architecture of a building, or the program purchases existing original artwork to be placed in public buildings permanently or on loan.

Here is a brief overview of the One Percent (1%) for Art legislation and the process employed to select works of art for communities throughout New Mexico (an AIPP Project Coordinator is assigned to every project and facilitates the art selection process):


In 1986, the New Mexico State Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law the Art in Public Places Act (Sections 13-4A-1 through 13-4A-11 NMSA 1978, as amended). This legislation declares it to be "a policy of the State that a portion of appropriations for capital expenditures be set aside for the acquisition or commissioning of works of art to be used in, upon or around public buildings" (Section 13-4A-2, NMSA 1978). The resulting Art in Public Places (AIPP) Program is often referred to as the One Percent (1%) for Art Program because of the requirement in the law that:

For each appropriation exceeding one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), agencies shall allocate as a nondeductible item an amount of money equal to one percent or two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000), whichever is less, of all eligible capital projects. These funds are to be expended for the acquisition and installation of works of art to be placed “in, upon or around” the new building or the building in which the major renovation is to occur. (Section 13-4A-4, NMSA 1978)

Art in Public Places funds can be expended for the following purposes:

The works of art acquired pursuant to the Art in Public Places Act may be an integral part of the building, attached to the building, detached within or outside the structure or placed on public lands, part of a temporary exhibition or loaned or exhibited by the agency in other public facilities. (Section 13-4A-6 NMSA 1978)
General Procedures

The New Mexico Arts, a Division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, is designated in the Art in Public Places Act as the agency to administer the AIPP program. This entails establishing policies and procedures for the selection and acquisition of artworks."

You can find out in more detail the procedures that have been developed that provide a general framework for selecting artists and artworks acquired for the state’s public art collection at:

As our city grows, residents in Rio Rancho can expect the city's public art collection to grow. Understanding how each piece of public art was funded and how the art was selected is important too. Some works of art will be funded through the state's AIPP and some will result through the city's 1% for the arts ordinance. The ordinance requires that an amount equal to one percent (1%) of capital improvement bond proceeds is reserved for acquisition of art for public places in the city. In the future, when capital improvement bonds are issued for Rio Rancho, 1% for the arts will be designated as a result of the 2010 1% Delma M. Petrullo Ordinance.

In the meantime, Rio Rancho can expect another piece of public art to appear in City Center as the installation process for this work started on August 3rd. The artwork is being installed in what was intended to be the reflecting pond just outside of the council chambers at City Hall. This project was funded through the state's AIPP and should be completed by the end of September (with a ribbon cutting date to be announced). Look for a 'sequel' to this article that will explain the process of how this piece of artwork was selected in an upcoming article.