Sunday, July 6, 2014

07.05.2014 NEA FAC Announcement

Please see an important note to members of the caucus

LUNCH CAUCUS CANCELLED   Because our lunch break is only 30 minutes long today, we WILL NOT be having a caucus meeting during the lunch break today. 

NEA FAC EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING @ 300 PM.  The old and newly elected NEA FAC Board will meet at booth 62 & 63 to take care of business to wrap up our work at the 2014 RA.  Individuals take and leave office at the drop of the gavel today.

2014-2015 EXECUTIVE BOARD ELECATIONS  Congratulations to Jessica Fitzwater (2014-2016 chair); Tom McLaughlin (2014-2015 vice-chair); Oscar Forsman (2014-2016 treasurer) on their election to office.  Equal congratulations to 2014-2015 discipline representatives to the executive board: Lance (drama NJ); Nettie Doyle (drama MO);Ginger Fox (dance CA);  Michael Gary (dance NJ); Pam Gibberman (music); Carlos Meikel (art CO); Susan PInkney Todd (art CO);

NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS NAME CHANGE   Delegates made history in renaming the NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS the NEA ARTS EDUCATION CAUCUS in a Constitutional vote (48 favor-0 oppose).  The name will take effect as soon as the 2014 RA “gavels out”.

NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS MEMBERSHIP CATEGORY ADDED  Delegate have voted to add a non-voting category of membership called the NEA FINE ARTSC CAUCUS HONORARY LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP (46 favor, 2 oppose).  There are currently 4 honorary lifetime members: Lily Eskelsen Garcia; Deb Turici; Charles Fry; Bob Lague.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

NEA FAC July 5, 2014 Agenda

We have battled technology problems again today.  We apologize for these being posted so late.  You will find the agenda here More to follow...we hope.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Many Hands Make Light Work

We need some help at the NEA Fine Arts Caucus Booth during the next few days.  No experience is needed and we need our NEA ARTS COLLEAGUES to be organized within our caucus to do the important work and lobbying within the NEA to advance our agenda that demands that EVERYONE DESERVES AN ARTS EDUCATION.  Our booth allows us to raise money for the NEA FAC and allows us to organize our members.  Please drop by the NEA FAC BOOTH (62 & 63) and sign up to work at least one of the shifts.  Thanks, in advance, to all of you who lend a hand.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 3, 2014 NEA FAC RA TODAY

Directions to the meeting room, our agenda, minutes, news and important documents located at


Sorry for the confusion and inconvenience…we are doing the best job we can, considering the fact that we were not assigned a room until tomorrow.  Many other caucuses are dealing with this as well.  We have filed a complaint with the RA Oversight Committeee.

To find us, follow these easy directions: from the NEA CAFÉ, exit through the doorway labels Exhibition Hall B, go down the escalator, take one left and the first right.  Then, look for our banner or listen for the laughter to find us.


We need your help with our NBI—no experience is needed and we will provide you with a script and easy-to-follow directions.  If you are willing to help, please show up for a short meeting in front of the Iowa delegation 10 minutes after Dennis VanRoekel’s Keynote Address.  Iowa will coordinated the efforts.  SEE RESOLUTION in the link to the left. SEE MIC YIELDING FORM in the link to the left.

Monday, June 30, 2014

NEA FAC RA Meeting Schedule

The NEA Fine Arts Caucus is gearing up for a very busy year of using our members to advocate that NEA's financial resources, human resources and power is used to advance our agenda of a quality Arts Education for all of our students.

Tom McLaughlin (IA, Caucus Chair) and Ginger Fox (CA) are just back from Washington, DC where they initiated a series of meetings to advance the work of the caucus.  Both left the meetings with the feeling that the NEA FAC has entered a new age of being active in important policy discussions, curriculum discussions and partnerships to advance the goals of the caucus.  As a result of the meetings with Americans for the Arts, the Arts Action Fund, NEA Senior Policy Staff and coordinators of the NCCAS (National Coalition for Core Arts Standards) writing and implementation process.

Thanks to your membership and support of the caucus we have meaningful business with some real "teeth" to advance our pro-Arts agenda for our students, colleagues, programs and schools.  Please see the blog link to explore the issues on the table so far at this year's RA for our caucus.

OPT IN TO RECEIVE JUDICIOUS TEXTS AT THE RA: send the text "@NEAFAC" to 319.540.8979 and you will receive texts from REMIND101 (a great resource for you classrooms, offices, etc.)




  • NEA FAC Executive Board - Tue July 1, 3:30-5:00 PM - Colorado Convention Center, look for our banner at NEA CAFE--where we will start our meeting.  We may be moving the meeting to a more quiet location, so please be on time.  We will post a new location if the NEA CAFE is too loud.  Although this is an Executive Board meeting, all members are welcome to attend.
  • NEA FAC Full Member Meeting - Wed July 2, Noon-1:00 -Colorado Convention Center, look for our banner at NEA CAFE--where we will start our meeting.We may be moving the meeting to a more quiet location, so please be on time.  We will post a new location if the NEA CAFE is too loud.  
RA MEETING SCHEDULE (Morning 9:30-10:00 AM if needed and at announced lunch breaks)
  • RA Day 1 - Thu July 3, Lunch Break--
    • Non-Profit Booth Set-up 9:30AM
    • Lunch break meeting Colorado Convention Center, look for our banner at NEA CAFE--where we will start our meeting.  Chances are that we will have determined a new and less noisy location for the meetings and updates will be made here, on FB, TWITTER and sent to those who opt in to REMIND101TEXT& EMAIL UPDATES (see directions above)
  • RA Day 2 - Fri July 4 - Lunch Break - Convention Center, Mile High Ballroom Room 2C
  • RA Day 3 - Sat July 5 - Lunch Break - Convention Center, Mile High Ballroom Room 2C
  • RA Day 3 - Sun July 5 - Lunch Break - Convention Center, Mile High Ballroom Room 2C

Friday, June 13, 2014

Dr. Jane Chu Confirmed as Chair of "the other" NEA

WASHINGTON - Today the U.S. Senate confirmed Dr. Jane Chu as chair of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Chu is currently the president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Mo. She fills a chair position left vacant at the NEA since Rocco Landesman stepped down in 2012.

“Today’s confirmation of Dr. Jane Chu is great news for not only the National Endowment for the Arts, but also for the arts in our country,” said Robert Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “Dr. Chu brings an insightful combination of expertise to the position—experience in arts education, business administration, and philanthropy. She also understands the value of art at the community level and how the arts are transformative to individuals as well as places.”

Before joining the Kauffman Center in 2006, Chu served as fund executive at the Kauffman Fund for Kansas City, vice president of external relations for the Union Station Kansas City, and vice president of community investment for the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. She holds degrees in visual arts, piano performance and piano pedagogy, an MBA, and a Ph.D. in philanthropic studies. Nonprofit Connect in Kansas City recently named her their Nonprofit Professional of the Year.

NEA Caucus Leaders to Advocate for Arts Educators in Pre-RA Meetings

NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS LEADERS HEAD TO DC TO WORK FOR NEA ARTS EDUCATORS --NEA Fine Arts Caucus Executive Board member, Ginger Fox (CA), and NEA Fine Arts Caucus National Chair, Tom McLaughlin (IA), travel to Washington DC next week to work with NEA Policy folks, Mike Kaspar and Becky Wissink, to discuss the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards soft launch, concerns about trends we are seeing in the implementation and lack of implementation of STEAM programs around the nation, concerns about using arts integration and maintaining the integrity of discrete curriculum for the arts, how we might strengthen our relationship with the Americans for the Arts and the Arts Action Fund and our next steps before launching business at this year's NEA annual meeting and Representative Assembly. Ginger and Tom have packed their two days in DC full of meeting to advocate for our members across the country.

If you want more information:




National Coalition for Core Arts Standard Launch

The National Core Arts Standards were launched on Wednesday, June 4th with a national conference call between the hours of 1:00 PM Eastern daylight time and 3:00 PM Eastern Daylight time, moderated by Marcia McCaffrey, New Hampshire Department of Education and President of the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE), and Lynn Tuttle, Arizona Department of Education and Immediate Past President of SEADAE.

To access the archival copy of the Launch event:

If you did not attend the event as audience, you will need to fill in the brief registration form. If you attended as an audience member, use the password you received when you logged in to the meeting.
This link will remain active for one year until June 4th 2015

Speakers included:

James Catterall, Professor Emeritus and past Chair of the Faculty at UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

Laurence Gartel, Digital Media Artist, National Coalition for Core Arts Standards Artist Advisory Committee

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

STEAM vs. STEM Infographic

Thanks to NEA FAC friend Frederic Lee for sharing this great STEM vs. STEAM INFOGRAPHIC

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Lansing schools cope with arts education cuts through magnet programs, in-class work

Add caption
LANSING -- Budget cuts may have eliminated elementary classes in arts, music and physical education for Lansing School District students, but that hasn't stopped arts education from still taking place.

The district was forced earlier this year to eliminate 87 jobs - including elementary art, music and physical education teachers - to make up for a $9 million budget deficit. Instead, the district implemented an "innovative arts and fitness" program where fewer than 20 non-certified "consultant" instructors teach the subjects during regular class time alongside teachers.

The Lansing School District declined to make Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul or members of the district's innovative arts and fitness program available for interviews, citing end-of-year schedules.

Cutting arts educators is a common cost-savings move for districts because of how art teachers are trained and how funding is allocated to schools, Joni Starr, assistant professor of education at Michigan State University said.

Friday, October 25, 2013

For These Schools, Adding Arts to STEM Boosts Curriculum

by Michelle Fredette
This article appears in the October 2013 issue of T.H.E. Journal.

 Say you're the principal of a school that has been hit by an F5 tornado. No one is hurt, thank goodness, but teachers, students, and staff must move to a temporary school while your damaged school is repaired. Do you try to simply achieve a sense of normalcy during two years of displacement?

 Many principals would. And who would blame them? But Deron Cameron, principal of University Place Elementary School in Tuscaloosa, AL, saw the calamity caused by the April 2011 twister as an opportunity to do more. Armed with grants and donations from around the country, Cameron was determined to not only bring back some of the students his school had lost when the school moved, but to turn the misfortune into an advantage. "We met last year as a faculty and said, 'When we go back into our building, we don't want to do the same-old-same-old. We need to research some practices so it can be a win-win for our students,'" Cameron says.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

We need music to survive

Karl Paulnack
Music Division
The Boston Conservatory

Karl Paulnack is a pianist and director of the music division at the Boston Conservatory. This essay is adapted from a welcome speech he gave to incoming freshman. It was originally published in the 7 June 2009 issue of The Christian Science Monitor, p. 28.

Though a few years old, this essay by Karl Paulnack of the Boston Conservatory conveys the deeply important role music plays in our society.

One of my parents’ deepest fears, I suspect, is that society would not value me as a musician. I remember my mother’s reaction when I announced my decision to study music instead of medicine: “You’re wasting your SAT scores!” My parents loved music, but at the time they were unclear about its value.

The confusion is understandable: We put music in the “arts & entertainment” section of the newspaper. But music often has little to do with entertainment. Quite the opposite.

The ancient Greeks had a fascinating way of articulating how music works. In their quadrivium—geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, and music—astronomy and music are two sides of the same coin. Astronomy describes relationships between observable, external, permanent objects.

Music illuminates relationships between invisible, internal, transient objects. I imagine us having internal planets, constellations of complicated thoughts and feelings. Music finds the invisible pieces inside our hearts and souls and helps describe the position of things inside us, like a telescope that looks in rather than out.

In June 1940, French composer Olivier Messiaen was captured by the Germans and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp. There, he finished a quartet for piano, cello, violin, and clarinet, and performed it, with three other imprisoned musicians, for the inmates and guards of that camp. The piece (“Quartet for the End of Time”) is arguably one of the greatest successes in the history of music.

Friday, August 9, 2013

NEA FAC Vice-Chair Jessica Fitzwater Completes Training, Considers Political Bid

Jessica Fitzwater was part of the first classof Emerge 
Maryland, a program that trains Democratic women to 
run for office.
by Bethany Rodgers News-Post Staff
from the Fredrick News Post

Jessica Fitzwater says she loves working with students while they're too young to care what people think.

The Oakdale Elementary School music teacher said the onset of adult self-consciousness discourages many people from putting themselves out onstage. But when children are little, they are risk-takers, she said.

If teachers can "catch them when they sing their heart out or dance their heart out," there's a chance that they will hang on to that fearlessness as they grow up, she said.

Fitzwater, 29, said her experience as a performer — playing the violin in the Frederick Symphony Orchestra and taking the stage with Equinox Dance Company — has made her someone unafraid to take a public stand.

Her willingness to step forward could move her from the orchestra hall to Winchester Hall; Fitzwater says she's "strongly considering" running for the District 4 seat on the county council in 2014.

Fitzwater has already started laying the foundation for a future in the public eye. Earlier this year, she graduated from the first class of Emerge Maryland, a program that prepares Democratic women to hold elected office or another leadership position.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

92 Schools Lose Art Positions; 54 Schools Cut Music Postions; 58 Cute PE and 40 Fire Librarians

By John Byrne
Clout Street
3:04 p.m. CDT, August 6, 2013

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday defended the choices he has made on the Chicago Public Schools budget, but did not directly address reports that neighborhood schools will face deeper cuts during the coming year than charters or other kinds of schools.

CPS estimated classroom cuts in the upcoming budget to be about $68 million. But the Tribune found that the cuts to district-run neighborhood schools is more than $100 million for instruction and operations. CPS came up with its lower figure by including budget increases at charter and contract schools that in many cases saw enrollment rise and seats added.

Asked about the differences Tuesday, Emanuel initially laid the blame with Springfield's failure to deal with the school district's unfunded pension obligations. "Look, we have a challenge. That challenge is pensions," Emanuel said.

The mayor also pointed out two charter schools were shut down recently for academic shortcomings, saying that's "never been done before, because they failed academically."

And though Raise Your Hand, a parent group critical of the school district, said the new budget has forced 92 schools to cut art positions, 54 to cut music teachers, 58 to cut physical education positions and 40 to fire librarians, Emanuel sought to focus Tuesday on his push to increase full-day kindergarten and the longer school day. "That's what we're going to be doing throughout the city and all our schools," he said.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Arts Funding Alert--Act Now!

40! That’s how many years that federal support for the arts and humanities would be set back as a result of the devastating cuts in the FY 2014 Interior Appropriations bill currently moving through the House.

This FY 2014 funding bill would cut the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities by 49 percent, leaving them each with only a $75 million budget. This budget reduction would represent the biggest cut in the history of these agencies, even worse than the cuts experienced during the Culture Wars of the 1990s. The last time the NEA’s budget was this low was in 1974.

CLICK HERE to TWEET this ALERT on Twitter


Last week, we reported the cuts made in Subcommittee and this week, the House Full Appropriations Committee maintained the cuts in the bill. Yesterday, Ranking Democrat of the Committee Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Rep. David Price (D-NC) offered an amendment in committee to restore the NEA cuts, but it was rejected along party line votes.

Grant will allow students to sample working with professional artists

by Maggie Neil / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Principal Ken Lockette wants the walls of Avonworth High School to be alive and vibrant -- not drab and institutional.

He also wants his students to know what it's like to work in the professional world and to prepare them for an increasingly competitive environment.

Thanks to a $10,000 grant from The Sprout Fund's Hive Fund for Connected Learning, the high school in Ohio Township is hoping to fulfill Mr. Lockette's visions through the Avonworth Pittsburgh Galleries Project.

Read more:

The plan is to connect 30 to 50 high school students with five arts institutions in the Pittsburgh region: The Andy Warhol Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh Glass Center and Toonseum of Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

House Disproportionately Cuts National Endowment for the Arts Funding by 49%

Today, the U.S House of Representatives Interior Appropriations Subcommittee approved its initial FY 2014 funding legislation, which includes a proposed cut of $71 million to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This would bring funding of the NEA down to $75 million, a level not seen since 1974!

Please take two minutes to send a customizable message to your members of Congress rejecting these dramatic cuts to NEA funding.

While the subcommittee bill includes a 20 percent reduction in total spending as a part of the House budget plan, the proposed cuts of 49 percent to the NEA are significantly disproportionate. The arts community recognizes the challenges our elected leaders face in prioritizing federal resources, but funding for the NEA has already been cut by more than $29 million over the past three years. These disproportionate cuts recall the dramatic decline of federal funding for the arts in the early 90s, from which the agency has still not recovered.

In her statement during today’s markup, senior appropriator Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) said these cuts “harken back to a time when a misguided war on the arts and culture ignored the educational and cultural benefits they provide our communities.”

Final FY 2013
(includes 5% sequester cut)
FY 2014 President's
FY 2014 House Subcommittee
National Endowment for the Arts
$154.466 million
National Endowment for the Humanities
$154.466 million

Saturday, July 6, 2013

ABOVE AND BEYOND--Moving America's Schools Full STEAM Ahead with Arts Integration Reason 1 of 45



FableVision in Partnership with P21st Century Skills SHOWS us how the arts interface with STEM work.  Take a look at these students and how they approach their project of building a go-cart and complement each other with two different approaches to getting things done.  This was going to be closer to number 1 but we think we should let you help share this before travelling to the RA.

"We're not finished, we've only just begun..."

In an increasingly complex, demanding and competitive 21st century, students need to learn more than the 3R’s they are tested on in school. It’s time to help them go “above & beyond”, by embracing the 4Cs – communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.
Your story could be the next short,
powerful animation.

To get the word out to about the “3Rs + 4Cs” approach, P21 and FableVision partnered to produce a short, animated film called Above & Beyond. Enjoy & share, so we can help ALL our students flourish in the 21st century.

Many members of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills helped shape and refine this story – using their communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity skills. Special thanks to Ken Kay, Tim Magner and the Executive Board and Strategic Council of The Partnership for 21st Century Skills for all their time, talent and vision on this project.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Arts Integration & STEAM Talking Points

CLICK HERE for access to talking points for Arts Integration in your school and STEAM in your building, district or state.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

60 Great STEAM Computer APPs--Moving America's Schools Full Steam Ahead with Arts Integration Reason 2 of 45

Learn more about ARTS INTEGRATION
Learn more about STE(A)M.

The ideas driving the STE(A)M movement in the United States involve infusing and integrating the Arts into the STEM disciplines and content areas.

It is such a strong idea not because we want our STEM colleagues to become Arts teachers but because using the arts really accomplishs a great deal of what we hope to accomplish with NBI #2 at this year's 2013 RA.  STE(A)M offers tools to: increase student learning through improved engagement; a great deal of nueroscience research supports use of the arts to improve cognition and meta-cognition; it teaches transferable skills unique to the arts that improves the skills set of STEAM learners; as a result, it improves our student/s employability skills  set and it assists educators in being strong practitioners.



Monday, July 1, 2013

Reason 3 of 45 in Our 45 Day Countdown to the NEA RA's Adoption of the NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS STE(A)M New Business Item

What is STE(A)M?

It is time that we join arms with each other and understand that good education is less like a baking recipe that must be followed precisely in pre-determined steps. The destination that we seek for our students is more like a road map.  There are many roads that we can travel to help our students succeed.  STE(A)M is probably not the best approach for all students or all teachers.  It is, however, like a road map.  It offers many different paths that arrive at the same destination.

Sir Kenneth Robinson says that we best approach our work as a gardener might.  STE(A)M uses the arts as a tool for our students to create a situation condusive to learning.  We cannot make students learn, we can't make them be engaged but we can create the conditions that might be ideal for learning.  The art forms assist our students in cultivating divergent thinking, reasoning, metaphor as a tool for understanding, creativity,innovation and so much more.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Reason 4 of 45 in Our 45 Day Countdown to the NEA RA's Adoption of the NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS STE(A)M New Business Item


What is STE(A)M?

Sir Ken Robinson at it again with a wonderful animation titled PAPER CLIP.  A wonderful piece distinguishing between divergent thinking and creativity.  Daniel Pink's A WHOLE NEW MIND and Robert Root-Bernstein's SPARKS OF GENIUS.  It is the ARTS that fosters both this creative and divergent thinking.

More than that, the video echoes an ASCD article that discuss an ISTE and Verizon study aimed at reversing the lack of engagement trend seen in the STEM disciplines.  THE JOURNAL reports that key findings of the research proves:

  • 40 percent of middle and high school students at participating VILS schools demonstrated increased engagement;
  • 52 percent of students demonstrated increased proficiency with mobile technologies in learning;
  • Students of VILS teachers were more inclined than their non-VILS peers to go to college, were more confident about being admitted, and were more inclined to major in a STEM field; and
  • Students of VILS teachers reported more positive views of math and science and more frequent use of technology, including computers, mobile phones, tablets, and digital media data and tools.

Friday, June 28, 2013





John Cleese on Creativity--Cultivating Creativing and Innovation is What's Behind the STE(A)M Initiative

As one would expect, this is funny coming from John Cleese. However, don't let the light bulb jokes fool you. It's full of substance about creativity in our culture and our need to cultivate it. This is hugely important and the drive behind our STE(A)M initiatives at this year's RA.  Please enjoy this but not on the RA floor as it requires too much bandwidth.

Amazing Union Brothers and Sisters Building an RA--Great Music to Boot

It's absolutely amazing to see this behind-the-scenes preparation that all have contributed to the RA's success. 

The NEA FAC is one of those players.  Watch for our NBI's on the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards, STE(A)M (Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTS, and Mathematics), and Costing of New Business Items.  We are likely to also have an STE(A)M Legislative Amendment.

Hats off to Jessica Fitzwater (MD), NEA FAC Vice-Chair; Oscar Forsman (IL), Treasurer; Rich Nicklay (IA), Secretary; Pamela Gibberman (CA), Music Representative to the NEA FAC Executive Board; Joe Bartell (CA), Music Representative to the NEA FAC Executive Board; Jack Rowe (ID), Visual Arts Representative to the NEA FAC Executive Board; Carlos Meikel (CO), Visual Arts Representative to the NEA FAC Executive Board; Carol Woodman (WA), Drama Representative to the NEA FAC Executive Board; Ginger Fox (CA), Dance Representative to the NEA FAC Executive Board; Michael Gary (), Dance Representative to the NEA FAC Executive Board.

Thanks to Carrie Lewis, NEA Governance liaison to the CCBR; Aaron Harris, NEA Governance liaison to the Legislative Program; and Jeffrey Goode, NEA Governance liaison to Caucuses.