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: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-north/grant-will-allow-students-to-sample-working-with-professional-artists-697692/#ixzz2arvqRpDo

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. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Reason 5 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?

“I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine. (12 May 1780)”
― John Adams

WE ARE BENEFICIARIES OF THAT VISION...  Our founders believed in the importance of the Arts...we should too.  Check out these "big players" at the table at Arts Advocacy Day 2013 sponsored by American for the Arts announcing a STE(A)M Initiative that will provide lots of important dollars to schools who invest in STE(A)M.  The reasoning that these folks gives should be reason enough for the NEA to stand behind STE(A)M.   

"You can't create that world changing algorithm without mathematics, science and engineering.  But you also can't create it without the creativity to imagine it and to solve the problem...and that creative and critical thinking is what the Arts deliver."
President's Committee for the Arts and the Humanities from our Honorary Chair, Michelle Obama, "We are very excited about this program.  We find ourselves in a moment--when we talk about STEAM--of great opportunities...but also great challenges..."

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Reason 6 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?

Take a look at the exciting work that's going on with Arts Integration in Minneapolis. Famous for its support of the ARTS, this is a SYSTEM that is already moving FULL STEAM AHEAD.

www.iDream.tv video production services documented this educational arts video sponsored by Arts for Academic Achievement and AchieveMpls at Minneapolis Public Schools.

Arts for Academic Achievement and AchieveMpls team up to support learning in and through the arts. Production services provided by idream.tv

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Reason 7 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?

WHAT COLOR IS A BULLY'S BRAIN?  Integrating the Arts and Science at the Primary/Elementary and Intermediate/Middle School Level

 Neuro.RAPT, Community Contributor
10:38 a.m. CDT, June 22, 2013

NEA FAC BLOGGER'S NOTE:  This is a great example of STEAM's objectives.  These students are asked to deal with a relevant social issue, express their feelings, learn about the science of the brain, then express their learning using the arts.  The arts are a tool and not a stand-alone lesson.  This is worth a look.

A Bully's Brain--Part One

A Bully's Brain - Part One

We've examined bullying from all angles, except the one organ which is responsible for so many of our human functions. The Brain.

What does a bully's brain look like? How is it functioning in that moment?

In the first collaboration of its kind, Neuro.RAPT; a newly launched science collaborative and StudentsXpress; a magazine for students that promotes creativity, literacy and expression, examined the neural underpinnings of bullying from the perspective of students from Hamilton Elementary (Chicago, IL), in both kindergarten/first grade and middle school. Through interviews and art pieces, viewers will journey into a bully's brain.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Reason 9 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?

STEaM resources for any classroom
posted by Susan Riley * November 1, 2012

Today, we’ll be focusing on the many resources that are out there for STEM: from explaining what it is, to sample lessons, to ways that it connects to the Arts. This is a living list, so please feel free to add any resources you have found in your travels in the comment section below!

STEM presentations:

Transforming Vision
into Reality: FREE
STEAM Lesson Plans
Creating a Global Focus on STEM education is a very well-done powerpoint that gives a “big picture” to STEM.

The STEM Education Coalition has a whole section of resource links to over 50 different presentations worldwide.
CLICK HERE for information on

The Journal highlights how teachers and administrators are looking for resources to support STEM.

What is STEM education is a prezi from Todd Ensign that was provided to West Virginia teachers.


How to Smile is a site that houses fantastic math and science activities, with a dose of creativity thrown in.

PBS STEM Resource is a phenomenal site with lessons for K-12 in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math as well as professional development for teachers.
The STEAM APP has arrived.

STEAM Education Lessons provide several high-quality STEAM lessons that you can browse through.

STEAM resources:

The STEAM Academy is a terrific site for advocating and sharing authentic STEAM projects and efforts.

Planting T’s is a website dedicated to promoting design thinking in K-12 education.

Working in Scratch: Putting STEAM into Cross-Curricular Collaboration is a prezi that gives practical applications for using the computer program SCRATCH in the arts classrooms.

Going from STEM to STEAM is a prezi about how creativity and self-expression give life to technology and science.

100+ STEM and STEAM Resources Livebinder has a variety of tools, videos and resources for you to browse.

Reason 10 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?

This is one of MANY Pinterest pages dedicated to show educators how to use arts integration and the arts to strengthen the STEM disciplines, student interest and shape America's students into innovative, creative, fun-loving leaders in a global economy.  CHECK THIS OUT.

From STEM to STEAM (stemtosteam.org): Leonardo DaVinci was famously an engineer, architect, scientist and, of course, a painter. “Why choose just one?” asked Shirley Malcolm of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in addressing participants at a national workshop RISD hosted on January 20 and 21. “Why was this artificial bifurcation made [between art and science] and how can we reconnect it?” Sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Bridging STEM to STEAM: Developing New Frameworks for Art-Science-Design Pedagogy looked at ways educators and policymakers can begin to bridge this gap. In particular, the goal of this gathering of minds was to develop strategies to enhance STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math] education by integrating art and design – transforming STEM into STEAM and promoting the intellectual and creative potentials in the process.

Check out this screenshot that shows HOW to put the A into STEM with real-life, teacher-tested, student approved projects.  If you think these are intriguing, there are even more.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Reason 11 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?

Let’s hear it for STEAM – not just STEM – education

by Monica Olivera
10:42 am on 06/19/2013
Source Link: http://nbclatino.com/2013/06/19/lets-hear-it-for-steam-not-just-stem-education/

There has been a lot of talk over the last couple of years about the importance of STEM education. Science,
Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics play a critical role in our country’s ability to compete in the global market. But there is an essential part of this acronym that is missing: ARTS. It is the spark that breathes life into STEM, and without it, innovation is dead. There would be no inventions, no discoveries, no advances in technology. Without creativity, Benjamin Franklin would not have considered flying a kite in a storm, Steve Jobs would have just been another computer sales guy, and Ellen Ochoa would have been some girl who likes stars.

More and more people are advocating for STEAM instruction instead of just STEM because they understand that creativity leads to inspiration and spurs innovation. Art helps students learn how to analyze and interpret, describe and communicate. It requires a person to work steadily and value the results. All these skills must be nurtured and developed through exposure to the arts.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reason 12 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?

Report: Humanities, social science education needed for innovation along with STEM

A workforce lacking robust a humanities and social science education could be just as detrimental to the country’s future economic competitiveness as one deficient in science and technological expertise, according to an American Academy of Arts and Sciences report released Wednesday.

“The Heart of the Matter” aims to highlight the importance of humanities and social sciences to the country’s economic future and urges Americans to value a well-rounded education. The findings are the social science community’s answer to a 2007 report that pushed the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education into the national spotlight.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Reason 13 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?

Can the U.S.'s Science Education Initiative Succeed Without the Arts? A Growing Chorus Says No
by Kyle Chayka * although originally published in May 2012
the article is still very relevant emphasizing our need to move

 Thomas Eakins, "The Agnew Clinic," 1889 Courtesy of Wiikpaintings
Though the buzz within the contemporary art world lately has been about rising auction prices and sales records, art has entered the national conversation in another, quieter form that might have escaped the eyes of gallerists and curators. The acronym STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and it has recently become a byword for education reform and the drive to improve America’s competitiveness in those global arenas. Now, some critics of the effort are arguing that STEM leaves out one of the most important areas of human achievement — the arts. STEM, they say, should be turned into STEAM.

In a post for Scientific American, science editor and blogger Steven Ross Pomeroy explores STEM, calling it an “unobjectionably worthwhile endeavor,” but also finding fault with its lack of consideration of the arts. Pomeroy cites Leonardo da Vinci, Carl Jung, and the 11th-century Chinese polymath Su Song as

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Reason 14 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?

Turn STEM to STEAM: Why Science Needs the Arts

Last month my institution, California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco, selected scientist Amory Lovins to deliver the commencement speech and to receive an honorary doctorate. I'm sure many people in the audience were wondering why CCA, a school of the arts, chose a scientist for this honor. What could a world-renowned physicist say that would resonate with a group of artists, architects, designers, curators, and writers? Plenty, as we all found out.

Artists and Scientists: A Cultural Divide?

On the face of it, physicists and artists don't seem to have much in common. The raw materials couldn't appear to be more different. Artists often deal in imagery, metaphor, illusions, shifting perceptions, and emotions. Scientists employ numbers, equations, and data.

Reason 15 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?

The STEM to STEAM Initiative Receives a Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award

Based on the studies of Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen and helmed by Tribeca’s Craig Hatkoff, The Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards (TDIA) celebrates those whose ideas have broken the mold to create significant impact. Christensen’s original Disruptive Innovation Theory explained how simpler, cheaper technologies, products, and services could decimate industry leaders. TDIA showcases applications of disruptive innovation which has spread far beyond the original technological and industrial realms into the fields of healthcare, education, international development, politics and advocacy, media, the arts and entertainment.

Read more about 10 Lessons Learned from the Disrupting Innovation Awards

Monday, June 17, 2013

Reason 16 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?

Building up STEAM: Adding the arts into STEM education efforts


National, state and local leaders have long pushed for investments in STEM education, which stands for the critical areas of science, technology, engineering and math. Yet a growing number of advocates believe these fields are missing a key component to truly ignite innovation – the arts. They argue that the arts nurture a creative ability to identify and view problems from different perspectives. For Ohio schools, turning STEM into STEAM poses significant challenges, starting with the breakdown of traditional barriers that delineate educational disciplines.

Students work in Columbus College of Arts & Design’s College Preview Program
"Scientists and artists are both trying to get a better understanding of the world around us, but they are doing it through different lenses," says Kate Cook, a life science teacher at the Dayton Regional STEM School. "Nothing exists in a vacuum in the real world or in a school. It makes sense when we try to approach problems from multiple perspectives."

The numbers tell an interesting story. According to Ohio's ACT test profile report, approximately 6,000 graduating 2012 seniors intended to pursue arts in college versus 6,500 for engineering. In 2010 and 2011, those leaning toward the arts outnumbered students intending to major in engineering.

Some might argue that this creates an imbalance between degree output and demand for high-growth, high-wage jobs. The point is not moot: leading economic forecasting firm Economic Modeling Specialists, Intl. projects more than 10,000 annual job openings in Ohio for STEM occupations with a median wage of approximately $32 per hour. But STEAM advocates see a huge talent pool capable of meeting the labor market demand in the context of their artistic talents.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

On being an artist and an arts educator...

by Sue Lemmo, a 22 year veteran visuals arts teacher
in Pennsylvania, a member of the PSEA Board of Directors,
the NEA Fine Arts Caucus Executive Board and a vibrant,
energetic and insightful  NEA leader for an arts education
for all of America's students.
Arts educators face many challenges today...in the political climate we live in, just keeping our fine arts programs alive and funded can be a monumental task. In Pennsylvania, after three years of draconian budget cuts many school districts are once again cutting or completely eliminating fine arts programs. And those of us who still remain on the job find ourselves doing more and more with fewer resources. Throw in the demands of our day to day lives and being an arts educator can be just plain exhausting.

Don't get me wrong, I just finished my 22nd year as a visual arts teacher in a small rural Pennsylvania school district. And I love what I do. There is nothing like the feeling I get when one of my students accomplishes a challenging task, creates a stunningly beautiful piece of art, or just feels stronger about their place in the world because of the work we do together in my classroom. Did I mention that I still love what I do?

But maintaining a classroom environment with that kind of drive and energy can sometimes make me forget about my own creative self. Between my  advocacy as a local and region union president, my work with
It is appropriate that this original post
celebrates our 300th post on the NEA
Fine Arts Caucus blogsite.  WTG Sue!
other labor organizations through my position as treasurer of my Central Labor Council, raising two daughters (one in high school and one in college), taking care of two sets of elderly parents (the youngest being 87 years old) and making sure our house doesn't look like an episode of "Hoarders" (Did I mention that I don't love cleaning?) actually making art just seems to get pushed aside.

Over the years I have recognized that my art making energies seem to experience peaks and valleys. So I allow myself to have those times when I am not as actively engaged in creating in-depth time consuming pieces. I have learned that just because I am not in the studio cranking out art doesn't mean that I am letting my creative mind rust away. On the contrary, those times are often when I am generating ideas, doing research, or allowing myself time for creative play. If I don't allow myself those down times I am actually less productive in the studio.

That said, I have been in this valley too long! I have decided that over the next two months, I am going to do my warm ups. So every day, I plan to spend at least 15 minutes doing something that is entirely selfish and productively creative...either getting my hands a little messy in the studio or working on those rough drafts of the stories for books that sometimes wake me up in the middle of the night in the hopes that getting back in the habit will push towards a peak and out of this valley. This post, is Day 1.