Good news for those who may despair about arts education. While there’s still plenty of room for more programs and better arts opportunities for growing creative minds, valuable programs like the LA County Arts Ed Collective are still fighting the good fight, and have been doing so for a decade and a half. Read below about the Collective, how it works, and what they’re doing.
The big key: cheer them on, but don’t sit on the sidelines and leave it up to the agencies. Find out what you can do to help, and then go make some noise on your own. Find or found a program that promotes creative work for future generations. It is only through collective effort that we will ensure a future for arts ed. Find your niche and give it all you’ve got. After all, art is a crucial part of building a better world.
Press release follows.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Los Angeles County Arts Education Effort Reach 15-Year Milestone
LA County Educators, Arts Organizations and Advocates Work to Make the Arts Core in Public Education
June 15, 2017 – The Los Angeles County Arts Education Collective (Arts Ed Collective), formerly Arts for All, marks 15 years of significant progress in advancing arts education across the region with a name change, the launch of a new website and a public announcement of the Arts Education Innovation Lab. The work of hundreds of community partners has continued to grow over the last 15 years, and new attention is aimed at surfacing innovative solutions for reaching full scale so that all students engage in the arts as a core part of their schooling.
In 2002, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors established the Arts Ed Collective to align local partners with the shared goal that all of LA County’s 1.5 million public school students receive ongoing, quality arts instruction. Staff of the LA County Arts Commission coordinates the regional effort and the LA County Office of Education (LACOE) provides curriculum support to school districts. Strategic guidance for the Arts Ed Collective comes from the 13 member Leadership Council, with additional support from the Funders Council, comprised of 27 private funders.
LA County’s 81 school districts range from rural to urban, some with one school and others with hundreds of schools, making the Arts Ed Collective uniquely positioned to investigate how to build infrastructure that ensures every student, regardless of zip code, has access to high quality arts instruction. “The democratization of culture means achieving equity in the access and content of arts instruction,” says Laura Zucker, Executive Director, Arts Commission. “Sixty-five LA County school districts and four charter networks are now part of the Arts Ed Collective, and the initiative is on track to reach all 81 school districts in the County by 2020.”
Surmounting challenges, such as the Great Recession and shifting education policies, the initiative proudly boasts a number of key accomplishments over the last 15 years:
- 65 board-approved school district policies and strategic plans for arts education
- $3.8M granted to support arts education in schools
- $10.8M raised by the Funders Council
- 74 LA County school districts and four charter networks participated in the Arts Ed Profile Countywide data collection
- 500 system-involved youth received arts instruction as part of a cross-agency endeavor to embed the arts into LA County’s juvenile justice reform
- 4,000 educators trained in connecting the arts with core subjects through the Technology Enhanced Arts Learning (TEAL) project
While the Arts Ed Collective marks 15 years of progress, it also looks ahead with the initiation of the Arts Education Innovation Lab (Innovation Lab). The Innovation Lab gathers experts from across sectors to address scale and equity of arts instruction for LA County public school students. Together they will generate new solutions for moving the work beyond incremental change and catapult arts education over the next 15 years. The Innovation Lab has hosted a series of convenings, workgroups and in-depth discussions, and is led jointly by the Arts Ed Collective, Arts for LA and LACOE.
The work of the Innovation Lab dovetails with the LA County Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative, an 18-month public process that produced 13 recommendations to the LA County Board of Supervisors to ensure that everyone in LA County has equitable access to arts and culture. Four of the recommendations propose support for arts education. “Now more than ever, we want to ensure that all students, in every classroom, in each public school, receive a well-rounded education, and that the arts remain core to student success,” shares Denise Grande, Director of Arts Education at the LA County Arts Commission.
Educators, arts organizations, teaching artists, grantmakers, advocates and other stakeholders, as well as school districts and charter school networks are collectively responsible for advancing arts education over the last fifteen years. The transition to the new name, the Los Angeles County Arts Education Collective, more clearly acknowledges the shared nature of the regional effort.
The new LACountyArtsEdCollective.org highlights the work of all these partners and features an improved platform for accessing resources and staying informed. The site also includes a directory of arts organizations working in school districts across the region and offers models of best practices for practitioners and advocates.
There will be numerous opportunities to celebrate the anniversary throughout the 2017-18 school year, including the Arts Education Summit on December 8, 2017 where the Arts Ed Profile report and findings will be released. To learn more, follow @LACountyArtsEd on Facebook and Twitter, sign up for the Arts Ed Collective newsletter or visit LACountyArtsEdCollective.org.
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