May 27, 2008
Executive Director's Column
Dick Deasy, founding director of the Arts Education Partnership (AEP), has announced he will retire later this year after 13 years of exemplary leadership firmly establishing the primary forum for advancing arts education in the United States. We are reminded that, in addition to the valuable achievements of the individual state arts agencies, they have collectively—through AEP and NASAA—demonstrated vision, leadership and the capacity to make an impact in the quality and reach of arts education.
The arts education accomplishments and products of NASAA include:
Arts & Education Handbook: A Guide to Productive Collaborations (1988)
Published by NASAA the same year as the NEA’s Towards Civilization and Charles Fowler’s Coming to Our Senses, this book documents the broadening of state arts agency leadership in arts education from a focus on artist residencies and student exposure to curriculum development, in-service education, certification, materials, facility design, research and advocacy. It advised artists and arts education advocates on how to affect local school policy making, and how to draw upon the resources of state and local arts agencies.
Arts Education Leadership Fund (1994-1996)
With an initial commitment of more than half a million dollars by the Getty and Tremaine foundations, NASAA and the National Endowment for the Arts raised more than one million dollars from private sources dedicated to organizing the efforts in 37 states (with $10-30,000 seed grants) to include the arts in state projects implementing the Goals 2000 federal education program that preceded No Child Left Behind. NASAA administered this fund and the Arts Education Partnership continued networking and building the state-level infrastructure that advances arts education. We stopped counting after documenting more than $10 million in Goals 2000 arts education funding. Recently, the mapping approach developed in New Jersey for their Leadership Fund project was applied in California, helping to make the case for that state’s $500 million capital allocation and $109 million budget appropriation specifically for arts education.
Eloquent Evidence: The Arts at the Core of Learning (1995-98)
NASAA, with the assistance of the Arts Education Partnership and support from the GE Fund, produced for the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, the first widely distributed (450,000 copies) pamphlet describing for a lay reader the research linking arts education to a variety of beneficial educational outcomes.
The Arts Education Leadership Network Initiative (2001-2002)
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation funded NASAA to convene as partners the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Arts Education Partnership to
- explore what state-level arts education support networks could accomplish
- foster the professional development and leadership skills of state arts agency arts education managers
- enhance communication and sharing of information about arts education
The publication For the Greater Good: Frameworks for Advancing State Arts Education Partnerships, which modeled for all states the accomplishments achieved by five state arts agency-state department of education-statewide arts education alliance partnerships
A national convening of the fine arts consultants of state departments of education, which contributed to the founding and current activity of their professional network, State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE)
Completion of the Arts Education Manager Self-Assessment Tool, which guides the professional development of state arts agency arts education staff, and serves as a model for other state arts agency staff development tools
Accomplishments and products of the Arts Education Partnership (founded in 1995 and co-managed by NASAA and the Council of Chief State School Officers) include:
- With sustaining support from the U.S. Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Arts, creating the first-ever and current national coalition for arts education, engaging 100+ key stakeholder groups in education, philanthropy, civic leadership, business, the arts, and arts education
- Publication of national priorities for arts education research (1997)
- Gaining the Arts Advantage: Lessons from School Districts that Value Education (1999) and More Lessons from School Districts that Value Arts Education (2000), which identify the factors in leadership, reflective practice and community engagement that correlate with strong arts education programs
- Publication of Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic Development (2002), which documented and evaluated the growing research literature on transfer between arts learning and other educational benefits; see also Critical Evidence (2006), a summary of research findings for the lay reader interested in understanding and communicating the value of arts education
- Third Space: Where Learning Matters (2005), which offers an analysis of how learning in the arts takes place and why that process affects school systems positively as learning environments
- http://www.theimagination.net (2008), website featuring the research and polling project conducted by AEP that documents broad public support for arts learning as a factor linked to the cognitive skills of imagination and the education outcome of innovation; recently the subject of a very well attended NASAA webinar
Let me take this opportunity, as a member of the AEP governance committee and on behalf of the NASAA family, to acknowledge Dick Deasy’s unique intelligence, extraordinary management skills, and success in building a strong coalition. His insights, methods and accomplishments will continue to inspire us. We wish him and his loved ones continued success and happiness.
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