#WeAllDeserveArts: Jannah Muhammad & Ty’Candice Smith, AEMS 2020 Bloomberg Arts Internship Fellows

October 16, 2020

Throughout the summer of 2020, AEMS was honored to work with Bloomberg Arts Internship Fellows Jannah Muhammad & Ty’Candice Smith. They conducted interviews with a wide range of Marylanders, from students to the leaders of statewide arts agencies.

Please enjoy their culminating video, featuring selections of these interviews, supplemented by their own visual illustrations of the interviewees!

#WeAllDeserveArts

Jannah Muhammad is a Baltimore City Public Schools Student. She aspires to be a fashion photographer and branch out into film. She has experience in filmmaking, scriptwriting, editing, and photography, including the creation of her first film, a deeply personal project.
Ty’Candice Smith is a Baltimore City Public Schools Student. Her interest in art began with an art teacher who taught her that there were no mistakes in art and only new discoveries.

October 9, 2020

March 13, 2020 will go down in history as the day the earth stood still for arts education in many places, but specifically for teachers and students of Baltimore City Public Schools. This was the day that schools closed in Maryland for the first two weeks of a statewide quarantine due to the novel COVID-19. We didn’t know it at the time, but this would eventually result in schools across the state remaining closed to face to face instruction for the remainder of the school year. For already underfunded school systems like Baltimore City, this could have been catastrophic for fine arts instruction. For decades, Baltimore City Public Schools has been underfunded to the tune of about $342 million. I am taking the opportunity to write about the resilience of our teachers and our students amid the politics that often serve as barriers to many opportunities that are afforded to their counterparts in surrounding counties whose funding structures are different from that of the Baltimore City. Unequivocally we believe #WeAllDeserveArts.

Baltimore City Public Schools Fine Arts is an act that is good and getting better in spite of challenges, some historic, others due to the pandemic. Given the enormity of having to make an immediate shift in how we instruct in fine arts disciplines, our teachers rose to, and met the challenge of virtual instruction with fervor and grace. It seems only fitting that during National Arts in Education Week the real superheroes are highlighted and celebrated for their courageous efforts to go where no arts teacher in this lifetime has gone before… the virtual arts instruction frontier. I have the immense pleasure of working with a little over 200 visual and performing arts rockstars that rallied together to discuss, write and implement new curricula that would support a new way of teaching and learning. Our students and our teachers have been asked to do what was thought to be the impossible: engage in meaningful arts instruction without the interpersonal connections that fine arts teachers and their students thrive upon. Although we are just two weeks in for virtual instruction our teachers and students are making the best of our current situation.

Fitted with curricula that emphasize student voice and is reflective of artists with whom students can relate I think that we are well on our way to soaring beyond where even our imaginations can take us. While I could write pages about the challenges that we push against on a daily basis, I thought it more appropriate to herald the 200+ sliver linings I find in my work and 79,187 reasons I have to keep pushing for equity in arts opportunities for Baltimore City Public Schools. #WeAllDeserveArts.

#WeAllDeserveTheArts

Chan’nel Howard is the Coordinator of Fine Arts for Baltimore City Schools. She is a proud graduate of Baltimore City Schools and considers her work “soul work” as it gives her the opportunity to pay forward all of the love and investment made in her from music teacher during her tenure as a student in City Schools.

October 2, 2020

Artistic expression releases the creativity of its creator, and it inspires arts enthusiasts to use their imaginations to see the world from new perspectives. The arts open doors to social expression, emotional connections, and increased efficacy in academics (Silverstein and Layne, 2010). Painting, sculpting, music, dance – all of these disciplines afford children an opportunity to develop and enhance their coordination, build their confidence, and hone their talents. The value of arts education has been debated for years, and although there is a continuing movement toward arts integration and social emotional learning (SEL), Bowen and Kisida (2019) studied of over 10,000 upper primary and middle school students in Houston TX who were intermittently exposed to arts education, and concluded that have concluded that students receiving arts education had fewer disciplinary issues, increased efficacy in language arts, and amplified emotional capacity for compassion.

The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) understands the value of arts education. For over 50 years, PTA has advocated for arts education and nurtured artistic development in public school students through its Reflections Arts Program and Competition. The goals of this program, that reaches over 300,000 Pre-K-12 students, encourages critical thought and ideas and the exploration of viewpoints, advances artistic literacy, and increases student confidence which helps nurture success in academics and in life. The Maryland PTA administers the Reflections program for the state with the goal of reaching every public-school student in every county in Maryland.

The Reflections competition features six arts categories at every grade division – dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography, and visual arts. There is also a competition for special artists in each arts category. To enter, students must be students at a public school that meets the standards of affiliation with the Maryland PTA. And all submission must the original work of each student entrant.

By engaging children in the selection of contest themes, and then awarding winners for not only their talent but also their interpretation of the theme through their art form, Reflections builds confidence and success in the arts by supporting the social emotional learning needs of children. Part of the program’s success is that it allows students to produce and exhibit their comprehension as demonstrated in their art form. It also promotes student engagement in the creative process – from interpretation to performance – thereby connecting the art form and language arts. Students of every age can benefit from this approach because the competition helps them to draw on their prior knowledge and reflect on what a concept (theme) means to them. It also provides an opportunity for students to enrich their understanding of a concept (theme) (Silverstein and Layne, 2010).

Programs like the PTA Reflections Arts Program is a prime example of engaging students in the creative process and rewarding their efforts, thereby building confidence in each child’s ability to excel. Parents, staff, and faculty must consider the long-range aptitude of our students and the potential benefits of this type of arts engagement. All of us should consider their gifts and talents, and then encourage that development. Ask them: What do you do well? How can you use your creative self to do what I enjoy doing so much? Whether they sing, dance, paint pictures, do edits with photos or video, play an instrument, act, or take photos, we undoubtedly should support and nurture their talents, encourage them to hone their crafts, and engage them in activities that expand their artforms. Now is the time to get our students involved in the arts.

#WeAllDeserveTheArts

Dr. Tracy L.F. Worley, PMP, is a scholar and educator, writer, researcher, project manager, and independent motion picture producer. She teaches English and advanced composition in the University System of Maryland and she holds Masters Certificates in Project and Program Management, as well as degrees from Syracuse University (BA), Howard University (MFA),
and University of Phoenix (DM).

September 25, 2020

#WeAllDeserveArts: Art education is the most essential preparation for adult life

“How can I bottle this feeling, and pass it on?”

These were my thoughts as I sat in a fake broom closet made of plywood, on the stage of a 300-seat theatre, with a live audience of spectators totally wrapped up in the action that was taking place just outside my thin door. I knew that in less than 90 seconds, I would burst through the door – “shocking” the other actors onstage – in a scene that would culminate in the final climactic moments of the story we had been telling for almost 2 hours.

It was thrilling. It was one of a handful of moments where I realized, with searing clarity, how the experience of performing is so unique and special. There is an exhilaration that happens when extensive preparation is paired with the unknowable nature of live theater. The ways in which these types of experiences have helped me navigate situations in my adult life – situations that have nothing to do with theater or performing – are innumerable. Ask any actor to tell you a story of when they “went up” on their lines (essentially forgetting everything they’ve rehearsed for the past 6+ weeks) and you’ll get a fully re-enacted horror story of the initial embarrassment and shock, but then eventually, you’ll hear how they regained composure and powered through, despite wanting to crawl into a hole and die. Or you’ll hear how a fellow actor stepped in and saved the day, their brain able to adjust instantly under pressure and improvise a way out of the mess.

It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to see how these experiences come in handy as one moves into adulthood. Think about being confronted by an angry customer making a scene in the shop you manage. Or how you would handle crowd control at an outdoor venue when the rope-line you ordered didn’t arrive in time. Or how you might quickly troubleshoot AV issues in front of an expectant crowd of 200 conference attendees in a hotel ballroom. (These are mild examples plucked from my work history – if you want to hear about my time as a sleep technician, we’ll need to grab a drink.)

My hope for students of all ages is that they can experience that exhilarating feeling – trying to paint the vision in their mind and not knowing what the next brush stroke will bring, or hearing their instrument play in harmony with their best friend after weeks of practice. In my experience, this feeling has been wonderful preparation for life, and the unknowns and challenges that come with navigating the world as an adult. Art is such a beautiful and forgiving way to practice the skills required to take that leap, trust your instincts, and face your fears. All children deserve the opportunity to practice these skills, and to have the preparation that will allow them to place their best foot forward as they grow into adulthood. Because if the year 2020 has shown us anything – there is no formula or playbook to follow in a crisis, or when things don’t go as expected. To be completely honest, as I type this, my 2nd grader is less than 10 ft away, shouting at her classmates in her Microsoft Teams meeting. I’m not quite sure how we’ll get through these next few weeks as I continue to attempt to work full-time and add value to the Foundation team – but I do know how to improvise and how to maintain a sense of humor when things seem impossible. And that will make all the difference.

#WeAllDeserveTheArts

Sabrina Thornton is the Program Officer for Creativity and Innovation at the T. Rowe Price Foundation, where she also oversees the Capacity Building program. She joined the Foundation team after working as an actress, director, producer, teaching artist and arts administrator at regional theaters across the US for 10+ years.

September 18, 2020

#WeAllDeserveArts: Involvement in Arts Education Leads to Character Evolution

Growing up in a small town in North Carolina did not afford me the opportunities to experience the Arts in my elementary education or my local community.  Even when I transferred out of city limits to attend a posh private school, I only experienced visual art and choir until 9th grade.  Fortunately, I had supportive parents who viewed the Arts as part of a well-rounded education. Our family traveled to exhibits at the NC Museum of Art, productions of the National Black Repertory Theatre Festival, and annual performances of the Nutcracker Ballet. My mother, a trained pianist and lyric soprano turned attorney, encouraged me to pursue my love for dance- “as long as it did not interfere with my studies or values.”  Because of the encouragement I received to continue my involvement in the Arts, I was also able to experience an evolution in my character, allowing me to thrive rather than merely survive.  

While pursuing a B.A. in Dance at the University of Maryland College Park, I was also highly involved in religious activities, technical theatre, and had such a free and wondrous spirit that the word “limits” was not in my vocabulary.  So when a series of physical injuries forced me to ask “What else could I do with dance besides perform?” I began to connect the dots between my involvement in the Arts and my evolution as a young woman.  In fact, it was in those moments on the physical therapy table that I realized how dance had prepared me to be the resilient young woman I was becoming.  The fortification of my character through my involvement in the Arts has played a pivotal role in my philosophy and pedagogy as an educator.

In 2010, Common Core Standards were implemented in education and, with it, came the introduction of 21st Century Skills (see figure to the left).   Educators were to reimagine the validity of their content in light of these 12 skills in order to prepare future generations to be competitive in a constantly changing global economy and culture.  However, were we not just reinventing the wheel?  I swiftly discovered that I was a product of 21st Century learning when the Arts were not deemed essential or anything more than a glorified hobby.  Of course, students who participate in Arts education acquire all of these skills in clever and engaging ways!  Reading reviews of professional performances enhanced my information literacy; seeing the backstage process during rehearsals and productions enhanced my technology literacy; creating a schedule to manage my dance classes, academic studies, and other activities developed my critical thinking and creativity skills; seeking out my teachers’ help to develop my technique shaped my initiative and communication skills.  In essence, the development of each of the 21st Century Skills can be directly related to my involvement in dance and Arts education.

Dance helped to define me as the Dance educator, Arts advocate, and Black woman that I am today.  It is because of the discipline I learned from training that I was able to rehabilitate from physical injuries.  It is because of the standards set in class from my teachers, that I have such respect and appreciation for my elders. It is because of my exposure to various forms of dance that I am able to think deeply and critically to find meaning and connection.  Throughout the 10 years of my teaching career, I have purposed to produce critical thinking, self-affirmed, informed, and productive citizens of society using dance and arts education as the foundation.  A student’s character is the byproduct of the deeper connection found beyond the stage and the technique when involved in the Arts. Through Arts education, students can cultivate their own voice and point of view for advocacy, develop their collaboration and communication skills, enhance their writing and literacy skills through journaling and peer reviews, and build their character through integrity, grit, authenticity, and respect for themselves, others, and the art form.  Arts education is a unique tool where young people can experience, embody, and evolve.  Without it, young people are missing out on opportunities to fully develop the skills needed to be competitive in a constantly changing and developing global economy and culture.  This is why #WeAllDeserveArts.

Ashlee McKinnon is an avid dance educator striving to merge the physical pursuit of dance with the development of identity and self-awareness in today’s youth. Currently, she serves as a principal dancer with BREathe Dance Project, and a freelance teacher and choreographer in the DMV area.

September 3, 2020

#WeAllDeserveArts: An Arts Education Policy Perspective 

The Arts Education Partnership (AEP) celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. AEP is part of Education Commission of the States (ECS) and has been supported since 1995 by the National Endowment for the Arts and U.S. Department of Education. ECS is a non-partisan education policy organization, and AEP’s home within ECS means we monitor and report out on policy activity related to arts education. 

As COVID-19 continues to move across the country and new hot spots emerge, states and school districts are individually making decisions about how they are going to serve students they are charged with educating. AEP updates its policy tracking website, ArtScan, every year as a reference for education officials and others. 

Through ArtScan, AEP tracks thirteen different state policies related to arts education, from instructional requirements to requirements for teacher licensure. The 2020 update found all 50 states plus the District of Columbia had academic standards in the arts. On the other end of the spectrum, 14 states had requirements for assessment in the arts. As the 2020 school year continues to unfold, information from ArtScan may serve as a reminder to include the arts in state and district reopening plans. 

In education reopening plans, states are outlining considerations for school districts as they reopen their schools. Some states are releasing arts-specific guidance, either in separate documents or integrated into existing plans, to attend to the unique nature of arts classrooms. For example, the Arizona Department of Education published AZ Arts and Physical Education Re-Entry Guidelines, and the South Carolina Department of Education included the arts in both a section on well-rounded education and an appendix – Guidelines for Classroom Safety and Student/Teacher Health in the Arts – in its AccelerateED Task Force Guidance and Recommendations. AEP will be releasing an updated information request analyzing and reporting out on state reopening plans soon. You can find that information request on AEP’s website

As we continue to talk about children’s access to arts education during times of uncertainty, it’s important to reference existing policies, adapt them to a new context and learn from states and districts that are prioritizing arts learning. Arts education results in valuable student outcomes that are important in navigating an unpredictable world, including increased empathy, emotional regulation and sense of community. Strong policy is one step to ensuring equitable access to arts education for children across the country. 

#WeAllDeserveTheArts

Jamie Kasper is the director of the Arts Education Partnership, a national organization administered by Education Commission of the States and supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and U.S. Department of Education since 1995. Jamie is a musician and music educator who enjoys hiking, gardening, and reading books in her spare time.

The City’s Disconnection from the Arts

August 28, 2020

Premise: Classes affiliated with arts aren’t necessary – FALSE

The arts encourage self-expression, self-awareness, and personal growth. Despite the importance of arts, for decades, students in the Baltimore City Public Schools System (BCPSS) have been deprived of many educational opportunities and resources with art classes being the first to go. 

We are SOMOS (Students Organizing a Multicultural and Open Society), a student-led advocacy group based out of Baltimore City College High School (BCC). SOMOS tackles systemic injustices in BCPSS. We are three SOMOS lead organizers: Aliyah Abid, Kimberly Vasquez, and Yashira Valenzuela. As student activists, we believe #WeAllDeserveArts because of the positive impact we have witnessed it to have on the lives of youth. 

Baltimore City Public Schools have been underfunded for decades. Currently, we are underfunded by 342 million dollars every year by the state. Not only this, but 15% from our local budget goes towards schools, while surrounding districts average out to put 36% of their budget towards their schools. Franca Muller Paz, teacher, musician, SOMOS advisor, and candidate for City Council in Baltimore’s 12th District, believes we need to “put our money behind the kinds of solutions that take care of our people, as opposed to perpetually punishing them and pushing them through the criminal justice system, which we know has not done Baltimoreans any favors.” (Real News Network, August 20, 2020)

Our arts classes at Baltimore City College (BCC) have prepared us for and are the reason we are confident in public speaking, which we find ourselves doing more and more often. For example, during a protest at the Comcast Headquarters on August 3rd in Baltimore, Kimberly gave a speech on the importance of affordable high-speed internet for all, especially BCPSS students. SOMOS created a petition directed to Comcast (the main internet provider in Baltimore City) stating our demands, supported by Baltimore City Council, Baltimore Teachers Union, and 100+ organizations, to improve the internet quality and access in the City. During middle school, Kimberly was provided the opportunity to be a news anchor for her school’s morning announcements. She knows that this was one of the many ways that her arts experiences have helped her build public speaking skills.

As for Aliyah, she believes that a Speech and Dramatic Arts class that she took in her freshman year was very important for her confidence in performing, as well as speaking in front of an audience. The class gave students practice with writing and giving speeches, interviewing others, and performing with unusual but intentional restrictions. In her activist career, Aliyah has given speeches, has been interviewed, and will be interviewing for our podcast, sponsored by the Susan Crowne Exchange, about the digital divide in Baltimore that we will be releasing in partnership with the Digital Harbor Foundation before the end of 2020.

Separately, Yashira has been in the choir since her freshman year. She has expressed that the many learning experiences in choir have led her to want to pursue Social Work in college and how accepted she feels whenever there is a performance. The choir was a healthy outlet for her to express herself when stress from school heavily impacted her mental health. Similarly, BCC rising senior Vincent Bagley views art as a form of expression for all types of emotion. 

As youth in Baltimore, we have experienced two budget cuts in BCPSS that have impacted our schools’ abilities to continue many programs. At our high school, the cut in funding from the state during the 2016-17 school year led to the reduction of classes offered. The budget cuts had a direct impact on students’ curriculum and arts opportunities. During the 2016-17 school year, Aliyah was a freshman and BCC school administration made the decision not to offer arts classes to the following year’s sophomores. While many students in their freshman year opted to take an additional science class in place of an arts class, Aliyah and other sophomores at the time, were denied the option. 

As we know from personal experience, the arts are vital for personal and mental growth, creativity and career aspirations. Our schools need more funding, because without it, students will miss out on the opportunities that the arts offer. And as quoted by Kimberly’s younger sister Darlin, “you don’t want to be THAT kid in class that can’t draw a normal looking cat.”

#WeAllDeserveArts

Kimberly Vasquez (she/her) was raised in Baltimore City and has attended Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPSS) from Pre-K till present. She is a rising senior at Baltimore City College High School, and a former student at Armistead Gardens Elementary/Middle School. She is a lead organizer of SOMOS (Students Organizing a Multicultural and Open Society). She enjoys building organizations to bring about permanent change in the community. 
Yashira Valenzuela (she/her) is a rising senior at Baltimore City College and former student at Armistead Gardens Elem/Middle School.  She is a lead organizer of SOMOS (Students Organizing a Multicultural Open Society) and the founder/director of the English-Spanish Intercambio, a program aimed at improving the English and Spanish literacy rates in Baltimore City. She wants to pursue a career in Social Work in hopes to continue advocating for her community.
Aliyah Abid (she/her) is a recent high school graduate, having attended Cross Country Elementary/Middle School, Mount Royal Elementary/Middle School, Baltimore City College High School. She is a lead organizer of SOMOS (Students Organizing a Multicultural and Open Society) and former organizer of the English-Spanish, a program aimed at improving the English and Spanish literacy rates in Baltimore City. Aliyah will be attending college in the fall of 2020 to study finance in order to consult with local nonprofits and charities after graduation. She hopes to find internships related to social justice or finance in the meantime.

August 21, 2020

Arts education is a civil right. It is a human’s right for expression, for creation, for community, for cultural development, for humanity. It is our responsibility to protect that right and ensure access to and participation in arts education for all students. Over 100 national arts and education organizations signed onto a collective statement affirming the charge that arts education is essential for all students and urging local education leaders to maintain or increase access to arts education in this time of critical need for students.

However, arts educators across the country are experiencing cuts to their programs and positions as district leaders contend with reduced budgets and growing financial pressures. This occurs despite the fact that the arts are considered a core component of a well-rounded education, as defined in the Every Student Succeeds Act. These cuts ignore an overwhelming public will for arts education, in that 91% of the American population agree that the arts are an essential part of a quality education.

These cuts are only the beginning. The Learning Policy Institute estimates a 15% reduction in teaching jobs, as state budgets shrink with lowered tax revenue due to the pandemic. Arts education advocates anticipate that arts educators and their programs will bear a large brunt of these cuts, as we saw happen during the Great Recession. It is also likely that low-income communities and students of color will experience even deeper inequities in access to arts education than currently exist.

We are approaching an overwhelming start to an unprecedented school year. It is challenging to look beyond this moment, with so much uncertainty weighing on the future of our education system. The need for advocacy in arts education, though, is both immediate and long term.

Advocates should continue to fight for reliable access to the arts this school year, with calls for investments in digital technology, broadband access for all, and supports for educators to provide virtual learning in the arts. But we should not lose sight of the upcoming budget challenges beyond this school year. It is imperative that advocates prepare to work with local and state leaders over the duration of this school year to protect and expand access to arts education for the benefit of all students.

As a former Maryland public school student, it was access to the arts in my schools and community that transformed my life. As the parent of two current Maryland public school students, it is my imperative to support AEMS and arts education advocates across the state of Maryland to ensure that all children have equitable access to the arts. Because an education without the arts is not enough.

#WeAllDeserveTheArts.

Kelly Fey Bolender currently serves as Arts Education Program Manager for Americans for the Arts. In this role, she manages several member networks and special projects, supports strategic partnerships, and advocates for equitable policy and systems changes related to the advancement of arts education.

Expanding Our Collective Imagination

August 14, 2020

When a seed of an idea is planted, how do we cultivate the ground for joy and healing to grow? One of the first and foremost conjurers of that joy is the artist. 

Similarly, teaching artists plant threads of possibilities for children, educators, families, and adults to learn about themselves, their environments, and the world around them. They are our critical healers, connectors, and relationship builders in the ecosystem of arts education that includes fine arts specialists, educators, community leaders, families, and learners.

Teaching artists embody intentional adaptability through their collaborative work. Intentional adaptation is an element of Emergent Strategy, a framework that builds upon decades of organizing for justice and liberation written by adrienne maree brown.

“Many of us respond to change with fear or see it as a crisis… A first question to ask ourselves is, how do we practice increasing our ease with what is? Change happens. Change is definitely going to happen, no matter what we plan or expect or hope for or set in place. We will adapt to that change, or we will become irrelevant.”

Aligned with the Emergent Strategy principle of “change is constant, be like water” every teaching artist adapts between phases. Today, the need for teaching artists to shift during a moment of crisis is greater when there is financial instability, families are seeking new ways to teach their children at home, and everyone is looking for connections in this time of extended isolation. And just like water, teaching artists are transitioning: hosting live Instagram or Facebook events, recording performances, including parents that are working at home into their online classes, and fostering virtual communities.

With the importance of teaching artists to lifelong education, it is also important for funders to support their work as entrepreneurs and artists. According to Americans for the Arts, over 94% of artists and creative workers across the nation have experienced a loss of income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, many artists of color who already face systemic economic, social, mental, and medical barriers are especially feeling the brunt of the pandemic. In Arts Administrators of Color’s COVID-19 Survey, 75% of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Maryland artists indicated that their stress and anxiety levels have increased because of financial concerns resulting from the pandemic. 63% said their depression and despair have increased due to the disproportionate impact the pandemic is having on BIPOC communities. But the survey also showed Maryland BIPOC artists have still embraced entrepreneurial resiliency by creating new or repurposing existing artistic and cultural experiences in a virtual format.

To support educators and teaching artists before the pandemic hit, the Maryland State Arts Council convened over 60 editors in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 to revise and update our Arts in Education program to be more reflective of the arts education landscape in Maryland. When the pandemic interrupted in-person experiences, MSAC then convened over a thousand people through several virtual listening sessions to learn how to best support the arts sector and the arts education field. From these conversations, the Arts in Education program implemented actionable items to support creative adaptability:

  1. To ensure funding equity across all 24 counties, especially rural areas, an Equitable Funding Formula was created for school-based programming that considers the rates of Free and Reduced Meal Rates (a statewide measure of education access), school population numbers, and a base amount granted to all counties.
  2. To support teaching artists as artists and connectors, program guidelines include a wider array of programming possibilities such as out of school time programs, field trips, lectures, creative aging, and eliminate time restrictions for residencies and performances. 
  3. To support teaching artists as artists and connectors, communities and populations that can be served by teaching artists have expanded to include students in early learning, pre-K to 12th grade, and people who are incarcerated/experiencing re-entry, people with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness, veterans/military, people from the LGBTQ+ community, and English language learners. Eligibility for schools/sites were clarified to include community centers, libraries, shelters, jails and prisons, parks and recreation centers, and other eligible non-profit organizations.
  4. To support teaching artists as entrepreneurs, we removed financial barriers in budget submissions, included more allowable expenses under the Arts in Education Grant, and encouraged the agency of our teaching artists to set their own fees in full.
  5. Immediate actions in response to COVID-19: Processed full payments to all teaching artists with outstanding grant agreements.
  6. Sustained actions in response to COVID-19: Included online programs as an eligible activity in our Arts in Education Grant, created self-assessment tools to help teaching artists create online programs, modified payment procedures so teaching artists get paid at time of grant approval and after an educational engagement has concluded.

MSAC models our teaching artists’ intentional adaptations by leaning into trust, constant change, and continuous feedback. As we build our Arts in Education program to support Maryland children, adults, families, and teaching artists, we strive to inspire expansive imaginations and dreams to be realized through the arts. 

#WeAllDeserveArts

Precious Blake

Cited Links and Websites

Precious Blake is a visual journalist and arts administrator who makes pathways for equitable access to the arts, truth-telling, and community resilience by working with arts education leaders, curating joyously brave conversations, and creating collaborations that combine her passion for journalism, illustrative archivation, and highlighting historically marginalized voices. Currently, Precious is the Arts in Education Program Director and Accessibility Coordinator at the Maryland State Arts Council.

Join us for a day of exciting, insightful, and compelling experiences to deepen your understanding of anti-racism and abolitionist teaching in arts education. In addition to a keynote by award-winning author Dr. Bettina Love, the symposium will include breakouts that can help you apply these abolitionist principles to your discipline and your classroom.

The Symposium will take place on Saturday, November 21, 2020. Visit the Symposium’s homepage to learn more about ticketing and the schedule of events!

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