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600+ Community Arts Education Leaders to Convene in Chicago

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Oct 29, 2013

More than 600 leaders from 350 community arts education organizations across the United States will convene at the 76th annual Conference for Community Arts Education in Chicago from October 30 – November 2 to discuss strategies for making arts education more accessible to people of all ages, aptitudes, and backgrounds. The conference will be held at the Fairmont Chicago, with pre-conference institutes on Oct. 30 at the Chicago Cultural Center.

The conference is the only national gathering tailored to address the specific interests and needs of nonprofit community arts education providers—community music schools, arts and cultural centers, youth theaters, dance studios, museum education departments, etc.—dedicated to making high quality arts learning opportunities accessible to all. In an era of increasing financial inequity, the role these organizations play is increasingly important, as many people turn to them to for subsidized instruction of the highest quality.

Dramatic shifts in demographics, technology, education, and our understanding of human development are creating opportunities for arts education leaders to re- imagine how they can increase their organization's impact and better serve their communities. Chicago's new district-wide Arts Education Plan—part of Chicago's first cultural plan in 25 years—provides a compelling example of how collective impact efforts can help galvanize support and align resources to provide universal access to arts education. Other strategies to be discussed include cross-sector collaborations; new technologies to extend and enhance teaching and learning; methods for increasing organizational diversity and inclusivity; and techniques for increased sustainability and growth.

This year's conference program will also investigate how the arts are effectively employed in the fields of youth development, community development, and creative aging. Key sessions include:

Keynote Address by Don Marinelli: Catching Up to Kids: How Technology is Remaking Arts Education (Oct. 31, 10:00 - 11:30 am CT): Working at the frontier of arts and technology integration, Don Marinelli—co-founder of the world-renowned Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) and a former professor of drama and arts management at Carnegie Mellon University—will explore how technology is changing student learning and educational paradigms and how community arts education providers can harness its potential. This keynote address kicks off the arts education technology track at the conference.

Keynote Address by Warren Simmons: Building Smart Education Systems: Your Role in a Community-Wide Approach to Public Education (Nov. 1, 10:15 -11:45 am CT): Warren Simmons is the executive director of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University and one of the nation's foremost education leaders. His refreshing vision for teaching and learning emphasizes the important role of community-based organizations in students' success. Simmons will explore some of the key factors contributing to the current state of public education in the US: the backlash against the test-driven accountability movement, the Common Core State Standards, new calls for enrichment opportunities, and the need to expand learning time. He'll share key principles behind what the Annenberg Institute for School Reform calls "Smart Education Systems," a bottom-up approach to educational reform that centers on creating community-wide coordination among schools, nonprofits, businesses, and civic organizations to provide young people with a holistic range of opportunities and supports. Moderated by Sarah Cunningham, former director of arts education at the National Endowment for the Arts, and current executive director of research at the School of the Arts Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA.

Annual Awards Luncheon (Nov. 2, 12:30 - 2:15 pm CT): The National Guild will honor Shirley Brice Heath, professor at Stanford University, for her groundbreaking research on the impact of community organizations and informal learning environments on youth and community development, and Dennie Palmer Wolf, principal at WolfBrown in Cambridge, MA. Wolf focuses on the design, implementation, evaluation, and research that help communities examine and improve how young people and their families' gain access to learning, culture, and creativity, in and outside of formal institutions.

Staff, faculty, trustees, and teaching artists at community arts education organizations and programs are encouraged to attend the Conference for Community Arts Education. Detailed program, schedule, and registration information is available at www.communityartsed.org. Delegates may register onsite beginning October 30. Major conference supporters include the National Endowment for the Arts, MetLife Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, MacArthur Foundation, Polk Bros.Foundation, Baker and McKenzie, and The Barthelmes Foundation.


Pictured Above: SAY Si, San Antonio, TX

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education. www.nationalguild.org