2023 DMV Town Halls Reflection

The National Guild for Community Arts Education is committed to facilitating conversations that drive the evolution of arts learning. This Fall, we had the pleasure of deepening our connection with community arts educators and leaders through a series of Town Halls held in Washington DC, Richmond, and Baltimore. Guided by the Guild's Executive Director, Quanice Floyd, these meetings were a true embodiment of our commitment to listening and engaging with the voices of those at the forefront of arts education.

These Town Halls were not only meetings but vibrant hubs of discussion, with participants contributing their insights and experiences. It was through these robust exchanges that we were able to grasp the intricacies of needs from both current and potential Guild members. Now, let's delve into the substance of those conversations and reflect on the emerging themes that are steering the Guild’s path forward.

Town Hall Insights: A Tapestry of Community Voices

Participants at each location brought a myriad of topics to the table, emphasizing the diversity of our community’s interests and concerns. The conversations spanned a range of subjects crucial to the fabric of arts education:

  • Arts and Community Engagement: We discussed the transformative role of the arts in community building and the power of arts educators to guide students in becoming active participants in their local and global communities through their art.
  • Funding and Grants: Conversations often circled back to the challenge of securing funding, with many seeking guidance on the grant writing process and sharing innovative models for supporting arts education.
  • Advocacy for Arts Education: The group exchanged strategies for advocating arts education at various levels, recognizing the need to communicate its value more widely.
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility: Ensuring that arts programs are inclusive and representative remains a recurring concern, with discussions on addressing systemic barriers in the arts education sector.

In-Depth Exploration of Community Needs

Our discussions were not just about sharing ideas but also about shedding light on the hurdles faced by the community arts education sector:

  • Funding and Resources: A commonly voiced challenge was the scarcity and inaccessibility of funding, as well as the restrictive nature of funding cycles.
  • Program Constraints: Many noted the need to navigate constraints in program delivery, often having to reframe arts education to align with funding opportunities.
  • Staffing and Compensation: Conversations revealed that issues of compensation, recruitment, and understaffing are widespread and need urgent attention.
  • Accessibility & Collaboration: There was a strong call for improved access to resources and advocacy tools, and the desire for collaboration across all demographics.

As we process the wealth of feedback from these Town Halls, we are reminded of the power that collective insights hold in shaping our mission. The energy, challenges, and aspirations shared by participants will directly inform our future initiatives and support structures.

Your engagement is crucial. Here's how you can make a tangible difference:

Become a Member: Join us today and be part of a growing voice that advocates for the essential role of the arts in education. Join Now

Save the Date: Mark your calendar for the 2024 National Conference, which will be held April 9-12 2024 in Washington, DC. Anticipate a gathering filled with opportunities for professional growth, networking, and community building. Save the Date

We graciously and humbly thank all who took the time to be in community with us and their community arts education community! Let's not just continue the conversation but deepen it, inspire change, and prepare for a conference that will be our most interactive and impactful yet. We eagerly await the opportunity to welcome you into our Guild community. Together, we will shape a vibrant future for community arts education.

Huge thanks to all of our partners and vendors who supported our Town Halls:

DC - DC Arts and Humanities Education CollaborativeDC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Nourrir Cuisine

Richmond - Lily Black, RVA Cheese Girl

Baltimore - The Cube, Xquisite Catering

Photographer - Ceylon Mitchell

Love and Roses to Ariel Davis who organized these Town Halls and helped our small team do big things!

Published: November 08, 2023