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AEP State Policy Symposium Connects the Arts and State Policy

Date: 22 March 2017

To build on the Arts Education Partnership’s (AEP) work of aiding states in including the arts as they craft plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), AEP, along with its collaborators Americans for the Arts and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, convened approximately 140 arts in education leaders last Saturday for the 2017 AEP State Policy Symposium. One of AEP’s two major events of the year, the State Policy Symposium offers attendees the opportunity to delve into the major issues and questions facing the arts in state education policy today.

Highlights from the symposium included:

  • Michael Petrilli, President of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and Education Commission of the States Distinguished Senior Fellow, delivered a keynote focused on the future of education reform in the U.S. and potential opportunities for engaging the arts to address emerging issues
  • Two plenary conversations explored how to navigate the shifting political landscape and strategies to leverage federal education funding for the arts in education.
  • Four workshops centered on the priority areas of the AEP 2020 Action Agenda and addressed how states and communities are incorporating the arts into state accountability systems, teacher and school leader training, afterschool programs and building diversity in leadership.

In conjunction with the State Policy Symposium, AEP also released the ArtScan at a Glance: Connecting the States and Arts Education Policy, formerly the AEP State of the States. Designed as a summary of ArtScan – AEP’s online database of state arts education policies across all 50 states and the District of Columbia (D.C) – this updated resource is a quick guide to state-level policy around the arts in education. Highlights from the 2017 update include:

  • Forty-nine states and D.C. have K-12 arts standards. Since 2014, 14 of those states adopted new or revised standards aligned with the National Core Arts Standards.
  • The number of states including the arts in their definition of core or academic subjects increased from 27 to 29 in 2016.
  • Vermont joined Minnesota and Louisiana as the only three states to include media arts in state policy around high school education requirements. In addition, Vermont is the only state to require learning in media arts across all K-12 grades.

To learn more about this day of thought-provoking sessions and hear about how the arts can impact state education policy, follow the Twitter conversation at #AEPSPS17 and subscribe to the ArtsEd Digest, AEP’s biweekly newsletter of arts in education news, events and research. Make sure to also check out our report ESSA: Mapping opportunities for the arts which explores many ways you can incorporate the arts in your state’s ESSA plans.

Title: 2280 Pasos Bajo un Cielo Nublado | Artist: Hernán Jourdan | Medium: Film

When I was asked to create a work of art exploring literacy, I wanted to create a dance but I had no dancers or a studio, so I chose to use my own body in the space I had, my yard. Fluent Nature is video of micro-choreography that explores what cannot be expressed with words, how nature has its own language, and how placing the human body in nature changes the story.

Title: What Is Me and What Is Not Me | Artist: Alex Chadwell | Medium: Music

My thinking on arts and literacy centers around the concept of literacies and artmaking as both sense-making and meaning-making processes that organically and inevitably overlap, intersect, and reciprocate. Compositionally, What is me and what is not me is a sound collage of sorts (there is no notation for the piece, and I'd be hard pressed to recreate it accurately) that abstractly and aurally represents the relationships between literacies and artmaking.

Title: A Curious Honeybee | Artist: Gideon Young | Medium: Film

Offering welcome through traditional and digital elements of literacy, A Curious Honeybee provides an experiential learning environment by activating visual, musical, natural, and emotional literacies.

Title: Tercera Llamada | Artist: Karilú Forshee | Medium: Audio

La Carpa Theatre is a project that I am currently directing in the Detroit Latinx community. The project aims to strengthen and uplift youth voices through devised theatre, in the style of the Mexican Carpas. This audio was created in the theatrical environment envisioned for our project. The ways in which literacies are re-defined are at the heart of La Carpa Theatre's mission.

Title: Literaseas | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite and ink on paper with digital edits

Title: A Riddle | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits

Title: False Binaries | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits