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Elevating the Meaningful Work of AEP Partner Organizations

Date: 07 December 2016

The Arts Education Partnership (AEP) became a center within Education Commission of the States late last year. As part of its mission, AEP is committed to elevating the meaningful work of its 100+ partner organizations. AEP serves to communicate the power of arts in education, collaborate on new research and policy solutions, convene national experts and thought leaders and connect its partners and the field to useful and timely information to build support for arts as part of a well-rounded education.

In recent months, AEP staff have had the fortunate opportunity to experience first-hand the incredible work going on in our nation’s schools and communities by its partner organizations. In early fall, national experts convened in Denver to highlight partner work at sessions at the AEP National Forum. This national convening also provided a platform to connect AEP partner organizations to the Denver arts stakeholders and the breadth of education policy expertise that Education Commission of the States brings to AEP. You can find great forum resources on our website.

AEP partner organizations are convening their own respective meetings across the nation to address the importance of arts in education and AEP has been lucky enough to be included in many of these events.  In November, a New Jersey Education Thought Leaders’ Summit was held to explore the role of the arts in ESSA’s well-rounded education. Massachusetts Art Education Association hosted their fall conference at Lesley University and focused on the theme of redefining arts education in the state. Furthermore, the National Guild for Community Arts Education gathered for its annual conference in Chicago at the same time the city itself was in the midst of the World Series. There was wonderful energy among participants discussing more equitable access to arts education. The excitement of the Chicago Cubs claiming victory after a long 71-year drought seemed to provide inspiration that anything was possible for the arts in shaping the future.

In a final example, the President’s Commission on the Arts and Humanities held their National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards event at the White House one week after the presidential election. Great curiosity and compassion filled the air as First Lady Michelle Obama and Chairman Jane Chu of the National Endowment for the Arts conferred honors to outstanding after-school and out- of-school programs (many of which are supported by AEP partner organizations) that are enriching the lives of young people.

In the coming weeks, AEP staff look forward to continuing involvement with partner organizations who include us in their endeavors.  We seek to understand the work, make connections with complementary projects and partner organizations and share the great successes that are underway.

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