Changing the Frame: Arts and Cultural Education as a Civil and Human Right

Led by Jeff Poulin, Amir Whitaker and Quanice Floyd, this sharing session unpacks how leaders can frame arts education as a fundamental civil and human right. The facilitators explore international frameworks, American public policy and two state-based examples so participants can learn how to craft policy and programmatic language to shift the paradigm in their state or community.

Presenter Bios

Jeff M. Poulin is an educator, non-profit administrator and social entrepreneur whose work is grounded in social justice that seeks transformative solutions to society’s greatest challenges. In 2019, he founded Creative Generation, working to inspire, connect and amplify the work of young creatives and those committed to cultivating their creative capabilities. His work is widely published, and he has presented at conferences and universities across the country and around the globe. Jeff currently teaches at several universities and consults with regional, national and global institutions.

Amir Whitaker is a policy attorney with the ACLU of Southern California. Prior to joining the ACLU, Amir represented students and incarcerated youth throughout Florida and Alabama for the Southern Poverty Law Center. Referred to as a “civil rights and education stalwart” by the Daytona Times, Amir has negotiated settlements and policy changes improving the lives of hundreds of thousands of children. He has worked as a researcher with the UCLA and has written for TIME Magazine and other publications. At the ACLU, Amir is responsible for legislation focused on education equity and funding. He is also the founder and director of Project Knucklehead.

Quanice G. Floyd is a renaissance woman who wears many capes. Born and raised in New York City, she has spent over a decade in Washington, D.C., where she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education from Howard University and Kent State University, respectively. Her passion for arts administration led her to pursue her second master’s degree in arts management at American University, and she is currently a doctoral student at Drexel University. Quanice is the founder & director of the Arts Administrators of Color Network and the executive director of Arts Education in Maryland Schools.

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Author profile

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