Art engineers educational turnaround

This week, Gov. Deval Patrick visited Orchard Gardens, a K-8 school in Roxbury, to announce that the school was among the top performing in the state on last spring’s Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test. Just three years ago, it was among the lowest performing schools in the state.

One of the big changes implemented by Orchard Gardens Principal Andrew Bolt, as we previously blogged about, was to take most of the money being spent on security for the school and invest it in arts programs. As NBCNews.com reported last year, it was not an immediately popular decision:

"In a school notorious for its lack of discipline, where backpacks were prohibited for fear that students would use them to carry weapons, Bott’s bold decision to replace the security guards with art teachers was met with skepticism …”

We have long known that investing in the arts pays off with improved academic achievement. A 2012 report from the National Endowment for the Arts titled, “The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth: Findings from Four Longitudinal Studies masterfully documents this.

This is yet another reason why we are working to elect a mayor Boston who will be a champion of the arts. We want bold strategic planning from City Hall that will integrate the arts into other municipal priorities like education, economic development, and public safety.

How can you help? Pledge to be an arts voter! And raise your arts voice to candidates by tweeting at them, posting on their Facebook walls, and asking them at campaign events where they stand on the arts!

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Create the Vote Coalition Meets With Boston Mayoral Candidate Charlotte Golar Richie

    

Candidate says she would be a champion of the arts, but cautions arts advocates on the ability of a new Mayor to deliver additional support for the arts   

BOSTON, September 20, 2013—The Create the Vote Coalition announced today that Boston mayoral candidate Charlotte Golar Richie met with the Coalition Sept. 5.

The Coalition—a collaboration of Boston’s arts, cultural, and creative institutions convened by MASSCreative—met with Golar Richie at ArtsBoston. Representatives from ArtsBoston, the Boston Children’s Museum, Celebrity Series, Huntington Theatre, and the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, and a working artist questioned Golar Richie about her vision for the arts in Boston.

Golar Richie, who played classical piano growing up and worked as an actor after college, said that the arts have always been “a part” of her life.

“I would say that with me, you will get someone with a real, visceral connection to the arts,” she said. “I have a passion for the arts and the arts can help me address issues such as crime, education, and raising children’s self-esteem.”

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The Improper Bostonian: The Show Must Go On

       

With funding low, Boston theater looks for new ways to shine.

Photo Credit: Adam Detour

improper_bostonian_pic_adam_detour.jpgLindsay Tucker of the Improper Bostonian writes about the current state of the theater scene in Boston and the need for political action in the art, culture, and creative community:

"Those involved in performing arts find it tough to make a living wage here, and theater companies and nonprofit performing arts organizations are constantly on the lookout for innovative ways to raise capital. What’s more, it seems the ongoing mayoral race could really make or break the sustainability of a theater scene on the cusp of vitality."

Tucker interviews Boston theater industry veterans to learn that - despite the lack of funding - the theater community in Boston is growing thanks to both the pioneering virtue of the larger theaters and the blooming presence of small-fringe companies. Read more about the discussion of the creative economy of theater and the political impact of the mayoral race. 

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Globe editorial board: Art matters!

There’s nothing like a prominent mention in a meaty editorial in the Boston Globe to cement an item onto the city’s political agenda. That’s why we were so happy to read yesterday’s editorial endorsing two candidates for Tuesday’s preliminary mayoral election in Boston.

Extolling the ideas that have come from a campaign focused on a “pro-growth agenda,” the editorial board noted: “Boston can leverage its historic institutions and appealing quality of life to make a larger imprint in the world of ideas, business, arts, and human relations.”

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WGBH: How Do The Boston Mayoral Candidates Stack Up On Education And The Arts?

Jared Bowen of WGBH attended the Mayoral Candidate Forum on Arts, Culture, and Creativity last Monday, September 9th. During the evening, Bowen helped build the event's presence on Twitter through his dedicated live-tweeting, and the next morning, he featured the forum in his discussion on WGBH radio with host Bob Seay. 

Listen to his full commentary here.

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Credit Zaw Zaw Aung / Flickr

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Mass Audubon and the Cultural Facilities Fund

The most recent funding Mass Audubon received from the Cultural Facilities Fund was for capital renovations to the Saltonstall Nature Center at Mass Audubon's Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary in Natick, MA. These renovations will allow Mass Audubon to provide improved visitor services and program facilities for all visitors and program participants (adults and children). However, the greatest impact will come from being able to better serve the schools that look to Broadmoor to provide their students with top quality environmental educational programming that supports what the students are learning in their classrooms. Additionally, for many of these children, Mass Audubon's programs can offer a first, and motivational, experience that can lead to a real interest in exploring and understanding the wonders of the natural world. Over 4,500 schoolchildren a year come to Broadmoor, and the ever increasing demand from many MetroWest schools had begun to exceed the capacity of Mass Audubon's facilities.

In addition, the CFF funding will help to make the building, a formerly converted horse barn, universally accessible. Mass Audubon has a strong commitment to universal accessibility, and has made a tremendous investment in time and resources to make their buildings, trails, and programs accessible to all. The CFF has also significantly supported these efforts as well—Mass Audubon is grateful to have received grants for three other capital projects at Mass Audubon sanctuaries; Drumlin Farm, Joppa Flats Education Center, and Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary.

Mass Audubon has many other exciting capital campaigns planned at other sanctuaries throughout the Commonwealth in order to improve services to thousands of visitors, and to inspire young people—the future stewards of our environment—through educational programs.   

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Boston Globe: 10 Ways Boston’s New Mayor Can Boost Local Entrepreneurship

Panos Panay, founder of Sonicbids, wrote an op ed piece for the Boston Globe about local entrepreneurship. Among many great points about creating a supportive start-up culture, Panay emphasized the need for boosting Boston's creativity scene. His message resonates with what the Create the Vote campaign has been working to achieve: greater funding and resources for the creative community in Boston. 

"A recent report by the Startup Genome Project shows a clear correlation between the music and creative scenes of a city and the health of local startups. Resist the urge to cut back on cultural funding, make licensing for music venues easier, and encourage local organizations like the Arts & Business Council which helps artists think like entrepreneurs. Mayor Menino’s Create Boston effort (on whose board I served) was a good start, but the city needs more."

Read more here.

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The Innovation District in Boston. (Tamir Kalifa for The Boston Globe)

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The Boston Globe: Arts community gets mayoral hopefuls’ attention

Globe Staff Reporter, Stephanie Ebbert, spoke with members of the Create the Vote Coalition to gain inside perspective on the arts advocacy campaign. Ebbert's article emphasizes the mayoral race as an opportunity for the arts to enter the political realm and gain a champion of creativity in city hall:

"But the first wide-open mayor’s race in three decades has motivated Boston’s arts community to form a political movement unlike any in recent memory. Arts organizations, youth arts groups, and cultural institutions large and small have banded together to compel the candidates for mayor to articulate a vision for the arts in Boston."

Read the full article here.

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WBUR: Mayoral Candidates Lay Out Plans For Expanding The Arts

WBUR ARTery contributor Ed Siegel recaps the highlights of the forum, including some of the more memorable statements from the 9 candidates. His coverage presents a great opportunity for supporters of the arts who couldn't make it Monday night to understand the political impact of the forum and the engagement of the creative community. 

"It would be silly declaring a winner in such a big field, except for MassCreative and the arts community establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the political life of the city, and perhaps of the state when the governor’s race begins."

Read the full article here. Scroll to the bottom of the page to listen to Ed's piece on WBUR's Morning Edition.

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John Connolly Announces Arts & Culture Agenda

 

Tours Bartlett Yard to Highlight Importance of Community Art Space

On Saturday, September 7, Mayoral candidate John Connolly toured Bartlett Yard in Roxbury to highlight the importance of space for artists and communities to come together, and to announce his agenda for enhancing the role of Arts & Culture in the civic and economic life of Boston.

Bartlett Yard is a former MBTA bus yard that has been turned into a temporary community art space.  Connolly helped the organizers to obtain the necessary permits for the project.

“Bartlett Yard is a great success story of how the city, artists and communities can work together to create exciting and interactive art that adds to the cultural diversity of our city and improves the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” said Connolly.  “The arts enrich our lives, spark our curiosity, bring us together, and make our city a more interesting, welcoming, and vibrant place to live, work and visit.  We should be supporting arts for the social and economic value that they add to the city.”

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