Saturday, November 22, 2014

STEM vs STEAM: Why Are We Still Debating This?

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education. STEAM is the addition of 'A' for the Arts. The STEM initiative arose out of concern that the U.S. was falling behind globally in those areas. According to the U.S. Department of Education only 16 percent of high school students are interested in a STEM career and have proven a proficiency in mathematics. (Source:

While I understand those concerns, what we need is a well-rounded education, balanced by subjects based in logic (STEM) and those in the Arts, e.g. visual art and design, drama, and music. A diet that is missing protein is bad for us. An education that is missing the Arts is also deficient.

Innovation is inherently a creative process and we need to practice creativity. To suggest that grade school education doesn't need the Arts is short-sighted.

As a parent, does your child's school include art, music and drama? If not, this is the time to start advocating for the arts.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Budget Cutting Made Simple-Cut the Arts

Yet another story of a government agency trying to manage their budget by cutting the arts. This is from the state of Michigan:

In each of the last seven years, the arts and culture industry, despite its vital and significant economic and social contributions, has faced unprecedented cuts in state funding, with dollars drastically dwindling from approximately $27 million in 2002 to Gov. Jennifer Granholm's proposed budget of $1.8 million for 2010.

As if to pour more salt on a potentially mortal wound, a tax on entertainment is once again under consideration. Proposed by the governor, the state sales tax would be expanded to include a tax on tickets purchased for every professional concert, performance or sporting event. Under the proposal, none of the monies earned through the tax, to date, are earmarked for reinvestment in the arts.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A "Good News" Post

For a change, some good news for people in the arts community:

The N.E.A. is currently funded at $155 million, and the White House had requested an increase to $161 million. The agency received an additional $50 million through the stimulus bill. This summer, the House approved $170 million for the arts endowment, while the Senate proposed $161.3 million. The final budget was decided in conference this week and passed by a vote of 247-178 in the House and 72-28 in the Senate.

“This important budget increase recognizes the essential role the arts play in our lives, schools, and communities,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and chief of Americans for the Arts, an advocacy group, in a statement.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Essence of Who We Are

Couldn't have said it better myself. Now if only we can get politicians and the people holding the purse strings to agree...

"Specifically, a generation raised without awareness of the arts, without the opportunity to experience the arts themselves by making music, making drawings, making poems, is a disenfranchised one. Art is the essence of who we are and our society is strengthened whenever young people are given the opportunity to directly share this legacy." Read more at:

Friday, October 09, 2009

National Arts and Humanities Month

Visit the Americans for the Arts home page below to find out how you can celebrate the arts during the month of October (and all year round). If you're a parent, make sure your school is doing something to support the arts. As an employee, you can suggest that your company supports the arts, perhaps by sponsoring an event or an artist. Every little bit helps!

What is National Arts and Humanities Month?National Arts and Humanities Month (NAHM) is a coast-to-coast collective celebration of culture in America. Held every October and coordinated by Americans for the Arts, it is the largest annual celebration of the arts and humanities in the nation. From arts center open houses to mayoral proclamations to banners and media coverage, communities across the United States join together to recognize the importance of arts and culture in our daily lives.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Once Again, Arts Programming Needs Help in Schools

Research supports the fact that children who have arts programs in their education do better overall than children who do not. Even so, the arts are still though of as "only if we have the money" programs. So, this type of news story will continue to appear until we all get the message.

People in Utah, this is a woman that needs your help.

"According to a September 22 press release by the Friends of Art Works for Kids, the Utah State Legislature in 2008 voted to fund the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program. Under the direction of the Utah Arts Council, the program provides quality integrated arts instruction to more than 50 elementary schools in 20 districts across Utah. It currently serves approximately 30,000 students.

Sorenson's goal is to see arts education in every elementary school in Utah."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bad Economy Hits Local Culture

This is a local story, but it is being repeated all over the country. When the economy is bad, things that aren't a priority for living go by the wayside. If it comes down to a choice, will you put food on the table or go to see a local theater group put on a play? That would be a no-brainer. Here's another thought: instead of your morning coffee at Starbucks, bring it from home for a week and donate the money to a local arts organization.

Why? Because local arts organizations enrich lives. They bring in people from outside your community to spend their dollars inside your community. They provide opportunities for people to socialize with like-minded people and research after research proves that people with healthy relationships have healthier lives than people who don't. And we should all spend a portion of our time in the real world, not just the virtual one.

The local theater group here is the Town Square Players of Woodstock, Illinois. Support them if you can.