Testimonial #26: Tanisha Christie, Owner/Producer/Director at Aya Arts and Media

How has your life been indelibly touched by a teacher who utilized the arts for whatever reason and acknowledge how they were instrumental in breaking the mold to allow you to become who you are today?

The arts saved my life. I was a latch-key kid, an only child growing up in the city. Participating in choirs and theater in after-school programs not only kept me busy, but also helped me excel in school. Knowing as a young student that my good grades, gave me access to special field trips with the choir was an added incentive.

In high school, my English teacher, Mrs. Loucks, was also the Speech/Debate and Theater teacher. It is through her guidance, that I learned the value of leadership ( I was President of both groups) and was able to hone my creative abilities. Without that experience, that teachers support, those high school programs that were supported by the Principal and the School Board – I WOULD NOT BE WHO AM I TODAY. Those creative experiences during the tumult of teenage maturation, ground me and gave me an outlet that is of value to this day.

How are the arts re-igniting your community and sparking innovation and creativity in your local schools?

In the community of Brooklyn artists are abundant; however, the role of arts within lower income public schools are quickly diminishing. Now that we’re fully ensconced in the digital age, we’ve allowed technology to replace the idea that culture access is a fundamental part of critical thinking and engaged learning. Occasionally, a group of artists will ignite a small program, like a pop-up exhibition of visual artists in the neighborhood, but these initiatives are becoming less and less. But when it does happen, you’ll see young and old, from all different backgrounds congregating and participating in whatever activities are offered. Rarely is any event meagerly attended.

Aya Arts and Media
Against the backdrop of historical moments of social change, Walk With Me follows three women who use theater to inspire, stir and animate our democracy. While at work in prisons, schools, and community centers, the film reveals that one person – one artist – can make a difference.

First Online With Fran Episode 2: Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School Students Speak Out

On April 5, 2013 First Online With Fran asked a group of students from Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School to respond to this statement, “The Arts are extra-curricular and disposable.”

Here’s what they had to say…

“You can’t take away something from someone that goes to bed every night and smile about. . . It helps you find who you are as a person and where you belong in this world.” ~Justin Figueroa

This is a critical moment for the future of education in New York City.

There’s change everywhere in education, and it’s never been a hotter political topic. Major cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and Portland have seen civic leaders join with parents, students, cultural organizations and businesses to expand access to arts education. New York City needs to be on that list.

The NYC Roundtable, together with more than 40 other cultural and educational agencies, invited the declared mayoral candidates to weigh in on what a quality education, including the arts, will look like if they are elected. Their responses are now up for all to see: View the responses now.

To become part of the solution sign a petition right now to show your support for arts and creative learning in New York’s educational future.

Visit CAE’s Arts Education Action Center! Here you’ll find tools, tips, and information to help ensure that all of New York City’s more than one million public school students are receiving an arts education.



Sir Ken Robinson – Educating the Heart and Mind

Sir Ken Robinson speaks during the Dalai Lama Center’s Educating the Heart Series. He discusses the importance of an education that educates not just the mind, but also the heart.

Ask YoYo Ma About Arts Education

Panelists will discuss why they believe arts education is important for today’s generation, and question what needs to be done in society to ensure the arts play a prominent role in the education system.

And what’s even more exciting is that you can join in on the conversation too! Anytime before the session you can tweet your questions or comments about arts education to #AskYoYo or by email to artseducation@artsusa.org with the subject line #AskYoYo.

What is the Difference between Knowing and Understanding?

timthumb[7]Rosie Kerr, MEd
Blogger – The Artistic Edge

I recently read a discussion on LinkedIn about this question and it reminded me of why the arts are so important to preparing children for their future.

Knowing in its traditional North American definition, means being familiar with something. Having the facts in your mind. You know how to drive a car, but do you understand how the car works? You know your husband, but do you understand him?

Understanding involves connecting the facts with a context and grasping how, when and why something exists or occurs. I think most of us know more than we understand. There are also, of course, things we will never fully understand.

One of Einstein’s jewels of wisdom was that, “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” 
Knowing is just the beginning, and understanding is the end goal. Read More…