At this month’s Arts Education Alliance of the Bay Area (AEABA) education policy roundtable Youth in Arts Executive Director Kristen Jacobson, who serves on the Board of Directors for the alliance, joined other arts leaders from the Bay Area to present on and discuss strategies for bringing more arts education to students throughout the Bay Area.
The convening was an opportunity for arts leaders from Marin, San Mateo, San Francisco, Contra Costa and Alameda counties to share their work on developing arts education master plans to improve accessibility for arts learning. Youth in Arts has been a leader in the development of Marin County’s Arts Education Plan. Its purpose is to provide a road map to ensure that every student in the county has access to a quality arts program. Other partners involved in the development of the plan include public schools, the county Office of Education, the Marin Community Foundation and community based organizations.
“After my long history as an arts educator and as well as recent experience as part of San Francisco Unified School District’s Arts Education Master Plan Advisory Committee, it’s been exciting as a Novato parent to join the team at Youth in Arts and dig into the momentum behind Marin County’s arts education plan, initiatives and partnerships, ” Kristen said. “An opportunity to have arts leaders from across the Bay Area in the same room to discuss successes, challenges and questions is an immense gift in my new leadership role.”
Kristen said the perception of Marin is that it is a place filled with resources and progressive policies. In reality, she said, there is a great inequality among its 18 school districts. Although she is glad the county has an arts plan, it does not include a timeline for implementation or accountability.
The Arts Education Alliance, which meets bimonthly to collectively address issues in arts education, is important because educators can discuss the challenges they face in light of budget cuts and changing policies. In discussing her work with the alliance, Kristen also stressed the importance that all arts advocates have a seat at the table. She adds, “Asking tough questions and pushing difficult discussions are both important to the process. Though I’m new in my role I am thankful for my seat at the table; a fresh perspective can often bring to light new solutions and ideas,” she said.” I am looking forward to working in collaboration with the Marin Arts Education Plan team to continue to move the needle on arts provision for ALL of Marin’s students.”
Youth in Arts is thrilled to welcome Megan Bober as our student board member! Megan has been a musician most of her life, she’s played the piano since age 7, but for years she didn’t like to perform in public. “In middle school, I discovered how happy singing made me, and wanted to do it as much as possible, but couldn’t figure out where to pursue my passion along with other kids like me” she said. That is when she discovered ‘Til Dawn, “In 8th grade I went to their spring show,” she recalls. “As soon as I saw them sing, and saw how much fun they had together, I set being a part of ‘Til Dawn as my goal.” Now a Junior at Redwood High School, Megan has been in the group 3 years and says, “’Til Dawn and Youth in Arts have been the most important part of my high school years. I have found a second family amongst kids and adults who are as passionate about music and singing as I am.”
Megan looks forward to working with the board, sharing her unique perspective and conveying, “how important music and art can be to the emotional and intellectual support and growth of people my age.” She has also learned a great deal about Youth in Arts’ advocacy work and, “became passionate about how the organization ensures young people throughout Marin have access to the arts.”
Megan was fortunate enough to have great arts access both at home, through her piano lessons and regular museum visits, and at San Domenico where she attended school from pre-K though 5th grade. “I was given art and music education every day,” she shares. “While at that time I was not pursuing singing, I believe the importance placed on art and music, and the exposure that I was given, laid the foundation for my intense interest in music now. I also think that my early art and music education helped me to be a more creative person in writing and performance.”
We are thankful to have Megan’s passion and creativity on the Youth in Arts board.
More than eighty community leaders, educators, students, and Youth in Arts supporters came out to celebrate Arts in Education Month at the YIA Gallery last Friday, March 8th. Youth in Arts and the Marin County Office of Education co-hosted the event, which was centered around introducing attendees to the 2018-2019 Marin Arts Education Plan. There was lots of positive feedback, and seemed to be buzz building around the movement in Marin to improve arts access for ALL learners.
Visitors were also able to enjoy the wonderful artwork from our RISING STARS High School art exhibition, on view through March 29th. The “Best Of” show and category winners (drawing, mixed media, painting, photography, and sculpture), were also encouraged to attend the event to receive another amazing prize to commemorate their accomplishment. College of Marin kindly awarded each of the 6 students a full semester scholarship! The lovely Lauren Smart was on hand to receive her award letter, and was photographed alongside her beautiful charcoal, pen and graphite drawing of her grandfather, entitled Evolution of Life. Lauren, a senior at Redwood High School, plans to attend San Jose State in the fall, and is excited to take some summer art classes at College of Marin. Thank you College of Marin for supporting our young artists!
Youth in Arts staff, Miko Lee, Suzanne Joyal and Kelsey Rieger have been presenting on arts equity as a tool to begin implementation of the Marin Arts Education Plan. On January 29 the team conducted a 3-hour interactive workshop for Marin County educators and administrators at Marin Community Foundation. Participants learned about the recent data released from the California Data Project and reflected on the Race Counts study. They watched “A Student Named Art” student produced film from the California Arts Education Alliance and deconstructed the video using Visual Thinking Strategies. They learned about the latest in arts education research, created a collaborative mural and used theatre to explore language arts and history links.
“Thank you for the amazing presentation you and your team so beautifully engaged us in yesterday. It was wonderful how you kept everybody engaged while instilling some crucial facts about the powerful impact art can provide students. Observing the group, I feel confident that each person present will be sharing this information with others and thinking more about how to take the next steps within their district or school.”
-Eileen Smith, Marin County Office of Education Director of Education Services
That same night Miko & Kelsey provided similar workshop for the North Bay PTA leads and provided information about CREATE California’s Public Will Campaign. For more info about this workshop, reach out to us: email@example.com