Testifying to the Impact of Greater Arts Access

Portland’s Arts Education & Access Fund
Testifying to the Impact of Access 

Last month at City Hall, two of Portland’s most inspiring arts leaders testified before City Council about the powerful impact that Portland’s new Arts Education & Access Fund will have for Portland residents when qualified non-profit arts organizations receive an increase in annual funding.

Once Arts Education & Access Fund dollars are distributed to Portland’s six school districts – allowing them to hire certified elementary arts teachers for every public Portland elementary school – the remaining funds will be distributed to the Regional Arts & Culture Council to be administered as grants to non-profit arts organizations and programs that increase access to the arts.

Both the Portland Youth Philharmonic (PYP) and the PHAME Academy currently qualify for RACC operating support grants and are likely to benefit from the Arts Education & Access Fund in the coming year. The powerful testimonials and important work of PYP and PHAME highlight the extraordinary benefits of Portland’s new Arts Education & Access Fund beyond our public school classrooms. Following are excerpts from the City Council testimony of Executive Directors Kevin A. Lefohn and Stephen Marc Beaudoin.

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PHAME students were honored musical guests for Pink Martini’s “Singin’ in the Square” event, March 30, 2013 in Pioneer Courthouse Square.

PHAME Academy Executive Director Stephen Marc Beaudoin testifies before Portland City Council, March 27, 2013:

I am the Executive Director of the PHAME Academy and we are Portland’s fine and performing arts academy for young and older adults with developmental disabilities. We were also the  2011 City of Portland Making a Difference Award Winner.

The Arts Education & Access Fund supports PHAME and many other critically important arts education and access programs across the city. At PHAME, the “Arts Tax” will do a world of good for community members like PHAME student Anne Marie Plass.

“(Public funding for non-profit community arts organizations) gives me access to things that I can only get at PHAME.” explains Anne Marie. “It has given me a lot of confidence and the ability to be myself and to be challenged to do more things that I never thought that I would be able to do.”

Stephen continues. “Me too….This is a tax about people. This is about real people and real Portland neighborhoods and real programs and services that are delivered to underserved communities. This is not some luxury sedan benefiting only a few. It benefits everyone in Portland. I have faith that Portland City Council will protect and defend and continuously improve this critical new source of funding, but not for me or my benefit. For Anne Marie and other students of PHAME, kids studying music after school at Ethos in north portland, students in southeast Portland and Portland public schools, for the communities of color who see and share their stories on stage at Milagro and Portland Playhouse and many other places — they are the real beneficiaries of the Arts Education & Access Fund and they are relying on you to defend this Fund and to make it better.

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The Portland Youth Philharmonic inspires and educates young people through performing symphonic music and provides a cultural asset for the community.

Portland Youth Philharmonic Executive Director Kevin A. Lefohn testifies before Portland City Council, March 27, 2013:

I’m a violinist, music educator, and I have the honor of serving as the Executive Director of this country’s first youth orchestra, Portland youth philharmonic. PYP serves 300 musicians in our community and they come from over 100 different schools. We leverage the talent of these musicians. By doing so we touch 30,000 people in our community each year. We change lives, not only those of the talents we nurture but everyday Portlanders whose hearts their talents touch.

Our signature outreach program is a series of free children’s concerts. We invite 3-8 graders to experience a performance in the Arlene Schnitzer Concert hall. Over the past two years, we’ve seen a 47% increase, a skyrocketing increase in attendance. This year alone, we have “sold out” these four concerts. We have surpassed 10,000 kids coming into our city’s jewel and they come from over 150 schools in our community. Clearly, there is an interest in arts education in our public school sector. Clearly, there is a need for ease of access.

What will be possible for PYP with this additional art tax funding, what would it take to double our attendance? Bring our musicians and conducting staff directly into the schools to further break down any barriers that exist for access to arts? We change lives. Not only those whose talents that we touch, but the every day Portlanders whose hearts their talents nurture. The tax is good for our community. Because as of November, we are now on the brink of fully restoring arts education in our community. It will help arts organizations serve our community even better.

In the words of Andrea Moon, a PYP alumna, “PYP is not just about the music to me. It is about the bridging of human relationships through music.”

Mayor Hales, Commissioners, and Citizens of this wonderful community we call Portland, together we change lives, not only those whose talents we nurture, but those whose hearts their talents touch.

It is National Arts Advocacy Day: Be Heard!

There has never been a better time to speak up for the arts, on Capitol Hill and closer to home. Oregon’s Advocacy Day in Salem is just weeks away and arts education and access advocacy at Portland City Hall has never been more critical. Below you will learn how you can make a difference at the local, state and national level. Be Heard. We need your voice now more than ever.

e1365461176.85Guiding the future of the Arts Education & Access Fund
Advocacy at Portland City Hall

After years of advocating for the establishment of a sustainable new public fund for the arts, in June 2012 Portland City Council unanimously voted to refer Measure 26-146 to the ballot. The proposed new city ordinance was designed to restore arts teachers to every Portland elementary school and increase access to the arts citywide – but only if approved by Portland voters.

“A good example of democracy in action”, Commissioner Fritz said recently of the referral. “Council could have passed this tax without sending it to the voters – we chose to send it to the voters, and it was affirmed by a large majority.” Further, she remarked, “It was referred as an ordinance rather than a charter amendment (so that) the council now has the authority to fix parts of it.”

Indeed the City of Portland did approve the Arts Education & Access Fund by 62% in the November 2012 election, but this vote does not end Portland City Council’s role in guiding and governing the groundbreaking new fund. In fact, Portland City Council may just be getting started.

Last week, Portland City Council voted unanimously to make its first change to the original ordinance – the establishment of an income threshold for income earning adult dependents of households above the poverty level – and promised to consider more proposed changes in July. During the City Council discussion of this proposed change on March 27, 2013, Mayor Hales asked the Revenue Bureau to present additional recommendations for improvements to the Arts Education & Access Fund for City Council consideration in July.

The people of the city of Portland have spoken. We support the arts and we support an excellent public education for all of our kids,” remarked Mayor Hales. “That is the voters’ intent behind the overwhelming approval mentioned here this morning of this measure. As Commissioner Fritz pointed out, it was done by ordinance, so that the duly elected legislative body of the city of Portland can translate that intent into good public policy and competent administration. That is our job. That is what we are setting about to do here with the first ordinance to make one common sense adjustment in how this tax works in people’s lives, and then to ask our staff to come back in fairly short order working with each of us with options for how we, again, honor that intent, but make it work effectively and fairly and legally as an ongoing program of the city of Portland and for this community.”

As Commissioner Fish summed it up, “We are in effect strengthening the law of this package (through) actions we’re taking over stages, and I think it is prudent to do so…. I was proud to refer this to the voters and pleased that the voters overwhelmingly adopted it.”

We at the Creative Advocacy Network are incredibly honored to have been a part of the citizen-led movement that led to the creation and passage of the Arts Education & Access Fund. And as passionate advocates for the arts and arts education in Portland, we are working to ensure that Portland City Council continues to hear from Portland residents who are proud to have voted yes, to have paid their $35 and above all, who value these new investments in arts education and citywide access. As Portland City Council continues to guide and govern the Arts Education & Access Fund, we must continue to advocate, at the top of our lungs, for the fullfillment of the promise of arts education and access for all.

Get involved. Stay informed. Pay your Arts Tax. Together we will bring the arts to life in every Portland classroom and community.

e1365461177.19National Advocacy Day Call to Action
An Open Letter to our United States Senators and Congressional Representatives:

Today, Tuesday, April 9 is the 2013 National Arts Advocacy Day. While we are not able to be in Washington, DC in person, we write to let you know of our support for the Arts and Culture in America.

Specifically: We support funding the National Endowment for the Arts at $155 million dollars. The NEA is a valuable federal program that has awarded more than 2,200 grants for 2012 reaching every congressional district, totaling more than $108 million in funds in FY 2012.

We support funding the Arts in Education program at the Department of Education at $30 million and retaining the Arts in Education program as a distinct grant competition in FY 2014 appropriations. We also urge you to retain the arts in the definition of core academic subjects of learning and strengthen equitable access to arts learning.

We support preserving incentives for charitable giving by protecting the charitable tax deduction from rate caps or other new limitations; we urge you to reject any attempts to divide the charitable sector which would create a hierarchy of tax deductibility favoring certain types of charities over others; and, finally, we urge you to extend the IRA Charitable Rollover.

We encourage you to join the House Arts Caucus by contacting Tess Troha-Thompson in the office of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter at (202) 225-3615 or tess.troha-thompson@mail.house.gov, or Sarah Armstrong in the office of Congressman Leonard Lance at (202) 225-5361 or sarah.armstrong@mail.house.gov.

Lastly, we would ask that you to join the new House STEAM Caucus. Through STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics), the arts connect engineering and math. For more information, please contact Carly Katz in the office of Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici at 202-225-0855 or Carly.Katz@mail.house.gov or Kelli Ripp in the office of Congressman Aaron Schock at 202-225-6201 or Kelli.Ripp@mail.house.gov.

The nonprofit arts are a $135.2 billion a year industry employing over 4.1 million people and contributing over $9.5 billion a year in federal tax revenue. In other words, the arts mean business and because most arts non profits are actually small businesses, they mean job creation.

Thank you for your consideration and your support of the arts and culture in America.

E-mail your United States Senator and Congressional Representatives today!

Portland’s Elementary Arts Education Report: One Year Later

What a difference a year makes! Last April, the US Department of Education released its first study of arts education in US schools in more than 10 years. With that data and information furnished by Portland’s six school districts, the Creative Advocacy Network brought to light a huge gap between arts education opportunities in Portland’s elementary schools and those available nationally.

e1364862480.9Now, just one year later, the Creative Advocacy Network is thrilled to report that access to the arts in Portland’s public schools has markedly improved and, with the passage of the Arts Education & Access Fund, next year 100% of Portland elementary school students will have access to the arts in their public schools.

Here is how arts access for Portland’s children during the 2012-13 school year compares with 2011-12 and the US Department of Education’s 2012 study:

Elementary Schools with Music Education
Portland 2011-2012          58%
Portland 2012-2013          66%
Nationwide                         94%

Elementary Schools with Art Education
Portland 2011-2012         18%
Portland 2012-2013         25%
Nationwide                        83%

Elementary Schools with NO Access to Art, Music, Dance or Drama
Portland 2011-2012         28%
Portland 2012-2013         19%
Portland 2013-2014          0%  
Nationwide                         3%

The City of Portland is home to six school districts and 85 public elementary schools serving 34,244 elementary school students. This year 16 Portland elementary schools are unable to offer certified instruction in art, music, dance or drama. And, while we are excited to celebrate the 8 Portland elementary schools that have added arts instruction since last year, we are even more thrilled to report that the passage of the Arts Education & Access Fund will ensure that every Portland elementary school will offer certified arts instruction beginning next year. The Fund will support as many as 70 certified elementary art, music, dance and drama teachers in Portland’s schools.

This week Portland City Council will vote on an ordinance to strengthen the Arts Education & Access Fund by establishing an income threshold for income-earning adults who live in households above the Federal Poverty Level. The Creative Advocacy Network is thankful that the Portland City Council is willing and able to continue improving Portland’s groundbreaking new Arts Education & Access Fund while protecting Portland’s overwhelming support for a critical new investment in arts education and access citywide.

If you have not already paid your arts tax, please remember to file by May 15, 2013. Your $35 will bring the arts to life in Portland’s classrooms and communities.

New threshold. New deadline.

e1364425155.83City Council Considers Income Threshold
And Asks Revenue Bureau to Recommend Other Improvements

On March 27, Portland City Council considered an ordinance that would create an income threshold of $1,000 on the new $35 income tax to restore arts education to every elementary school in the city’s six school districts and increase arts access citywide. The new Arts Education & Access Fund will provide stable, long-term funding for certified arts and music teachers and grants for arts programs, supplies and field trips. The Fund will also support non-profit arts organizations to increase access to the arts.

As passed by 62% of Portland voters this past November, income-earning adult residents of the City of Portland will pay $35 annually. Residents living in households at or below the federal poverty guidelines will be exempt and pay nothing.

The ordinance being considered is meant to address the burden placed on those residents with very little income, yet living in a household above the federal poverty guidelines.  An example Mayor Hales gave is of a teenager living at home who earns a small income walking dogs.

School and arts leaders testified in support of the tax and of the modification.  David Wynde, Deputy Chief Financial Officer & Budget Director of Portland Public Schools, stated “next year we’ll say that every K-5 student will have an arts teacher.  This is an equitable offering that is not true now.  PPS is strongly supportive of this tax and of the modification.”  And Deborah Edward, Executive Director of Business for Culture & the Arts testified that “the idea to tweak this to make it more equitable is commendable.”

The city commissioners were also supportive.  Nick Fish said he was “proud to refer this to the voters and glad the voters were overwhelmingly supportive…Today we’re doing a fix to strengthen the law.”

Mayor Hales stated that the “majority of Portlanders support the arts and education for all kids.  This was done by ordinance so the city can translate the intent of the voters into good public policy.”

A vote on the ordinance will occur the first week of April and the change will take place immediately.  The Revenue Bureau would refund those who fall into that category but have already paid.

Also at the meeting, Council voted unanimously on a resolution to direct the revenue bureau to bring recommendations for further improvement to the Arts Education & Access Income Tax for the 2013 tax year and beyond.

e1364425155.96Arts Tax Deadline Extended. www.artstax.net
Portlanders Now Have Until May 15 to Pay Their Arts Tax.

The City of Portland Revenue Bureau has extended the filing deadline for the new Arts Tax until May 15, 2013.  The extension (for this year only) will allow city residents an extra month to pay their $35 income tax for the Arts Education & Access Fund. By extending the deadline, the City hopes to increase compliance and lessen the burden for those residents who are still learning about the new tax.

Due annually beginning this year in 2013, Portland’s new $35 income tax for income-earning adult residents of Portland (and exempting any taxpayer under the federal poverty limit) will generate approximately $12.2 million in annual net revenue. Passed into law when 62% of Portland voters approved Ballot Measure 24-146 last November, the Arts Education & Access Fund is a local income tax to restore arts education to every Portland elementary school and fund arts education and access programs citywide.

To ensure that every Portland resident receives ample information about this new local income tax, www.artstax.net answers frequently asked questions; provides an overview of the Fund’s investments, its Citizen Oversight Committee, and the City Code, Rules and Policies; and offers online payment and exemption request options. In addition to this comprehensive online resource, the City of Portland Revenue Bureau will also be reaching out to all Portland residents by mail.

The tax can be paid by credit card, ACH, or by mail.  However the taxes are paid, these new tax dollars will be put to work immediately.

When the school year begins next Fall, nearly 70 elementary school arts teachers will be sustainably funded, every elementary school student in Portland’s six school districts will be guaranteed an arts education, and arts supplies, programs and field trips will be more accessible for all school-age children through grant funding for Portland’s schools and non-profits. Centennial, David Douglas, Parkrose, Portland PublicReynolds and Riverdale school districts will all benefit from the Arts Education & Access Fund while grants from the Regional Arts & Culture Council will provide Portland’s non-profit arts organizations with the public support they need to bring the arts to life for every Portland resident.

At the Creative Advocacy Network, we know that the arts improve our schools, shape our neighborhoods, fuel our economy and improve the livability of this city that we love. And now, with a simple annual $35 tax payment, we can ensure that every Portland resident has access to our city’s cultural and creative riches.

A Heartfelt Update for the Love of Art

The Arts Education & Access Fund in Portland Schools Your Questions Answered

On November 6, 2012, Portland residents approved a citywide $35 income tax to restore arts education to every elementary school in the city’s six school districts and increase arts access citywide. The Schools & Arts Together campaign to pass Ballot Measure 26-146 was successful in part due to the tremendous energy and enthusiasm of Portland parents and teachers eager to see greater access to arts education in their schools. In thanks, we are committed to keeping Portland’s public school community updated on the implementation and impact of this groundbreaking new Fund.

While each school district will be conducting their own planning and hiring to bring the Arts Education & Access Fund (AEAF) to life in their schools, there are several important facts about the new Fund that are universal.

  • Every public school serving Kindergarten through 5th grade students from Portland (including K-8 schools and charter schools) will receive funding from the AEAF.
  • Districts will receive funding to hire one certified elementary arts teacher for every 500 enrolled K-5 students. Citywide this represents approximately 70 sustainably funded teachers.
  • AEAF funding must be used to provide weekly arts education to every K-5 student. If students at your local elementary school do not already have art, music, dance or drama at least once a week, they will starting next Fall.
  • While AEAF funding will not cover the entire cost of a full time teacher at schools with fewer than 500 K-5 students, AEAF funding will cover the entire cost of weekly arts education for every K-5 student citywide.
  • Every Portland school district aspires to maintain their current investment in elementary arts teachers to the extent possible and with the goal of ensuring that every elementary school building has at least one full time elementary arts teacher.
  • AEAF funding does not cover the cost of certified arts teachers for 6th-12th grade public school students in Portland. However, the AEAF will provide grant funding to schools and non-profits to supply students of any grade level with classroom and community-based arts programs and supplies. The Regional Arts & Culture Council will administer this grant program.
  • AEAF funding can be used to hire teachers certified in art, music, dance or drama.

To contract your District directly about their timeline for planning and hiring to implement the Arts Education & Access Fund, go to:

Get involved. Stay informed. Help us bring the arts to life in every classroom and community. Follow us on  www.Facebook.com/SchoolsArtsTogether. And please, continue to bring us your questions at info@theartscan.org.

Visit Our (new) Website theartscan.org

With the successful conclusion of the Schools & Arts Together campaign and the establishment of the ground-breaking new Arts Education & Access Fund, the time has come to close down www.SchoolsArtsTogether.com and expand theartscan.org to include important information about the Arts Education & Access Fund and our weighty new Knowledge Bank fueling advocacy and public policy development. Whether you are seeking contact information, ways to take action or would just like to peruse our media clippings or blog, you’ll find it all at theartscan.org.
Did we miss something? Don’t hesitate to let us know. You can always reach us at info@theArtsCAN.org.

 

Support CAN this Valentine’s Day With the volume turned up!

This Valentine’s Day, profess your love five times louderer with Zooka, the popular Bluetooth audio accessory, and support the arts in Portland, Ore. at the same time! Carbon Audio LLC, the design-driven audio products company, will donate $10 to the Creative Advocacy Network (CAN) for every red or pink Zooka sold from now through Feb. 14. In addition, Carbon Audio is offering free domestic shipping on all orders up to Feb. 14.

Launching Portland’s new Arts Education & Access Fund


Portland City Council Appoints Citizen Oversight Committee

On December 19, 2012, Portland City Council appointed an Independent Citizen Oversight Committee to monitor the investments and impact of the Arts Education & Access Fund. True to the spirit of Ballot Measure 26-146, this group of 20 volunteers consists of a wide range of people well versed in schools, arts non-profits, other oversight functions, and fiscal responsibility. Selected through a nomination and recruitment process led by Mayor Sam Adams’ office, more than 35 Portland citizens applied for the opportunity and 20 were selected.

Below are the names and brief bios of each member:

Yulia Arakelyan-Performance artist, dancer -Disability community advocate -Co-Founder and Director of Wobbly, a dance theatre company

Oscar Arana-Director of Strategic Development, Native American Youth and Family Center -Board Member, Oregon Latino Agenda for Action and JustPortland -Member, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Lionel Clegg-First grade teacher, Woodlawn Elementary (PPS, NE Portland) -Board member, Kukatonon African Dance Troupe
-Created after school group Boys of Distinction

Jim Cox-Western Rivers Conservancy, Director of Donor Relations
-Former Manager of the Oregon Cultural Trust
-Former stage director, production manager, arts fundraiser and actor (CoHo Productions, Portland Opera, PIPFest) – Board Member, Third Rail Repertory Theatre

Susan Denning-East Portland resident, Parkrose School District parent -Director of Programs and Events at Literary Arts -English Instructor at Marylhurst University, poet, writer

Victoria Dinu-Student, Portland State University (Grant HS graduate) -Former Portland Rose Festival Queen (2010-11)
-Violinist, Metropolitan Youth Symphony, Portland Youth Phil -First Stop Portland, Student Ambassador

Erika Foin-Managing Director, Oregon Executive MBA (U of O, Portland) -Composer and oboe player -Worked and trained at New England Conservatory -Degrees from Lewis & Clark College and the University of Minnesota -Lives in North Portland – children attend Beach Elementary

Alina Harway-Communications and Research Manager, Our Oregon -Former MS and HS English teacher, private music teacher -Volunteer, Write Around Portland, Oregon Volunteers

Kimberly Howard-Oregon Cultural Trust Manager -North Portland resident -BCA Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee -Actress (Sojourn Theatre, Artists Rep, Miracle Theatre, Profile Theatre)

Kevin Jones-Founder, Board Member, Red Door Project (exploring equity issues in Portland through arts)
-Actor, director
 -Executive Coach

Carter MacNichol-Managing Partner, Shiels Obletz Johnsen
-Oregon Zoo Bond Oversight Committee member
-Former Director, Real Estate Management, Port of Portland -Former Board Member, Portland Children’s Museum

Alyssa Macy-Development Specialist, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation
-Co-Director of NVison, a youth media justice project focused on developing media skills for tribal youth
 -Former Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation Communications Manager
 -Former Wisconsin Statewide Tribal Liaison

Juan Martinez-Development Director, Basic Rights Oregon -North Portland resident

Cherie-Anne May-Principal of Gilbert Heights Elementary, Music Coordinator, David Douglas School District
-Former Music teacher, Gifted & Talented Program Coordinator, David Douglas -Board Member, Metropolitan Youth Symphony-East Portland resident

Steven Nance-Member, Tax Supervising and Conservation Commission 
-Retired from Intel, now works in venture funding

Stanley Penkin (Co-Chair)
-Comprehensive Plan Update and Portland Plan Community Involvement Committee member; Extensive public committee involvement in Portland and Scarsdale, NY
 -Board Member, Pearl District Neighborhood Association 
-Co-founder, Oregon artPAC
Portland Center Stage, Board Member (Education & Outreach Committee)<o:p></o:p>

Chip Shields-State Senator for North/Northeast Portland -Workforce development professional -Founding Executive Director, Better People

Gwen Sullivan-President, Portland Association of Teachers -Portland Public Schools librarian, teacher and parent

Mark Wubbold-Senior Policy Analyst in the Office of the President at Portland State University
 -Former Theatre Arts faculty at Mt. Hood and Clackamas Community Colleges -Former co-manager of ARTSplash, a Federal Department of Education funded arts integration teacher training collaboration between PSU’s Graduate School of Education and Portland Public Schools

Anita Yap (Co-Chair)
-SE Portland resident -Community organizer and volunteer, East Portland Action Plan -Training Coordinator, Office of Equity & Inclusion, Oregon Health Authority -Consultant and Program Manager Mercy Corps NW, VISTA Oregon Asset Building Corps -Chair of the Portland Multnomah Food Policy Council -Co-Chair of the Charter Commission -Board member APANO

It’s Official Contracts Approved

On Wednesday, December 19th, Portland City Council took its first major steps toward the launch of Portland’s Arts Education & Access Fund by voting to approve contracts with Portland’s six school districts and the Regional Arts & Culture Council, and to appoint a Citizen Oversight Committee.
Council approved Intergovernmental Agreements between the City and Portland school districts. Annual audits will ensure that schools comply with all of the requirements of the new ballot measure. RACC gained new responsibilities with the passage of the Arts Education & Access Fund including arts education oversight, as Portland schools restore certified art and music teachers to elementary schools and build their arts curricula. RACC also will shepherd grants to qualified non-profit arts organizations and design a new grant-making program for schools and non-profits to increase arts access. Finally, Council approved the new Citizen Oversight Committee, which will watch over the districts and RACC as they implement the intent of the ballot measure.

Due annually beginning April 2013, Portland’s new $35 income tax for income-earning adult residents of Portland (and exempting any taxpayer under the federal poverty limit), will generate $12.2 million in annual net revenue. When the school year begins next Fall, nearly 70 elementary school arts teachers will be sustainably funded, every elementary school student in Portland’s six school districts will be guaranteed an arts education and arts supplies, programs and field trips will be made available for all school-age children through grant funding to Portland’s schools and non-profits. And Portland’s non-profit arts organizations will have the public support they need to bring the arts to life for every Portland resident – providing free arts experiences, reaching underserved communities and developing imaginative community-based arts experiences for our children – all while continuing to shape our neighborhoods, fuel our economy, educate our children and bring us together.

Get involved. Stay informed. Help us bring the arts to life in every classroom and community. Follow us on www.Facebook.com/SchoolsArtsTogether.

Hello 2013! 13 Reasons to Celebrate the New Year

Hello 2013! 13 Reasons to Feel Great about the Next Twelve Months

With the launch of Portland’s groundbreaking new Arts Education & Access Fund, the New Year is looking bright. To celebrate, we thought we’d share 13 reasons to feel great about the next twelve months.

13.  Because on November 6th, City of Portland voters overwhelmingly passed ballot measure 26-146 to restore arts and music programs to Portland schools and fund the arts citywide.

12.  Because national research links access to arts and music education to improved test scores, graduation rates and college admittance, particularly for lower-income students and students at risk. And, with the establishment of the Arts Education & Access Fund, Portland has ensured that every K-5 student in Portland’s public schools will have access to an arts education.

11.  Because cities with thriving arts and culture communities attract businesses, develop a creative workforce and create economic development opportunities across multiple sectors. Portland’s downtown and Pearl District neighborhood just made America’s Top Twelve ArtPlaces of 2013.

10.  Because Portland’s publicly supported non-profit arts organizations will provide more than 2 million transformational arts experiences in 2013 with nearly half of those experiences offered free of charge.

9.  Because the arts can give a lost child a compass and here in Portland, every child will have access to the arts.

8.  Because certified, in-school arts and music instruction is the cornerstone of a complete arts education, providing students with the opportunity to develop skills in creative and critical thinking, collaborating, and communicating. When school starts in the Fall of 2013, the Arts Education & Access Fund will sustainably support as many as 70 certified arts educators in Portland’s elementary schools.

7.  Because every creative mecca needs a Creative Laureate and in 2013, the City of Portland will celebrate our first: Photographer Julie Keefe.

6.  Because a complete arts and music education includes instruction by in-school teachers, arts experiences such as field trips and artist residencies, and arts integration in core subject areas. The Arts Education & Access Fund will invest in all three to ensure that Portland’s young people have access to a complete arts and music education.

5.  Because the non-profit arts and culture industry fuels our region with more than $253 million in annual economic activity.

4.  Because providing arts and music education for all students at the elementary school level ensures each student, regardless of means and background, is given equal opportunity to develop skills and grow, and that some students are not disadvantaged in this area as they enter middle school and high school. The Arts Education & Access Fund will ensure that every public elementary school student in Portland enjoys these opportunities equally.

3.  Because Portland’s non-profit arts organizations will now have the public support they need to bring the arts to life for every Portland resident – providing free arts experiences, reaching underserved communities and developing imaginative community-based arts experiences for our children – all while continuing to shape our neighborhoods, fuel our economy and bring us together.

2.  Because the Arts Education & Access Fund will ensure that every child has the opportunity to play an instrument, hold a paintbrush, and visit the museum, and that the riches of Portland’s creative community are available to all of our citizens.

1. Because we love where we live.

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Coming Soon…

Portland City Council closed 2012 by taking some important steps to finalize the establishment of the Arts Education & Access Fund. Later this month, we’ll introduce you to the inaugural members of the Citizen Oversight Committee and share some important highlights from the new partnership agreements the City has now forged with Portland’s six school districts and the Regional Arts & Culture Council.

In the meantime, stay in touch at www.facebook.com/SchoolsArtsTogether.

Portland says YES!

In just a few short weeks, at parades, parkways, and street fairs, the Schools & Arts Together campaign has received overwhelming support for our plan to restore arts and music education to Portland schools and improve access to the arts in every classroom and community.

As word spreads that a solution to the rapid decline of arts education in our schools is on the November ballot, Portland residents from every corner are joining the campaign in support. As Val Ellett, a teacher at Gilbert Park Elementary, put it, “Music and the arts are the most powerful force a community can invest in.”

In a public opinion poll on The Oregonian web site OregonLive.com 91% said they would pay $35 a year to support arts education by indicating “the arts are a valuable part of child development and learning.” We could not agree more! With Portland elementary schools lagging so far behind the nation, we must act now to ensure that our schools reflect our city’s values of creativity and community.

We are thrilled to share that more than 700 Portlanders have already pledged their support by joining the Schools & Arts Together campaign and those numbers continue to build. Across our diverse city, people are finding common ground in their support for the arts. “The arts are like sports,” Portland Timbers COO Mike Golub said. “They bring people together, they mitigate differences, and they create shared experiences for disparate groups of people regardless of age, socioeconomic background, gender, or ethnicity.”

If you haven’t yet said YES! to arts education for our kids by joining the Schools & Arts Together campaign, show your support now!

Please donate $15 or whatever you can to the Schools & Arts Together campaign, today. Visit us on Facebook. And join us at parades, parkways, back-to-school nights, and arts events to help spread the word as a campaign volunteer.

CAN Mail: May 17, 2012 Edition

Help Us Restore Arts Teachers To Our Schools
And we’ll thank you with a free CAN t-shirt!

Every year in Portland, arts and music teachers are being cut from our schools, leaving our children with fewer opportunities to imagine, to learn and to thrive.

In the last five years, Parkrose and Centennial School Districts have cut their arts and music teaching staff by half, while Portland Public Schools lost all arts instruction in 22 schools in just two years. Today, there are nearly 12,000 Portland children attending schools that do not have any art, dance, drama, or music instruction.

But we can change all that. The Creative Advocacy Network (CAN) is working tirelessly to restore arts and music education to our elementary schools and increase access to arts and culture city-wide with a new public fund for the arts.

Donate $50 or more today and help us return arts and music teachers to every Portland elementary school by 2014. In thanks, we’ll send you a free t-shirt and together we’ll wear our love for arts education with pride.

Don’t have $50? Volunteer instead! Join us at Sunday Parkways, the Rose Parade or your favorite arts event, where you can wear a CAN t-shirt to show your support of the arts and arts education in Portland!

CAN Mail: April 2012 Edition

Startling new statistics: Portland’s Elementary Schools Report. We thank you for your action.

Last week, CAN released powerful new statistics that showcase how far Portland has fallen behind the nation with regard to arts education. And you responded with a flood of donations and committments to volunteer. We thank you for your action and we share your concern.

Today in Portland there are 11,596 children attending schools that do not have any art, dance, drama, or music instruction.

Please help us break the news and build the movement to restore arts and music teachers to our schools. We invite you to repost or retweet our Blog, share our story in your newsletter or spread the word through your own e-mail networks.

The Creative Advocacy Network has partnered with the City of Portland and Portland’s six school districts to restore arts and music education to our schools and ensure that our children have the same opportunities to imagine and learn and thrive as we did.

Join the movement today and help us keep arts and music alive in our schools.

Grammy award winning jazz vocalist – and Portland native – Esperanza Spalding speaks about the importance of arts education in our schools.
Photo by Flickr User Kimberly_Herbert
Students who lack arts education have lower GPA scores.
Photo:
Kimberly Herbert

New NEA study reveals: The arts can close the achievement gap for low-income students.

“At-risk teenagers or young adults with a history of intensive arts experiences show achievement levels closer to, and in some cases exceeding, the levels shown by the general population studied,” a team of scholars writes in a new National Endowment for the Arts Research Report. “These findings suggest that in-school or extracurricular programs offering deep arts involvement may help to narrow the gap in achievement levels among youth.”

This newly published research from the NEA establishes that while students from the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder tend to do less well in school than those from more upscale families, this is not true for those students who participate heavily in the arts.

The primary focus of the report is on teenagers and young adults in the bottom 25 percent of the socioeconomic scale (as measured by family income, parental employment and the parents’ level of education).

“…Students who had arts-rich experiences in high school showed higher overall grade point averages than did students who lacked those experiences,” the researchers write. What’s more, those higher grades paid off. Disadvantaged high school students heavily involved in cultural activities enrolled in competitive colleges — and in four-year colleges in general — at higher rates than their counterparts who avoided the arts.

In Portland, where 56% of our public school students are economically disadvantaged and 41% of Portland’s high school students do not graduate with their peers, this study is particularly relevant.


Cities take the lead in investing in arts education. Boston. Dallas. Seattle.

Across the country, city governments are stepping up to support arts education initiatives in our public schools and communities. The Arts Expansion Initiative (BPS Arts Education Announcement Video) in Boston is a collaboration of the Mayor’s Office, the city school district, arts organizations and local and national funders. And it works. Today, nine out of ten elementary and middle school students in Boston are receiving weekly arts education, up from 67% three years ago.

A similar collaboration in Dallas, Thriving Minds is a citywide initiative committed to making creative learning a part of the education of every Dallas student – in and out of school. Dallas is the only city in the country offering this level of comprehensive creative learning opportunities citywide on a year-round basis, and the support from the City helps makes this possible.

Closer to home, a partnership was developed in 2008 in Seattle between the city, the arts commission, and the public schools to guarantee that all Seattle students benefit from arts education. The City has invested money each year in the partnership, helping to install a district-level music specialist and a community art liaison to coordinate with the city’s arts community.

“We view arts education as a catalyst for renewed energy in schools, increased engagement by students, and improved school choices for families. Over the long term it will enrich our young people, our schools, our neighborhoods, and our economy.” writes Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

“Over the long term [arts education] will enrich our young people, our schools, our neighborhoods, and our economy.”
- Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.