Monday, August 23, 2010

Speaking of Elections...

Between arts education advocacy and the November 2 elections, ARTS North Carolina's Advocacy Update and Call to Action messages will be frequent. 
We pledge to keep information as simple as possible and Calls to Action reasonable and doable. But we need a wholesale change in the number of people who are responding activists. Even as battles are being fought on the local level, give us a piece of your attention so that we can effect change on the state and national levels. 
For example, if we had an enforceable statewide policy on arts education, would our local programs be in such jeopardy?

Advocacy Update - Arts Education: Time to Get Educated

This summer the U.S. House of Representatives passed a Congressional Resolution designating a week beginning September 12 as "Arts in Education Week." This resolution is the first Congressional expression of support celebrating all the disciplines comprising arts education and comes at a time when Congress is making plans to overhaul federal education policy.

How timely. This summer North Carolina's General Assembly unanimously passed Senate Bill 66 authoring a Task Force to create a comprehensive arts education plan for North Carolina. The Task Force will hold its first meeting on September 22.

ARTS North Carolina will begin a series of messages encouraging action steps you can take to support arts education in our state and in our nation. 

We must embrace and literally push forward the arts as a key ingredient of public school reform. We cannot imagine who would not have a vested interest in young people learning through and becoming successful because of arts education. "Arts education is not ornamental, it is fundamental," and anyone who says it costs too much money does not have their priorities in place. 

That's our job: to help get priorities in place.

Action step one: Read the Congressional resolution (note the news of North Carolina's own Milton Rhodes right above resolution info) and the North Carolina Comprehensive Arts Education Plan bill: Action step two: Contact your local Board of Elections and find out who is running for School Board in your district. Today's action step is about being informed, the first step in successful advocacy.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Stay Tuned - NCAC Grants Funding

The North Carolina Legislature recommended sustained grants funding for the North Carolina Arts Council, but because of concerns about Medicaid reimbursement and economic stimulus extensions, 1% was held back from every state department. The net effect on grants was a 2.5% holdback. 

The federal jobs bill that broke through a filibuster yesterday has $16 billion in Medicaid reimbursement, and the bill is expected to be on the President's desk in the next few days. This could mean good news for grant recipients, but the impact will not be known when grants are announced by Secretary Carlisle at a news conference Monday in Durham. 

Stay tuned and live expectantly.

State Board Appoints Arts Education Task Force

The North Carolina State Board of Education unanimously voted to appoint the Arts Education Task Force members at its Thursday meeting. Senate Bill 66 calls for the Task Force to consider and recommend K-12 arts education policy, implementation strategies, and funding needs to the North Carolina Joint Education Oversight Committee by December 1. The appointees include:
  • Helga Fasciano, Co-Chair (NCDPI)
  • Mary Regan, Co-Chair (North Carolina Arts Council)
  • Becky Bailey, Facilitator (Meredith College)
  • Dan Stirckland – Superintendent, Columbus County Schools
  • Tony Baldwin – Superintendent, Buncombe County Schools
  • Jeffrey Cox – Superintendent, Alleghany County Schools
  • Jan King – Principal, Henderson County Schools
  • Greg Monroe – Principal, Greene County Schools
  • Alan Parker – Principal, Guilford County Schools
  • Noël Grady-Smith – Dance Educator, Davie County Schools
  • Barbara Geer – Music Educator (Retired), Wake County Schools
  • Gordon Hensley – Theatre Educator, Appalachian State University
  • Cheryl Maney – Visual Arts Educator, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
  • Jane Austen-Behan – LEA Arts Coordinator, Pitt County Schools
  • Catherine Demcio – A+ Schools, Wake County
  • Debra Horton – Executive Director, NCPTA
  • Pierce Egerton – President, ARTS North Carolina
  • Martin Lancaster – President (Retired), NC Community School System
  • Senator Katie Dorsett – Co-Chair, Joint Select Committee on Arts Education
  • Genevieve Farmer – Member, Joint Select Committee on Arts Education

Four additional appointees are TBD, including one Senator and one Representative from the North Carolina General Assembly.

ARTS North Carolina will keep you updated on all Committee meetings, locations, processes, and decisions. This is our industry's opportunity to make sure that every child in North Carolina has equal access and opportunity to be successful in school because arts education is valued as an essential core subject.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Value of Membership

ARTS North Carolina has begun its membership campaign asking organizations to renew for 2010-11. Individuals will receive a letter next week. We once had a very articulate Board member who would ask the question, "What is my return value?" He took a hard line business approach, and we continue to thank him.

His question will always be relevant. Over the years, ARTS North Carolina has increased recurring grant funds and then sustained them in the most difficult economic climate our nation has ever known. ARTS North Carolina brought arts education to the forefront of our Legislature and spearheaded the passage of Senate Bill 66, North Carolina's first legislation in support of arts education.

ARTS North Carolina passed the amusements tax exemption for all arts non-profit organizations... twice. We produce a highly effective legislative day, we connect our industry through communications, and we are reaching new constituents through our lively social media initiatives. We strategize and train people how to strategize in their communities. (On that note, get ready for Election 2010!)

Before one Legislative session is finished, we are working on the next. We provide the mechanism for one of our most fundamental rights – the right to petition government. We give people the opportunity to make a difference, one action at a time. ARTS North Carolina does this work with you and because of you, and we are grateful for your sustaining support.

You can skip the paper work and renew now on-line at You can print our form and have us charge your credit card each month. You can make a pledge, and we will invoice you. You can stick a check in the mail. The important thing is to take action and keep us speaking for the arts wherever there is need.