Work of Art – National Cathedral: Space Window in Washington, D.C.
Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy is the seminal publication reporting on the sources and uses of charitable giving in the United States. For the past 57 years, these reports have provided fundraisers, nonprofit leaders, donors, and others within the charitable sector, with “the most comprehensive charitable giving data available.” Here are the highlights from Giving USA’s 2013 report, establishing the context for annual giving in the United States for 2012-2013.
AU Arts Management Master’s Capstone Presentations – Spring 2013
Emerging arts leaders from American University’s Arts Management program discuss more than a year’s worth of research and work on their Master’s Capstone projects. Presentations were made Thurs – Fri, May 2-3 & Mon, May 6, 2013.
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In the first part of my ART CART fellowship (Fall 2012), my classmates and I were given the task of researching a topic related to arts and aging. Considering my interest in arts engagement, I compiled this brief annotated bibliography to add to the knowledge base of the ART CART project.
Friedman, M. (2012). Art Can Be Good for Mental Health. Huffington Post. Retrieved from website: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-friedman-lmsw/art-mental-health_b_1562010.html?ir=Arts
As suggested by the title, the purpose of this article is to describe and help others better understand how “art can be good for mental health.” The author’s experience and extensive knowledge of psychology and social work warrant a level of credibility and establishes confidence in the reader. The article supports greater participation in the arts and provides ample justification of this position.
Author Michael Friedman, L.M.S.W. (which stands for Licensed Master Social Worker, as I have come to discover) presents content in a logical, comprehensible, and relevant way, addressing key aspects and implications of arts participation on mental health and the aging process. He begins by addressing art more broadly, as a “tremendous source of happiness for a great many people,” and how it can be “a healing force” for those with mental illnesses, and points to the contribution of art to one’s overall mental health.
He continues by citing Martin Seligman, author of Flourish, and his concept of psychological well-being, which consists of “five critical elements” – ‘positive emotion, engagement, accomplishment, positive relationships, and meaning.’ Throughout the remainder of the article, he demonstrates how the arts effectively serve and enhance each of these elements. To summarize, he states:
The contributions that art can make to psychological well-being via enjoyment, immersion, development of skill, revelation and expression of emotion, shaping of self, connections with people and a culture, and the potential for transcendent experience apply both to people without mental disorders and those with mental disorders. For them, art can have a great healing impact…
To close, he emphasizes the capacity of arts participation to establish fulfilling lives among present and future generations. He also poses the idea of a public mental health agenda, which not only aims to provide treatment for those with mental disorders, but also attends to the “human potential to live well.”
Ellena, Eric and Berna Huebner. Narrated by Olivia de Havilland. Produced by Centre national de la cinématographie, Association France Alzheimer, French Connection Films, Hilgos Foundation. Distributed by Aquarius Health Care Media. 2009. Documentary. I remember better when I paint: Treating Alzheimer’s through the creative arts. Paris, France: French Connection Films.
In the documentary’s trailer, which has been made available on YouTube, narrator Olivia de Havilland begins to unfold the journey of aging adults in creative activities and the many benefits of engaging in the arts. The feature film centers on older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and having to cope with its adverse affects.
The documentary consists of seven short films, featuring a variety of creative therapies and ways of adapting and incorporating them into existing programs in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and care centers. The purpose of this documentary is to capture and illustrate the positive results associated with creative activities and mental health. It highlights the ability of “drawing, painting, and museum visits to improve quality of life and to restore a dialogue between caregivers and families.”
The film incorporates multiple perspectives from a variety of interdisciplinary fields. Dr. Robert C. Green, Professor of Neurology and Genetics at Boston University, provides insight into the rather selective onset and early nature of the disease (targeting the area of the brain responsible for creating new memories). Dr. Sam Gandy, the Associate Director of Mount Sinai Alzheimer’s disease Research Center in New York City, discusses parts of the brain associated with creativity – the Parietal Lobe – and how this area tends to be affected much later in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Tony Jones and Judy Holstein provide a more aesthetic, visceral description of the response to and benefits of Alzheimer’s patients experiencing and participating in the arts. Tony Jones, the Chancellor of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, reflects on the connection that is established between the older adults and the art, which is somehow communicating and creating a dialogue through its various features (e.g. scale, color, and vibrancy). Judy Holstein, Director of CJE Senior Life Day Service in Chicago, provides insight into this remarkable phenomenon:
The creative arts are an avenue to tap into a nonverbal, emotional place in a person. When they’re given paint, markers, any kind of medium for art-making, and their hands are involved and their muscles are involved, things are tapped in them that are genuine, and active, and alive. So the creative arts bypass the limitations and they simply go to the strengths…
National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts (2007). Creativity Matters: The Arts and Aging Toolkit. Retrieved 11/03/12, from artsandaging.org/index.php
The National Guild of Community Schools, the National Center for Creative Aging, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center developed a toolkit to provide information and tools for leaders involved in the arts and aging programs. Arts Creativity Matters: The Arts and Aging Toolkit is designed to help readers appreciate the urgency for such programs, to better understand and learn about older adults, aging services, and the arts, to articulate the benefits to a variety of stakeholders, and to create, manage, and sustain arts and aging programs for older adults.
The purpose of the toolkit is summarized on the Creativity Matters webpage. “Designed for the arts and aging services fields, this resource explains why and how older adults benefit from participating in professionally conducted community arts programs and offers detailed advice and examples on program design, implementation, and evaluation.” Creativity is a central theme, understandably, and serves as a relevant connection to the arts and the meaningful experiences and contributions of older adults as individuals and within communities.
The toolkit is divided into ten chapters and supplemented by a glossary of terms and appendices offering various tools, templates, and resources. The contents of the Creativity Matters: The Arts and Aging Toolkit include:
- Chapter 1: Understanding the Context for Arts and Aging Programs
- Chapter 2: How Arts Participation Benefits Older Adults
- Chapter 3: The Aging Services Field
- Chapter 4: The Arts Field
- Chapter 5: Effective Practices
- Chapter 6: Program Design
- Chapter 7: Program Implementation
- Chapter 8: Evaluation
- Chapter 9: Public Awareness
- Chapter 10: Looking to the Future
This toolkit appears to be a useful and informative resource. It serves to build communication, understanding, connections, community, and respect among and between those involved. The establishment of and participation in high-quality arts and aging programs not only enhances learning and discovery over the lifespan, it also engages older adults in the creation and celebration of one’s personal and artistic legacy.
American University graduate students – including myself – and others are helping older artists save our national legacy in the ART CART: Saving the Legacy project.
ART CART DC Artist Lila Oliver Asher has been featured on WTOP radio’s website. “Slice of Life: Lila Asher, an active artist for more than seven decades,” by WTOP intern Hoai-Tran Bui. Check it out! http://www.wtop.com/1232/3278510/Lila-Asher-active-artist-for-more-than-seven-decades-
Based on original post by Kristen Engebretsen on Feb. 26, 2013
The big winner at Sunday night’s Academy Awards was arts education. In two key moments, a spotlight was shone on the important role the arts play in children’s lives.
At the end of the broadcast, there was the wonderful statement of support by First Lady Michelle Obama. She said, “They are especially important for young people. Every day they engage in the arts, they learn to open their imaginations and dream just a little bigger and to strive every day to reach those dreams.”
But before the First Lady’s surprise appearance, there was another big moment for arts education during the Best Documentary Short category. The winning film,Inocente, is the story of a 15-year-old girl who refuses to let her dream of becoming an artist be stifled by her life as an undocumented immigrant forced to live homeless for the last nine years.
Inocente was introduced to the arts through a program in San Diego called ARTS | A Reason To Survive, which uses therapeutic arts programming, arts education, and college & career preparation to create pathways to success for youth facing adversity. Founder Matt D’Arrigo is a member of Americans for the Arts and we featured his programs in the Dec. 2012 edition of the Monthly Wire.
The following video from San Diego’s ABC affiliate shows the arc of events for Inocente—starting homeless, then participating in ARTS’ programs, all the way up to production of the documentary and standing onstage at the Oscars after Americans for the Arts Artists Committee member Kerry Washington revealed her story as the winning documentary:
(Editor’s Note: Because it is a Flash video, it may not play properly in your browser. To view it on their site visit bit.ly/artseddoc).
Kudos to filmmakers Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine for the incredible job they did conveying the power of the arts to build resiliency and transform lives.
Thanks to Matt and his team for providing these essential arts programs to youth in San Diego and for sharing this success story with the rest of us!
“In a first-of-its-kind partnership with Philadelphia Live Arts, The Philadelphia Orchestra collaborates with the New York-based Ridge Theater Company to present a 21st-century treatment of The Rite of Spring with dancers, video projection, and theatrical lighting.”
The Philadelphia Orchestra is in rehearsals for “The Rite of Spring” with the cutting-edge Ridge Theater Company of New York at Verizon Hall. The presentation will include aerialists, multiple scrims for video opportunities, and onstage dancers. (Katherine Blodgett)
Yannick Nézet-Séguin announced his second Philadelphia Orchestra season Wednesday in a climate of acclaim so intense that a less sturdy musician might be braced for the cyclical backlash that the likes of Lang Lang and Gustavo Dudamel have experienced before him. But he says he’s just happy word is circulating that the Philadelphia Orchestra is back.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin announced his second Philadelphia Orchestra season Wednesday.
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His energy, plus a diminutive but muscular physique, prompted mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato to dub him “Mighty Mouse” in a New York Times profile.
Until then, the Montreal-born conductor knew nothing about the American cartoon character. “Joyce wrote me a message immediately and said ‘Oh God! I’m so embarrassed!’ I went online, saw what Mighty Mouse was, and thought, ‘Why not?’ I find this cute and funny.”
He also didn’t know that Mighty Mouse’s catchphrase – “Here I come to save the day!” – was so appropriate to his Philadelphia Orchestra tenure. But he does now.
Read more>> Orchestral innovations
I have always thought of symphony orchestras, or any large musical ensemble, to function somewhat like clockwork.
As a musician, one quickly realizes that the success of the symphony (e.g. high-quality performance, beautiful tone, expressive phrasing, etc.) is dependent on the sum of its parts. The performance of every individual must be sensitively adjusted to compliment the rest of the ensemble in order to produce one cohesive musical story.
The internal intricacies, typically unseen by its admirers, must be functioning properly and working together in order for the larger system to operate properly. In the case of a clock, even the grandest, most impressive-looking ones may cease to operate with broken or damaged parts. Similarly, symphony orchestra management can be most effective when all of its departments are working well and moving forward together.
What if we, as nonprofit leaders in the arts, took a systemic approach to orchestra management? Rather than focusing on issues separately and only when we are forced to deal with them, one might adopt the mindset of always doing what is best to maintain the overall health of the organization in the long run. Perhaps we should start asking ourselves: How does the health of the organization affect the community it serves or the field as a whole? How can you help your art-form continue to be resilient in an environment of constant change?
I have thought about the idea of holistic management for a while and now a new book, appropriately named Resilience, is making me think that it is not only a good way to manage arts organizations, but may also be a better way of living life. In no way am I an expert at this and I am still learning, but I wish to be the best arts manager I can be. I believe in the importance of symphony orchestras in society and hope to inspire others to continue to engage in their performances and events.
- What do you do in your daily life and work to make sure you’re seeing the larger picture?
- What mechanisms have you built-in to ensure that your organization has the ability to “bounce back” in the face of hardship?
More ideas to come… for now, I welcome your thoughts and comments!
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Thank you, Professor Andrew Taylor for inspiring me, as well as other emerging art leaders at American University, to embrace new ways of thinking about the arts and career readiness around the concept of resilience.