This is the online stream for sharing conversations that happened throughout the Greater Bay Area from March through June 2012 around the question:

How can we collectively transform public education through the arts to create a better future for everyone?

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Hello from Ann Wettrich

Name Ann Wettrich
Date of conversation Monday, April 16, 2012
Conversation Participants MOCHA education staff: Roxanne Padgett and Brandy Gardner ; MOCHA Teaching Artists: Nicole Chan, Mittie Cutera,Angela Gomez-hoffman, Lauire Croft, Mona Chitkara, Jordana Autrey, Danielle Freeburn, Kara Fourtune, Veronica Graham, Michelle Villoria,
Jill McLennan and Amy Ortiz and Leticia Padgett;
Conversation facilitated by Ann Wettrich, MOCHA interim executive director.
Meeting Topics? • Resources for Transforming Public Education
• Addressing Issues of Violence
Where are we now? Share key takeaways
We began by interrogating the question: How can we collectively transform public education through the arts to create a better future for everyone? and our discussion generated new issues and questions: Art alone cannot transform public education. Government’s responsibility for public education is waning as evidenced in on-going budget slashing. How can this be prevented? If we create a big vision, can it attract more funding?

Violence in Oakland and its impact on teaching and learning emerged as a fundamental concern. Teaching artists discussed lock downs they’d experienced this year at school sites. Many mentioned their desire to be better informed and expressed the need for professional development and support in addressing the issues.

Where should we go, and why? Share key takeaways The healing role of art and the creative process was discussed. An idea for MOCHA to develop an anti-violence curriculum was suggested. Thinking together about the role and responsibility of art and artists to society, helped to surface the potential of art education as a creative liberating force with the capacity to resonate across individual, school and community contexts.
How Should we get there? Share key takeaways
We began to identify a few potential resources to address issues of violence
• MOCHA teaching artists experienced in this area
• Art education organizations with expertise in anti-violence curricula Art Esteem and Destiny;
• Beyond the arts—Wright Institute, mindfulness/conflict resolutions approaches, family counseling agencies.
• Tony Smith/OUSD
• Rainbow Youth Center

We discussed a few possible strategies:
• Partnerships to strengthen communication and evolve effective educational policies and practices
• Professional development at MOCHA for teaching artists
• Incorporating non-arts issues (like violence) into discussions with students
• Youth advisory group at MOCHA
• Paid youth internships at MOCHA for 8th grade through high school students

Next Steps? Posting our conversation here for others to weigh in and share their thoughts.

One Comment on “Hello from Ann Wettrich”

  1. lmusic says:

    MOCHA colleagues ~
    You might approach Sarah Crowell at Destiny arts to think about a collaboration that can build explicit expertise between arts and non-violence. Yes, we need to get government to invest in the arts ESPECIALLY when resources are scarce, because they are the most effective way to engage kids successfully in school (see Jenny Carthern’s post on Intrinsic Motivation). Also – check out the April 23 SF Chronical article on “State looks at putting art back in schools”. Also – we need to get out there and get people to vote for the November initiatives to bring more financial resources into our schools.