A New Territory for Partnership — by Joe Landon, Executive Director, CA Alliance for Arts EducationPosted: June 26, 2012
The Policy Council of the California Alliance for Arts Education is comprised of 40 organizations from around the state, representing the interests of education, business, arts and parents. It’s a natural forum in which to raise the question of how to expand and strengthen the impact of partnerships in the work we do.
At our last meeting, Jeffry Walker presented the findings of a report commissioned by the California Alliance. Its conclusion underscored the point made in this blog, that partnerships are more effective than unilateral actions, and that we must seek new ways to bridge sectors of society as well as engage and serve diverse communities.
In order to ‘test out’ those findings, we invited the response of representatives from three unique sectors whose interests may overlap with arts education, but who until now have not been seen as natural partners in the work we do. The organizations represented were Ed Trust West, whose work focuses on high academic achievement of all students; Preschool California, working to increase access to high quality early childhood education for all children; and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the union of professional stagehands, motion picture technicians, and allied crafts.
What we heard from their representatives reflected the recognition that arts education was not seen as a priority nor particularlyrelevant to their mission. Yet, as we discussed our individual missions, what emerged were the overlapping interests, whether connected to our shared commitment to provide every child with a complete education that includes the benefits of arts education, the importance of ‘experiential’ learning opportunities throughout the educational experience, and the relevance of the arts to preparing students for careers in the workforce.
The conversation opened new territory for partnership and building a stronger base of support for schools and communities that support the aspirations of all children. As the statewide advocacy organization forarts education, we recognize the critical importance of that effort.
Joe Landon is the executive director of the California Alliance for Arts Education. His professional background includes being a speechwriter and senior consultant in the state assembly, a K-8 music and drama teacher, a preschool teacher, and a playwright, composer and television writer.