National Guild For Community Arts Education

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Home > Program 2015 > 2015 > Sessions

The Conference for Community Arts Education will feature nationally renowned speakers and dozens of professional development workshops, roundtables, and program showcases designed to help you increase impact, improve participation, raise money, sustain and grow key programs, and advocate for more equitable access to arts education. There also will be daily opportunities to gather with your peers to address common challenges, network, and brainstorm innovations for the field.

Sessions are organized in progressive tracks to provide you in-depth training in leadership development, partnership/collaboration, creative youth development, social justice, innovation, and teaching artist development, as well as the nuts and bolts skills you need to take your organization to the next level.

Plenary Sessions

 Reclaiming Main Street: How We Can Authentically Do Good 


  • Rich Harwood, Founder & President, The Harwood Institute, Bethesda, MD

Thursday, November 12, 10:00AM - 11:30AM

Each of us as arts education leaders comes to our work with the urge to do good, inspire individuals, and enrich the civic life of our communities. But as we try to get things done, we often turn inward to focus more on our own organization at the expense of turning outward to the people we serve. In this thought-provoking keynote, Harwood will discuss how the key to greater impact is to move beyond the walls of your organization and align your vision, goals, and key services with the aspirations of your local community.

 A Love Note to Justice: Building Hope and Healing in Urban America


  • Shawn Ginwright, Professor, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA

Friday, November 13, 10:15AM - 11:45AM

Ginwright’s bold and nuanced keynote proposes a new movement of healing justice to repair the damage done by the erosion of hope resulting from structural violence in urban communities. Drawing on ethnographic case studies from around the country, he emphasizes the need to place healing and hope at the center of our educational and political strategies. In his talk he will share how "teacher activists" in community organizations and stressed schools are employing healing strategies to help their students become powerful civic actors.

Annual Awards Luncheon


  • Kwayera Archer-Cunningham, Founder and President Emerita, Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy, Brooklyn, NY
  • Lily Yeh, Founder, The Village of Arts and Humanities/Barefoot Artists, Inc., Philadelphia, PA

Join us for a celebratory luncheon honoring Kwayera Archer-Cunningham, founding president and CEO of Ifetayo Cultural Arts (Brooklyn, NY) and Lily Yeh, founder of Village of Arts and Humanities (Philadelphia, PA) and Barefoot Artists, Inc. (Philadelphia, PA). Archer-Cunningham will receive the 2015 National Service Award while Yeh will be presented with the 2015 National Leadership Award.

Building off of the luncheon, both award recipients will present conference breakout sessions that will take a more focused look at the successful strategies they've used to inspire communities across the globe.

Breakout Sessions

 Highlighted sessions only. We'll be continuing to add sessions to the website as we develop this year's exciting line-up of sessions and speakers!  

 The Infinite Possibilities of Change: Spark Innovation at Your Organization


  • Helen Eaton, Executive Director, Settlement Music School, Philadelphia, PA
  • Dan Fink, Associate, Innosight, Lexington, MA
  • Adam Johnston, Community Engagement Manager, Settlement Music School, Philadelphia, PA

Learn how Settlement Music School in Philadelphia—an organization with a 107 year history—is intentionally innovating through a systemic approach to identifying growth and expansion opportunities, designing and launching new concepts, predicting success rates of new offerings, and leveraging investment for further innovation.

 CoCre8: Reimagining Spaces for Collaborative Arts Learning


  • Jill Potter, Director of Programs, Urban Gateways, Chicago, IL
  • Marya Spont-Lemus, Community Arts Program Manager, Arts + Public Life, University of Chicago, Chicago IL
  • Emily Hooper-Lansana, Associate Director of Community Engagement, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Developed by Chicago-based organizations—the Smart Museum of Art, the University of Chicago Arts + Public Life, and Urban Gateways – the CoCre8 model brings together artists, high school teachers and students, and arts administrators to look at, talk about, and make art collaboratively. Learn how these partners are dismantling traditional learning hierarchies; embracing multiple roles as learner, educator, and maker; and reimagining spaces to consciously serve new audiences and deepen students’ awareness of and connection to arts learning.

 Sustaining Creative Youth Development: Why Cross-Sector Partnerships are Vital


  • Cynthia Campoy Brophy, Executive Director, artworxLA, Los Angeles, CA
  • Maureen Dwyer, Executive Director, Sitar Arts Center, Washington, D.C.
  • Jane Golden, Executive Director, Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia, PA

Creative youth development leaders from Sitar Arts Center (Washington, DC), MuralArts Program (Philadelphia), and artworxLA (Los Angeles) will share effective practices for partnering with school districts, government agencies, and cultural and health organizations to sustain and grow programs for youth who are majority low-income and at highest risk of dropping out of high school.

 From Evaluation to Evolution: A Design-Centered Approach to Program Development


  • Dan Berkowitz, Director, Collaborative Learning, Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadelphia, PA
  • Polly Kahn, Principal, PK Art Solutions/PK Orchestra Solutions, Philadelphia PA

Using The Philadelphia Orchestra as a case study, this session will share practical strategies for impact evaluation and a design-centered process for developing robust and highly relevant education initiatives for the future.

 Negotiating the Gig: Business Strategies for Teaching Artists


Have you ever lost money on a residency or realized you charged way too little for the work you promised? What are the components you need, from strong curriculum to a working sink, to provide a successful program? In the first half of this session, you will select a signature lesson and work with your peers to identify clear goals, curriculum/community connections, and a sampling of activities. From this, we will work through how to set fair prices for your teaching artist activities, budget for all parts of a project, and develop ‘what if’ scenarios to make budgeting a useful tool in your teaching artist life. You will leave with templates for defining roles, drafting letters of agreement, and designing your unique offerings.

This is a professional development workshop designed for teaching artists only. It is part of the Teaching Artist Development track.

 Fostering the Creative Potential of Older Adults


Everyday 10,000 Americans turn 65. By 2030, older adults will comprise 20% of the U.S. population. Creative Aging programming presents significant opportunities to expand your organization’s reach, maximize impact, and increase support. Is your organization ready? Are your teaching artists prepared to create programming that responds to older adults’ diverse needs and interests?

Skilled teaching artists, whether independent contractors or employees, are critical to ensuring the quality and effectiveness of creative aging programs and require ongoing professional development in how to design and deliver these programs.

In this highly interactive session, you’ll hear about the latest developments in this rapidly evolving field – including updates on national training and advocacy initiatives, research and funding trends. You’ll also learn a variety of programming design and implementation techniques that promote mastery and social engagement – elements key to successful creative aging programs.

This session is designed for career-based teaching artists and organizations that support and employ them. It is part of the Teaching Artist Development track.

 Joining the Momentum: Actionable Projects to Advance the Teaching Artists Field


  • Jean Johnstone, Executive Director, Teaching Artists Guild, San Francisco, CA

During the hands-on pre-conference, Teaching Artist Development: A Collective Action Approach, teaching artists and other stakeholders (e.g., organizations that hire and train teaching artists, funders, etc.) began to plan, and continue to develop, several projects to advance the field of teaching artistry. In this session, you will learn about these projects and have the opportunity to contribute your feedback and ideas, making sure that your interests and needs are included in the ongoing realization of these substantive changes to the arts learning ecosystem. Join us to get involved!

This session is designed for career-based teaching artists and organizations that support and employ them. It is part of the Teaching Artist Development track.

 Teaching Artist Professional Development: Spotlight on Five Effective Models


  • Eric Booth, Arts Learning Consultant, Educator, and Author, High Falls, NY


  • Rodney Camarce, Youth Development Manager, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia, PA
  • Patricia Chilsen, Program Director of Teaching Artist Training and Internships, New York, NY
  • Ama Codjoe, Director, Art Center Programs, DreamYard Art Center, Bronx, NY
  • Travis Laughlin, Arts Education Director, Joan Mitchell Foundation, New York, NY
  • Lisa Murch, Arts Education Director, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia, PA
  • Jean E. Taylor, Teaching Artist, Lincoln Center Education, New York, NY

In this highly-charged “TED Talk-style” showcase, representatives of five exemplary organizations will share their journey towards developing powerful and effective approaches to teaching artist professional development. Learn how Lincoln Center Education, Mural Arts Program, Joan Mitchell Foundation, Community-Word Project, and others are making an investment in teaching artists by providing professional development programs that increase teaching artists’ understanding of their own capacities, enhance their skills, and create pathways for career development. These short-form, energetic presentations will send you home with inspiration and new ideas for how to create, contribute to, enhance, and advocate for meaningful and ongoing teaching artist professional development in your community. 

This session is designed for career-based teaching artists and organizations that support and employ them. It is part of the Teaching Artist Development track.

 It's About the Community: A Dialogue with Keynote Presenter Rich Harwood


  • Rich Harwood, Founder & President, The Harwood Institute, Bethesda, MD

Join Rich Harwood for a follow-up conversation that will further explore the themes discussed in his keynote address and share insights from his 25 years of leadership development and community engagement experience. This is an open format session allowing you to ask Rich questions and participate in a focused dialogue with your peers. You’ll leave with deeper insights into how to actively involve your community in your organization’s decision-making processes, align your vision and programs with community interests and needs, and overcome common challenges of community engagement.

Registration/Management Software Showcase

Learn about cost-effective solutions from ACTIVE Network and ASAP—leading software vendors who will demonstrate registration and management systems designed for community schools, arts centers, and other organizations that offer classes, lessons, and community programs. You’ll also have the opportunity to test drive each system at the Arts Education Expo.

 Building a Movement from the Inside Out


  • James Kass, Founder and Executive Director, Youth Speaks, San Francisco, CA
  • Paula Smith Arrigoni, Chief Operating Officer, Youth Speaks, San Francisco, CA

Strong leadership and investment in infrastructure are critical for community arts education organizations who want to innovate, increase resiliency, and maximize their impact over time—as well as make a lasting contribution to the field. For many of us “in the trenches,” this type of concerted effort and investment in organizational capacity building can feel like a luxury when we are already stretching our limited resources to pay for core programming and to avoid dangerous pitfalls like debt and mission creep.

In this highly practical and inspiring session, representatives from Youth Speaks, a renowned creative youth development organization, will share lessons learned from a recent and ongoing campaign focused on developing the personnel and infrastructure the organization needs to achieve its vision. Learn how their efforts are helping them strengthen their organization and build on that strength to champion a local, national, and increasingly global youth arts movement. Through dialogue on what has worked (and hasn’t), and hands-on practice with tools to get you started, we’ll explore how you can move your organization towards its own vision and make a deeper impact in your community and the field by:

  • Getting honest about your primary business model, and whether you have the right financial priorities, people and systems in place to carry it out
  • Building and stewarding a board that can help you achieve your strategic priorities
  • Telling the story of what your organization hopes to become in a compelling and authentic way.

 Leader as Facilitator


  • Ronnie Brooks, Founding Director, James P. Shannon Leadership Institute, Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, Saint Paul, MN

How can we better work to get things done effectively and minimize the long delays, endless meetings with no actionable outcome, divisive conflicts, and hurt feelings?   How can we provide the kind of leadership that is inclusive and that also leads to action? This session is designed to build the skills of CAELI alumni as facilitators of meaningful and inclusive discussions—both formal and informal—with board members, staff colleagues, parents, students and community members.  Participants will explore the fundamentals of design and management of effective meetings and consider various strategies to address difficult issues, build consensus, resolve conflict, nurture positive relationships, and still reach conclusions.  The session will be highly practical and participatory, giving those who attend a “toolkit” to apply when designing and facilitating meetings.

This session is for alumni of CAELI (Community Arts Education Institute) only.

People of Color in Arts Education Leadership: A Roundtable Discussion


  • Lara Davis, Arts Education Manager, City of Seattle, Office of Arts and Culture, Seattle, WA
  • Rodney Camarce, Youth Development Manager, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia, PA

The community arts education field engages many diverse communities, and people of color (POC) contribute significantly to the work, yet a majority of arts administrators are white. What are the pathways of leadership for people of color in the arts, and how is the field relevant and responsive to emerging and developing leaders of color? Beginning in 2016, the Guild’s new ALAANA (African, Latin, Asian, Arabic, Native America) Network will convene people of color within community arts education to name and prioritize goals that address structural barriers and advance POC leadership in the arts. POC arts facilitators (teaching artists and practitioners, arts administrators, organizational leaders, etc.) are invited to attend this brainstorming session, to collectively create space to discuss limitations within the work of community arts education and examine strategies that foster accountability and facilitate more participation of people of color in the field.

 Bringing Creative Aging to Scale: The Impact of a State-Wide Partnership


  • Jamie D. Dunlap, Director of Arts in Education Division, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Harrisburg, PA
  • Jennie Smith-Peers, Executive Director, Elders Share the Arts, Brooklyn, NY

This session will explore how two state agencies in Pennsylvania successfully replicated an evidence-based creative aging program in senior centers throughout the state. Currently, Pennsylvania is the fourth “oldest” state in the nation, with nearly 2.7 million individuals aged 60 and older and more than 300,000 individuals aged 85 and older. By the year 2030, it is estimated that 3.6 million Pennsylvanians will be aged 60 and older. Learn how the Pennsylvania Department of Aging and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, in partnership with Elders Share the Arts, a nationally-recognized community arts education organization, have been working together to respond to this growing “elder-boom” and how older adults throughout the state have benefitted. The agencies have been training 15 teams comprised of professional teaching artists, senior centers, and community arts in education organizations in how to implement, evaluate, and sustain creative aging arts programs for older adults. Learn how this cross-sector partnership has enabled each of the agencies to share resources, expand their knowledge, and create deeper commitment from senior centers to provide high-quality participatory arts learning opportunities. Panelists will talk candidly about how the partnership was formed and what it took to be successful, and share advice on how other community arts education organizations can position their programs for replication.

 The Real Work: New Practices for a New Era in the Arts


Behind the ongoing programmatic and financial stresses being felt by the field of community arts education lies a vast territory of change in the arts and culture sector as a whole. A 50-year period of arts development tied primarily to growth in the professional arts infrastructure as the measure of success is giving way to a new phase, emphasizing active participation in the arts, co-mingling of amateur and professional pursuits, and the integration of creative work with wider community interests. This means practitioners across the field unlearning a lot of things we have taken for granted, having the courage to listen to new voices, and experimenting with doing things differently across the board.

In this workshop led by Richard Evans, President of EmcArts and leader of the national Innovation Labs for the Arts, participants will identify the complex challenges that you must tackle, as leaders in community arts education, if the field is to thrive in the future. You will work actively together to question ingrained assumptions and develop new directions by sharing your best thinking about a rapidly changing world. In doing this, participants will learn a powerful framework to stimulate adaptive thinking that you can use in your own organizations to drive productive change.


 Next-Level Luncheons

Thursday, November 12, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Ticketed event: $35

These dynamic, peer luncheons feature facilitated discussions that will generate ideas and practical strategies for taking your organization to the next level. Topics include:

  • Activating Your Brand
  • Building Student Participation in Fee-Based Programs
  • Facing the Future: Effective Succession Planning
  • Harnessing the Power of Volunteers
  • Meeting Them Where They Are: Strategies for Online Arts Learning
  • Mobilizing Parents and Families as Advocates
  • Raising Real Money with Corporate Partners
  • Recruiting and Retaining Talented Staff
  • Technology Planning and Integration
  • Using Data to Tell Your Organization's Story

Networking Meetings

Friday, November 13, 12:15 PM - 1:45PM

Meet with some of the National Guild's Networks and Ambassadors. Meetings will include:

  • Arts-in-Education Roundtable
  • Arts Centers Roundtable
  • Collegiate Divisional Roundtable
  • Creative Youth Development Roundtable
  • Culturally Specific Roundtable
  • Large School Roundtable
  • Mid-Size School Roundtable
  • Small School Roundtable

Board Development Institute

 Strengthening Trustee Effectiveness


  • Susan Meier, Senior Governance Consultant, BoardSource, Washington D.C.

Saturday, November 14. Included in main conference and single day registration; however, pre-registration is required.
9:00AM – 5:30PM (Attendees will break for the Annual Awards Luncheon, which is included)

Strong board and executive leadership are essential to every organization’s ability to fulfill its mission and effectively serve the community. High performing boards understand how to work in constructive partnership with their chief executives, optimize their time in the boardroom, and focus on that which is most important to best support their organization. The result? Higher board engagement, better organizational strategy, advancement on the mission, and greater success in fundraising. This highly interactive, full-day institute, led by board development expert Susan Meier, will provide your leadership team with fresh ideas, concrete tools, and effective practices for strengthening board-staff dynamics, developing a healthy board culture, and engaging collectively in more meaningful, consequential work.

Designed for teams of two ideally comprised of the executive director and an experienced or new board leader. Additional team members are optional.

Teaching Artist Development Track

 Building on the energy-charged work of the past two Guild conferences, this year’s Teaching Artist Development track includes a full-day pre-conference institute (November 11) and a series of breakout sessions during the main conference. The program—designed with arts education expert Eric Booth and a team of teaching artists and stakeholders— will provide a rare opportunity for teaching artists and those who care about advancing the field—employing organizations, funders, organizations that train teaching artists, and others—to work together to draft an action plan for improving the business of teaching artistry, advancing the quality and breadth of teaching artist practice, and activating a national network of the teaching artist field. The track will also include a special professional development workshop for teaching artists only, led by the Bartol Foundation, on Saturday, November 14.

Need-based financial aid is available for career-dedicated teaching artists to participate for a discounted rate of $50/day. Click here for eligibility and application details.

Currently announced Teaching Artist Development track sessions include:

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.