National Guild For Community Arts Education

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The Conference for Community Arts Education features 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 sess.jpgkey programs, and advocate for more equitable access to arts education. 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, Community Partnerships, Creative Youth Development, Social Justice, Arts-in-Education, and Teaching Artist Development, as well as the Next Level nuts and bolts skills you need to grow your organization.

Plenary Sessions

Who’s Got the Power: Art, Resistance, Hip Hop Civics, & Joy 

Thursday, November 3, 10:00AM - 11:30AM

In 2016 arts educators need to be providing the youth that they serve with conceptual tools for both understanding and working collectively to combat racial and social injustice. Dr. Bettina Love will discuss how art, resistance, and Hip-Hop, when linked to the sociopolitical lives of youth, nurture their civic sensibilities to engage in the work of fighting for visibility, inclusion, and justice. Her speech will also be a call to action. Dr. Love calls on the field to not only teach students about racial violence, oppression, and how to make sustainable change in their communities through innovative movements, but to also expose youth to the possibilities that come with envisioning a world built on joy, radical love, and finding power in centering humanity.

  • Bettina Love, Author & Associate Professor, Educational Theory & Practice, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Friday Keynote

Friday, November 4, 10:00AM - 11:30AM

Friday plenary session speaker and description will be set in the upcoming weeks. Check back for updates.

Annual Awards Luncheon

 Awards-lunch.jpgSaturday, November 5, 12:30PM - 2:15PM

Join us for a celebratory luncheon honoring two extraordinary leaders in the field:  Lowell Noteboom (National Guild Service Award) and this year’s National Guild Leadership Awardee(TBA). The Luncheon, which is included in registration, also features performances by local Chicago musicians and performers.

Special Sessions

Cultural Competency and Racial Literacy: 21st Century Frameworks for ALL Effective Arts Education Leaders 

Thursday, November 3, 12:00 - 3:30

The 21st century represents an unprecedented interconnected global society, as demographics in the United States continue to shift and longstanding effective leadership strategies are challenged. Similar to all effective leaders, arts leaders are also increasingly recognizing the urgency to cultivate the ability to communicate effectively across cultural differences and deepen their racial literacy in order to realize their goals of maximizing access and supporting all students and families during their arts education. This workshop will provide you and your organization with new skills and resources to help navigate an increasingly complex cultural tapestry and better support all children and families during their arts journey.

  • Derrick Gay, Educational Consultant, Derrick Gay, LLC

Ticketed event: $15. Lunch will be provided. Registration for this event can be found in the "Next Level Luncheons" section of the registration portal.

Rebuild Foundation Neighborhood Tour

Saturday, November 5, 3:00 - 5:00 PM

Stony-Island1.jpgFounded by Chicago-native and nationally-recognized artist/social activist Theaster Gates, Rebuild Foundation rebuilds the cultural foundations of underinvested neighborhoods and incites movements of community revitalization that are culture based, artist led, and neighborhood driven. Rebuild’s programs enlist teams of artists, architects, developers, educators, community activists, and residents who work together to integrate the arts, apprenticeship trade training, and creative entrepreneurship into its process of neighborhood transformation. During this special walking tour, you’ll learn about the organization’s history in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood and visit multiple program sites, including the Archive House, community garden, and the Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative. The tour will conclude at Theaster Gates’ newest project, the Stony Island Arts Bank, where participants can explore unique collections, including the Johnson Publishing Library and Frankie Knuckles’ Records.

Ticket event: $15. Rountrip transportation provided.

Standing on the Pillars of Hip-Hop: Finding Community Voice through Artistic Expression

Friday, November 4, 2:00 - 5:30 PM

Part 1 - Democracy and Equitability: Exploring Agency in Hip-Hop Culture
How does Hip-Hop have the potential to be a democratizing platform for marginalized populations? In what ways can Hip-Hop make access to arts learning more equitable? Our panelists from community arts institutions throughout Chicago will discuss how a practice in Hip-Hop arts (including graffiti art, turntablism, MCing, and breakdancing) holds the potential to create safe space for exploration and vigor, affirm identity for marginalized populations, circumvent systemic obstacles, and supersede established institutional narratives. Participants will come away with tools for using the lens of hip-hop culture to instill a new sense of possibility and equitability into their programming.
Part 2 - Visual Affirmations of Community: A Pilsen Neighborhood Walking Tour
Led by Graffiti Institute, this walking tour through Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood builds on Part 1 to reinforce the diverse aesthetics and artistic forms that can tell a vibrant community story. From historic Chicano murals, to community projects, to graffiti and street art, this walking tour will connect seemingly disparate art forms into a cohesive story about the affirmation of identity in communities of color. Participants will explore how the ethos of hip-hop culture manifests in one of Chicago’s most artistically vibrant communities.

Part 2 is a ticketed event: $15. Roundtrip transportation provided.

Breakout Sessions

 Highlighted sessions from 2016 Conference. New sessions will be added weekly. Check back regularly for the latest updates!

Fostering a Healthy Environment for Arts Leaders Who Work for Social Justice 

When an arts education organization commits to social justice, it is important that the work is happening at every level. How your administrative team works affects the way your teaching artists work, which directly affects the students you serve. In this workshop, hear how DreamYard Project, a creative youth development organization in the Bronx, is prioritizing community building and leadership development within its administrative team to help develop and sustain well-being in the workplace. DreamYard staff members are expected to approach their administrative work in the same way that DreamYard’s teaching artists and students are expected to approach art-making: creatively and through a social justice lens. In this session, you’ll learn strategies and techniques for fostering a healthy environment for social justice within your organization and hear from representatives of DreamYard’s team on how these practices have positively affected their leadership and social justice work.

  • Rajeeyah Finnie-Myers, Associate Director of Professional Development, DreamYard Project, New York, NY
  • Lisa Green, Department Director, Dance and Music, DreamYard Project, New York, NY


GET FREE: Hip Hop Civics Ed

Dr. Bettina Love will discuss her multimedia Hip Hop civics curriculum for middle to high school students, GET FREE. The goal of the curriculum is to introduce students to a national network of young community leaders, artists, and activists who advocate for social change and democratic inclusion driven by grassroots organizing. GET FREE is inspired by the exuberance, ingenuity, political energy, resistance, love, and DIY model of underground Hip Hop. Its aim is to push and extend ideas of democracy, citizenship, freedom, community, and civic engagement.

  • Bettina Love, Author & Associate Professor, Educational Theory & Practice, University of Georgia, Athens, GA


How a Web Redesign Can Transform an Organization: A Live Case Study

Are you concerned that your current website isn’t delivering on all its promises? An optimized website should inform prospective students, engage and cultivate donors, and bring your brand story to life. Both MacPhail School of Music and Merit School of Music recently partnered with Ciceron, a digital agency in Minneapolis, to create two distinct websites that help bring their community arts schools to life. These “rediscovered” websites now focus entirely on the needs of their communities while achieving key organizational goals. Users and school staff now enjoy a streamlined communication process that simplifies the search for class information, music resources, and organizational progress. Join us to learn cost-effective strategies for enhancing engagement through improved web content, site structure, and an easy-to-use registration processes with quick search results.

  • Andrew Eklund, CEO and Founder, Ciceron, Minneapolis, MN
  • Paul Babcock, President, MacPhail School of Music, Minneapolis, MN
  • Charles Grode, President, Merit School of Music, Chicago, IL


Putting Arts at the Core of Juvenile Justice: An Innovative Collaboration

In Los Angeles County, a groundbreaking collaborative of arts organizations is reframing the arts as a foundational strategy for transforming juvenile justice systems and enabling youth to process, express, and heal from trauma. AIYN was founded in partnership with the LA County Arts Commission in support of the County's efforts to establish arts education as a healing-informed strategy for young people. It's also a key strategy for successful re-entry into community and for accessing creative economy careers. In this workshop, you’ll learn how this Network is supporting a larger shift in the culture of Probation, creating a model for public-private partnership, and laying the groundwork for systemic change in the largest juvenile justice system in the country. It's also positioning arts education as a fundamental way of breaking the school-to-prison pipeline, connecting advocates for arts and juvenile justice.

  • Kaile Shilling, Executive Director, Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network, Los Angeles, CA
  • Denise Grande, Director of Arts Education, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Los Angeles, CA


Storytelling from the Source: Making Arts Learning Visible

Documentation is a critical process for teaching artists, schools, and educational organizations. But how do programs establish authentic documentation and package it for public relations and marketing efforts? In this workshop, you’ll learn how to harness the power to illuminate student voice, deepen learning in any discipline, and communicate authentic experiences in your classroom or program. Participants will engage in documentation practices, study artifacts of learning, and evaluate the audiences and methods for communicating impact. This workshop is grounded in the work of Project Zero’s Making Learning Visible project and is guided by the question: How can I make student learning visible to students, educators, learning community, and beyond? Leave this workshop prepared to implement strategies that simplify and improve how you communicate your impact, beginning in the classroom.

  • Aminisha Ferdinand, Arts Integration Instructional Coach, KID smART, New Orleans, LA
  • Cheryl Manley, Program and Communications Coordinator, KID smART, New Orleans, LA


Sustaining the Human Fabric of Your Organization: Moving Human Resources from Wish List to Reality

Recruiting, developing, and retaining talent is essential to sustaining the structural and fiscal health of our organizations yet rarely do arts education leaders discuss formalizing HR best practices to support and protect our greatest assets—the people whose work fulfills our mission. Whether you have an HR person at your organization or not (and many fall into the “not” category), your organization is doing it. We hire, promote, onboard and occasionally, off-board. In this session, we’ll discuss frameworks for organization talent development and share strategies for strengthening existing HR processes that align with your organizational core values –and budget. This session is designed for all arts administrators who are responsible for managing people

  • Lorna Jane Norris, Vice President of Education, South Shore Conservatory, Hingham, MA


Transforming School Climate to Embrace the Arts and Creative Practice—Even in Challenging Times

Arts education organizations can play a key role in helping school administrators take advantage of arts opportunities for their students and build a school culture that actively creates a safe space for creative expression. In this hands-on workshop, you’ll learn about EASEL (Education, Arts and Social-Emotional Learning), an innovative partnership between three California agencies—Inner-City Arts (an arts education organization), Center for Collaborative Education, and the California Community Foundation—that is supporting school administrators in embracing the arts as a way to connect academic, social-emotional, and social justice goals for their schools. EASEL provides Los Angeles Unified School District administrators in underserved areas with a 10-month program that includes experiential visual and performing arts engagement, social-emotional and brain-based pedagogical theory, and support for implementing these practices at schools. As a participant, you’ll learn about the partnership and gain tools and practice in applying its strategies back home. 

  • Jan Kirsch, Director of Professional Development, Inner-City Arts, Los Angeles, CA

Roundtables and Networking Meetings

 Next-Level Luncheons

Thursday, November 3, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Ticketed event: $35

These dynamic, peer luncheons featured facilitated discussions that generated ideas and practical strategies for taking organizations to the next level. Topics include:

  • Designing Influential Social Media Campaigns
  • Delivering Meetings that Actually Matter
  • Developing and Motivating Your Team
  • Facing the Future: Effective Succession Planning
  • Harnessing the Potential of Your Annual Appeal
  • Leveraging Earned Revenue
  • Professional Development for Part-time Teaching Artists
  • Providing Pathways: Need-based Financial Aid
  • Raising Real Money with Corporate Partners
  • Recruiting and Retaining Students

Networking Meetings

Friday, November 4, 12:15 PM - 1:45PM

session-(1).jpgMeet with some of the National Guild's Networks and Ambassadors. Meetings 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

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