Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tuesday Talk with The President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities

On October 20, in honor of Arts and Humanities month, the White House's "Tuesday Talk" featured a live discussion with members of The President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities.  The members involved were Tuesday Talk with The President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities visual artist Chuck Close, ballet dancer Damian Woetzel, and co-chairs Margo Lion and George Stevens, Jr..  I tuned in for the last half hour and knew I had to go back and watch the video of the discussion.  The White House and Americans for the Arts spent several days soliciting questions as well as taking questions live from FB which the members spent almost an hour answering with some great ideas and examples of several programs currently in place that they believe should be modeled across the country.

One of the common themes were programs that use working artists, who do not necessarily have teaching degrees, to bring arts back into the schools.  In addition,they talked several times about how artists are great for the economy.  Chuck stated that artists are "shovel ready" and if given a small amount of stimulus money can make huge impacts in the economy and education.  Also, they pointed out how by moving artists into economically challenges areas, these areas typically become socially and economically revitalized.  Margo, tying these two concepts together - arts in the school and economic growth -  discussed how with students exposed to the arts you get better prepared workers who think out side of the box, know how to think critically and how to pose questions.

I LOVED one of the question posed that the issue was not "getting students to think outside of the box, but rather outside of the oval" (the concept of breaking the tie of teaching to the testing).  Chuck said the arts is the antidote to this idea that has taken over education.  Kids are learning to think more critically and teachers are revitalized in their teaching.

The discussion was so informative and thought provoking.  I encourage you to watch the video (tried to embed the video but could not so just click here to go to the web site).  The web site does allow you to jump to different questions to see just that part of the video; however, if you can take the 45 mins to watch, please do.

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