State of fine arts to be discussed in Fayette 2011.12.14

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Art leaders from three states will meet in Fayette next week to discuss the state of the arts in the age of the “new normal.”

The “new normal” is a phrase coined to describe America’s continuing economic downtown. In many areas, the fine arts have suffered from lack of funding as municipal sources run dry.

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, Susan Burke, executive director of the Florida Alliance for Arts Education will speak to guests at the Fayette Opera House. Following a luncheon, she will be joined in a panel discussion by Donna Collins, executive director of the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, and Mike Latvis, director of public policy for ArtServe Michigan

The “arts collaborative” is designed to bring together non-profits and public school districts to discuss strategies for strengthening arts programming and education.

The key element in planning the event, said organizer Tom Spiess, came through contact with Fayette native Susan (Sly) Burke who will be visiting her parents who live near Fayette.

Burke served as director of education for the Sarasota (Fla.) County Arts Council from 2002–05 where she coordinated the Artists in Schools program. She also served on an arts education task force before joining the Florida Alliance for Arts Education.

Collins, of the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, will bring a wealth of experience in arts education and advocacy organizations.

Latvis, of ArtServe Michigan, develops advocacy campaigns and public policy initiatives in support of art programs, often working with the state legislature and U.S. congressional members.

Spiess recalls a time in the past when private and public support for the arts was more vibrant. 

“This is our effort to recreate a dialogue between local organizations and schools, and to develop that upstream with public policy advocates,” Spiess said.

The guest speakers “have their finger on the pulse” of state and federal policy, Spiess said, and art educators need to hear what is happening in the states.

He wants to gather the perspective of policy makers, create opportunities to re-connect with them, and try to influence public policy.

“We need to maintain standards for the arts in state curriculum guidelines,” Spiess said, adding that it’s well known how the creative process enhances education overall.

Some relationships exist between school and local organizations—such as the collaboration between Morenci schools and Stair Public Library—and Spiess wants policy-makers to become aware of them and show support.

Spiess is inviting school representatives from districts along the border of Ohio and Michigan, knowing that organizations can help schools meet state objectives. As an example, the Fayette Arts Council recently brought a speaker from the Kelsey Museum of Archeology at the University of Michigan, at low cost. An after-school program is in the works.

The turn-out might be small for conference next week, but what’s important, Spiess said, is to have people “who are bright and articulate and not whine about the condition but rather simply state the realities of what we face.”

Spiess says it’s essential to look at the role that small communities play in the creative process. There are creative people in every small community, he said, and policy-makers need to be reminded of that.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016