Arts Education News - Dec 2013
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Local News

The 28th Annual Art Teachers of the Year Award Ceremony

The 28th Annual Arts Teacher of the Year Award Ceremony, Broward County’s premiere event for arts education, was held at Broward Center for the Performing Arts in the fall. The evening a showcase of Broward's talent, celebrated winners in arts education and welcomed groundbreaking numbers of guests in local business people, government officials and the arts and academic community.

“More than 400 people attended the event, a great show of support for arts education in Broward County,” says Lois Marino, Program Coordinator, Business for the Arts of Broward

With the winners still unknown as the evening commenced, the schedule unfolded into an Oscar-like theme, with finalists and winners of each category announced between stellar performances of some of Broward top arts students.

With the winners still unknown as the evening commenced, the schedule unfolded into an Oscar-like theme, with a finalist from each category being announced throughout the evening as the winner was named and the vocal audience erupted in cheers.

The winners are:

Dance – Toranika Washington, University School at Nova Southeastern University, Broward
Music – John Nista, Ramblewood Middle School, Coral Springs
Theater – Jason Zembuch, South Plantation High, Plantation
Visual Arts – Keri Porter, Wingate Oaks Center, Lauderhill
Teaching Artist Award – Timothy Leistner, artist, writer, educator

The show opened and ended with Speaking Volumes and Cultural Division’s Director Earl Bosworth showcasing his artistic ability as the bass playing member. In between each winner announcement, there were arts performances. Senior Jennifer Luechauer, South Broward High, enchanted the audience with a soothing, folksy yet classical flute number, followed by Parkway Middle School of the Arts’ Davion Jones, the 8th grade theater major who silenced and stunned the audience with his controlled and powerful solo vocal performance. Dancers from the Awareness Dance Ensemble, Innovations Dance Theatre at University School of Nova stilled the audience with a though-provoking dance routine on the lives of fictional homeless characters; a subject apropos to the Broward community.

Some of the local artists in attendance included George Gadson, Darby Hayes and Timothy Leistner, all nominated for that exclusive Teaching Artist award.


State News

Where Broward Educators Go For Bright Ideas

CPALMS Perspectives initiative is developing a diverse collection of online standards-based video resources for Florida teachers, and is making an ongoing effort to highlight the arts as part of STEM education. The State Division of Cultural Affairs will be collaborating with CPALMS for future webinars to promote Arts in Education.
For an example, watch the below video to learn about physics and the Balinese gamelan from FSU ethnomusicologist Elizabeth Clendinning, click here for video


National News

BCPS High Schools Named Among Best in the Nation by U.S. News & World Report

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is home to several Best High Schools in the nation and state, according to recent rankings by U.S. News & World Report. In all, 13 BCPS high schools received gold, silver or bronze medals in the U.S. News’ Best High Schools 2013 national ranking.  

American Institutes for Research implemented U.S. News comprehensive rankings methodology, which is based on the key principles that a great high school must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college-bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show the school is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.

U.S. News analyzed more than 21,000 public high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia. This is the total number of public high schools that had 12th grade enrollment and sufficient data from the 2010/11 school year to analyze. Schools were awarded gold, silver or bronze medals based on state proficiency standards, exams, how well students are prepared for college and other factors.

Broward’s gold medalists schools are Cypress Bay High School (#15 state, #180 national), Pompano Beach High School (#17 state, #230 national) and Nova High School (#27 state, #454 national). In addition to being gold medalists the schools achieved top national ranking and represent the state’s top 50 schools.      

Eight BCPS high schools are national silver medalists and rank in the state’s top 100. McFatter Technical High School (#36 state, #592 national), Atlantic Technical High School (#40 state, #646 national), Pembroke Pines Charter High School (#42 state, #700 national), Fort Lauderdale High School (#45 state, #790 national), Stranahan High School (#53 state, #967 national), Somerset Academy Charter Conservatory High School (#62 state, #1,190 national), South Broward High School (#74 state, #1,602 national), and Deerfield Beach High School (#75 state, #1,635 national)


  Report: Arts, Culture Add $500 Billion to Nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

As reported by Brett Zongker of the Associated Press, the United States' Creative industries led by Hollywood, account for about $504 billion, or at least 3.2 percent of U.S. goods and services, the government said in its first official measure of how the arts and culture affect the economy.
Soon, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts will release the first-ever estimates of the creative sector's contributions to U.S. gross domestic product based on 2011 data, the most recent figures available. GDP measures the nation's production of goods and services.

Sunil Iyengar, the endowment's research director, said the yardstick devised in partnership with the Bureau of Economic Analysis drew on figures from Hollywood, the advertising industry, cable TV production, broadcasting, publishing, performing arts and other areas. Now the nation's creative sector will be measured annually, much as statisticians calculate the contribution of tourism, health care and other sectors to the nation's economy.

"One of the challenges that's always been there for economists and even lay people and certainly policy makers is to understand what is the arts' value," Iyengar said. "Here's a measurable, legitimate, rigorous way of tracking the contributions of the creative economy in the country."

By comparison, the arts and culture sector outpaced the U.S. travel and tourism industry, which was 2.8 percent of GDP in 2011, based on the federal estimate. That finding surprised even the researchers.

In the workforce, Hollywood and the video industry employed the most people, totaling 310,000 workers and $25 billion in compensation, according to the data. Museums and performing arts industries each employed about 100,000 people. In total, 2 million people worked in creative industries.

Analysts defined arts and cultural output based on creative artistic activity and the goods and services produced by it or used to support it. They also included the construction of buildings to house creative industries. Beyond entertainment and advertising, the analysis included independent artists, broadcasting, publishing of books, magazines and newspapers and design and architectural services.

The analysis will be updated each year, next in fall 2014 to include 2012 data.

  Congressman John Conyers for JAZZ!


During the second week of December, Congressman John Conyers, sponsor of the 1987 bill which officially designated jazz a "national American treasurer," will introduce a revised version of the National Jazz Preservation and Education Act. The bill was first introduced in 2011 and it would establish a National Jazz Preservation Program at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. It would also authorize creation of a new Jazz Artists in the Schools program and a new Jazz Ambassadors program which would send young musicians and secondary school jazz ensembles abroad on missions of goodwill, education and cultural exchange.



Ecosystems at Risk by Alex Sarian


Two very scary, and seemingly unrelated, things happened in 2008:   1) 100,000 nonprofits around the US (many of them arts, education, & culture based) began the slow and painful process of going out of business, and 2) the Holdridge’s toad, one of Costa Rica’s most prevalent species, was declared extinct.

Let’s talk toads first:
There are two schools of thought that explain why a species might become extinct. The first holds the environment responsible, stating that the Holdridge’s toad became extinct because of “chytridiomycosis” (look it up), a disease caused by effects of climate change. In this case, the toads were not able to evolve fast enough to adapt to the fast-changing environment around them. The second option, ironically, holds the species responsible. This popular evolutionary theory called the “Red Queen hypothesis” – named after Lewis Carroll’s character who described her country as a nation in which “it takes all the running YOU can do, to keep in the same place” – argues that species biologically increase in numbers until they reach the ‘carrying capacity’ of their environment, by which point the environment is too consumed (deteriorated) to sustain such diversity. Extinction. Scientists predict that by 2050, as a result of one of the two theories mentioned above, a full quarter of the species known to us today will be extinct. 

What’s interesting to me, though, is that it took scientists 22 years to declare the Holdridge’s toad extinct (the last known toad was seen in 1986). Understandably, nobody was really surprised by the announcement in 2008.

Yet, who among us knew that 71% of performing arts organizations in New York City would face deadly budget cuts, 33% would be forced to lay off employees, and 35% would have to cancel programs? And statistics weren’t as friendly for our friends over in the visual arts, where 63% were forced to reduce their staffs. It’s also worth arguing that these percentages were far more devastating in other regions around the country, where the arts aren’t easily associated with the identity of a city like they are in NYC. New York wasn’t even ranked in the top 10 states faced with the largest budget cuts in the nation – Michigan faced an 81% budget cut in the arts that year, and California’s per capita spending on the arts was an embarrassing $0.12.

So why were we caught so unawares when the standard definition of ‘ecosystem’ applies equally to both cases? “A system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment.”

I am more worried for arts education than I am about toads. Why? Because as a species, we’ve always had a crisis of identity – not knowing what ‘environment’ we belong to in the first place: Arts? Education? Certainly, if Congress has taught us anything, it’s that ‘arts education’ is not (yet?) its own, fully realized environment. The second reason (the more daunting one perhaps) is the requirement to interact with a community of organisms – something our field has historically not done so well.  But not only has collaboration never been a traditional strong suit of our field, we are all also wanting to do more and more every day – getting us all a little bit closer to the ‘carrying capacity’ of what our environment can sustain. And we all know what happens next.

My wish for all of us is that we truly absorb the definition of “ecosystem” in all that we do. It requires us to genuinely collaborate with each other while being mindful (and knowledgeable) of the many, many environments that surround us and affect our work.

And know that all is not lost: the Holdridge’s toad was rediscovered in 2010.


Teaching Artist Spotlight

Timothy Leistner

Timothy Leistner, artist, writer, and educator has served as a teaching artist for well over a decade and has made a significant impact in the Broward County arts arena. Leistner founded and implemented the “Art Intended for All” Art Education Program for special needs adult participants (2012-2013). He has provided art programs for youth at the YMCA of Broward County; art services for special needs children at UCP of Broward County; art services for special needs children at UCP of Broward County; and art programming for many other non-profit organizations. Timothy Leistner has instructed a watercolor exploration course for over twelve years, as well as offering art classes at his own gallery, "Artist’s Eye Fine Art Gallery," in Dania Beach.

Dr. Leistner teaches courses at Florida Atlantic University. He co-authored the textbook, "Exploring Language Arts through Literature: Birth-Grade 8." He has also created the cover art for the book as well as art for other published works. Leistner was named the "Best Visual Artist-Broward/ Palm Beach" by New Times Magazine (2011); is a recipient of the Joseph Leavitt Award (2013); awarded "Artist of the Year for Community Impact" (2008); the "Individual Art Leadership" award (2009); and was selected as one of the "Faces of the Arts in Broward County (2012)."



Community Arts
Education Partnerships

Incentive Program
FY 2015 Funding

Application Deadline
March, 3, 2014
at 11:59 pm

 Arts Education

Period 1

Application Deadline
February 7, 2014

Period 2

Application Deadline
July 21, 2014

 29th Annual
Arts Teacher
of the Year Program
Application Deadline
June 2, 2014

Contact Info

Cultural Division, 100 South Andrews Avenue, 6th Floor, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301-1829
Adriane Clarke (954) 357-7530