Thursday, July 8, 2010

Nothing kicks your butt like. . .

your own big mouth and a deadline-  Yesterday I proposed the following presentation topic to the programming chairs of the October 2010 ICFAD conference (ICFAD is NOT a Godzilla foe- "I am ICFAD! Destroyer of worlds and BFF of Megalor!  Fear me Godzilla!" rather it is the International Council of Fine Arts Deans, a great group of arts administrators who do good work).

Ahem, anyway, here's the topic-

Title: Are we preparing our student artists for the world we remember or the world that is?

Higher education exists as a paradox of both creating a future society and reflecting a current society.  Changes in the professional arts environment and how the arts are perceived, attended, and supported has implications for the curriculum being taught in our higher education arts institutions. Recent research studies and data sets from the NEA and the Americans for the Arts National Arts Index are starting to provide insight to how the US perceives and values it's art.  As the incubators of the next generation of artists, are we providing them what they need to thrive in this new world?

So the next few months I'm going to be honing in on this.  The first step is to gather curricula from established programs.  This has gotten easier as most schools post these things online, either as separate documents, or via online catalogs.  So some digging around the internet should be a good place to start.

But if you're lurking about on this blog and want to help- send me links to any schools you think I should look at-  I'm going to start with these, because I've either attended them, or worked at them (or both!)- Northwestern University's School of Music, Dept of Dance, School of Communications (theatre), Southern Methodist University's Meadows School of the Arts (Div of Dance, Music, Theatre, Studio Art), U of North Texas (School of Music), Longy School of Music, Texas A&M Commerce Dept of Music, Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts (Music and Theatre).

I think the second step is to look at the NEA's recent findings and the findings noted in the National Arts Index and identify some characteristics/skill sets/competencies that our students need and compare them to what we're teaching them. 

But that's just where I'm going to start.  I welcome suggestions from any and all.  I've heard that sometimes the comments section doesn't work, so if you are having trouble commenting, feel free to email me directly at  I'll update what I find here.

1 comment:

Brie said...

I was just talking to Sean Kelley about this yesterday! Small world...

I know that the BEST training I got in my theatre degree was from our faculty member who was fresh off a 10-year career working as a chorus boy in New York. The other profs were great - they gave wonderful instruction in technique and process and things like that - but when it came to surviving and auditioning well and really being successful in the BUSINESS world of theatre, that Artist in Residence did WAY more for me than anyone else. If students aren't being taught in part by people who are familiar with the world of the arts as it stands right now, its like sending them onto a freeway in a horse-drawn buggy. (Not that I have anything against the Amish, it's just a metaphor.) I could type for hours on this, but I should probably go back to my actual job. :)