Creativity at the Core

The hottest day of last week’s heat-spell in Folsom, CA, saw me in a roomful of artists, arts education specialists, and reps from County Offices of Education all over California. There was air conditioning, ice tea, and we were near a river! It was a long drive and a full moon, and a meeting full of portent.

TAG is excited to announce our partnership with the Alameda County Office of Education on a new project, part of a statewide effort to bring arts education to the fore! If this all goes well, these flagship efforts could herald more funding for arts ed in CA, currently (and for about 10 years now) on the near-bottom of the list for arts funding in the nation. It is being seen by the CA Arts Council and others as a way to garner public and legislative support and attention for arts education, investing in specific programs intended to produce visible results. Called “Creativity at the Core”, it links arts education with the implementation of Common Core State Standards. The vision of the project is that arts integration is essential for 21st Century learning, and that students from every culture, region, and socio-economic level deserve quality arts learning as part of the core curriculum. All 11 regions of California were represented by teams of County Offices of Ed and local arts organizations, including , of San Juan Bautista on the Central Coast, and in Los Angeles.

Read more about this innovative program in the press release .

So what is TAG up to in all this? We are teaming up with ACOE on a program to bring Teaching Artists into Alameda County juvenile halls. I am personally very excited about these efforts as it aligns with the work I do as a teaching artist. And it’s going to be a wonderful model not only of the power of the arts in less mainstream areas of education, but very importantly for us, a model for teaching artist engagement and support. By which I mean, things that are not currently standard-issue in the field but which we believe are critical: well-paid trainings, site visits, and prep, support with curriculum development, support available inside and outside the classroom, and lots of clear communication pathways built in, with all the voices who should be part of this process included: regular classroom teachers, specialists, administrators and teaching artists, and people who have been part of the juvenile justice system and come out the other side, too.

TAG/ACOE “quilt” representing our project: Jean’s visual arts skills put to the test.

So yet again, look to TAG as we work ourselves into a creative frenzy developing something amazing and useful and ARTful: we start rolling this out next month for a first session in August. If you are interested in being involved, please contact us, too. Also importantly: don’t forget to come celebrate all the hard work and hopeful portending for the state of the arts/ed with us at We’ll see you soon.




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