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  1. Bruce C. Meyer says

    The teacher referred to in the quote said two things that seem unrelated but really are related:
    1. music and art is about teaching The Revolution or How to Think About Vietnam
    2. the de facto curriculum is “passing the test.”
    My response is “what goes around, comes around.” That is, if teachers in any discipline, whatever or whichever, betray the public trust to instruct and train their students, then the public will call the teachers–or more likely, the whole field of education who refuses to keep teachers in line–to account. Thus we have the present situation where teachers are burdened by the state-mandated tests, so that they can’t be free to “really” teach the students all about Vietnam and the Revolution.

  2. michel demanche says

    This is my first time responding to any blog. As “professor” in a program that is supposed to help individuals go out into teaching arts K-12 I find this blog to be very important. I have been at this for 25 years and can not even begin to describe the variety of stuff we are told is the best way to prepare our students. I want to thank you for your insignts and hope that the dna which moves me so spend a life with art and education will fit with your blog.

  3. Dear Mr. Kessler:
    I just now discovered “Dewey21C” and wish you well with your new venture.
    Since Aristos frequently covers the field of art education, I thought that you might like to know about our work.
    In the June 2008 issue, see especially “What About the Other Face of Contemporary Art?” and “Museum Miseducation: Perpetuating the Duchamp Myth.” For links to all our articles on the topic, see “Readings in Art Education” in the sidebar to the right. For “Aristos” citations in ArtsJournal, use its search function.
    If you would like to be added to our publication notice mailing list (which we keep private), just send me an e-mail address. (As you will note if you peruse our archives, our publication schedule is often irregular.)
    I look forward to reading your future arts education posts.
    Best regards,
    Louis Torres
    Co-Editor, Aristos (An Online Review of the Arts)

  4. Richard —
    If twice as many students could gain the skills of music-making (as currently defined) twice as fast at half the cost, would that be a good thing?
    What if non-traditional means were required to accomplish that end?
    Consider the alternative user interface for music-making that is described herein:
    Imagine a school which standardized on that interface, and gained the benefits described above — at the cost of incompaibility with music-making’s traditional UI. Would it be worth it?
    As a musician, you may be interested in the deeper theoretical roots of the ThumMusic System:
    I welcome your comments, criticisms, and suggestions.
    Thanks! 🙂
    — Jim

  5. Catherine Wilson, Ed.D. says

    I would love to receive this. How can I sign up? It was sent to me by my college president. Thanks.

  6. Tracy L. Burton says

    I am writing to you as a member of the Illinois and National Art Education Associations, as well as a Chicago Public Schools Art Teacher. Regarding your list of most influential in arts education, I have to assume you do not necessarily mean this as a list of the most “positively” influential people. In my 10 years as a member of NAEA I have rarely heard or seen any of the names on your list as big supporters of arts education. From my years in CPS I know that Arne Duncun doesn’t put much thought into arts education. If he did, we in the trenches would have seen some advances in the last few years. CPS developed an administrative position and new “office of Fine Arts” a few years ago and we honestly have seen almost nothing come of it. While enjoying the 6 figure income, the director has had the opportunity to visit other cities and countries to examine successful arts education models. In the meantime, I continue to teach P-8th at two schools, about 1000 students, 7 classes a day with no prep periods and no budget for art materials. While the director is enjoying time in Switzerland, I am busy making another trip to locations around Chicago picking up free materials for which I have begged. This is what it is like for most elementary art teachers in Chicago. I know they are working on curriculum development based on a NY City Public Schools model, but even the hands-on teachers on that committee are not very happy with the progress. Your list should include arts teachers, because we are the only ones creating any sort of influence on anyone. I admit I know very little about the people on your list. I am very interested to know what your thoughts are on those on your list, why you chose them as most influential, what influence are they making?

  7. Richard,
    A friend just sent me a link to your blog. Thank you so much for featuring Mosaic. How exciting!

  8. Faith Davis says

    I manage a program that honors teachers for outstanding achievement in arts education in Los Angeles County. Is there any place on your blog to post a call for nominations?

  9. We have a lot of articles on the work of Dr. Tomatis, a French ENT who wrote on the ear-voice-brain connection. They may be of interst to you. Certainly his work has proven the importance of utilizing the connection beween music and language skills. You may find it interesting.

  10. Hi!
    Could you point at specific material (bibliography, testimonies, etc.) that deals with arts as a resource for individual healing processes and as a deterrent for social conflict?
    Thank you much for your help and congratulations on your site.

  11. Dear Mr. Kessler:
    I am the editor of Arts Education in the News, a free 8-page newsletter (print run: 17,000) published by the non-profit Charles A. Dana Foundation. In our October commentary we are running an article on you and your blog by our adviser, Janet Eilber. To accompany the piece we would like to run one of your blog posts, “The 10 Most Powerful People in K-12 Arts Education.” Please let me know as soon as possible if a reprint would be possible. I appreciate your assistance.
    Thank you,
    Ben Mauk
    Dana Press
    900 15th Street NW
    Washington DC, 20005

  12. Free Press Cleveland says

    Mr. Kessler,
    Here below is a letter we sent to the Plain Dealer, along with a petition calling for the Reinstatement of Don Rosenberg. If you feel it’s appropriate to publicize our action in your blog, please feel free!
    Thanks for your help!
    Free Press
    Free Criticism
    Free Rosenberg!
    Subject: Reinstate Don Rosenberg
    Date: Thu, 2 Oct 2008 23:05:02 -0400
    Dear Mr. Egger and Ms. Goldberg,
    Attached please find a petition calling for the reinstatement of Don Rosenberg. So far, this petition has only been posted on the Baltimore Sun website, so very few people in Cleveland know about it. Nevertheless, of the people who happened to see the Baltimore blog posting about the petition, 27 have contacted us and indicated their wish to be signators. (Hard copies of the emails from signators have been attached to the hard copy of the letter which was delivered to your mailroom today.) This letter was sent into the PD letters website 2 days ago, but at that point there were 23 names – 4 more have come in since then.
    We have not yet sent the petition to the various news media that have been publicizing this act of censorship – the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian in London, the L.A. Times, Cleveland Scene, NPR’s “All Things Considered,” WKSU, etc. If we do that, presumably many more signatures will come in.
    From the musicians and concertgoers of –
    Free Press
    Free Criticism
    Free Rosenberg!
    FREE PRESS CLEVELAND is an informal group of musicians and concertgoers, brought together out of shock and deep concern about the state of arts coverage at the Plain Dealer. So far, this group has not incorporated or made any effort to recruit members. This email account was set up for the protection of group members who are professional musicians who might face retaliation if they speak out openly. While some group members have discussed a boycott of the PD and its advertisers, that step has not yet been taken.

  13. Martha Ullman West says

    I am a dance historian and critic in Portland, Oregon who grew up in New York. I want to thank you for your riff on Paul Newman, and yes, I wept when I read of his death. Six years ago I named a very handsome orange cat Cassidy–if you get my drift. Newman was wonderful to watch on screen, even in the unspeakable Silver Chalice, because of the way he moved, a man comfortable in his own skin and musculature, like, shall we say, a cat.

  14. Hi Richard…
    I thought you might be interested in an issue emerging with the AP regarding arts education.
    We are following up with the AP editor in washington.

  15. Dear Mr. Kessler-
    My organization would like to send you an invitation to our youth arts and humanities learning award ceremony at the White House, and I’m writing for your email address, as the invitations will be issued electronically. Please contact me at with the best email address to reach you at. The event is in Washington DC on November 14.
    Thank you
    Lindsey Clark Hansen
    Program Assistant
    The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities

  16. Just found your blog and subscribed to it. Thank you for your work. I’ll be listening.

  17. David A. Smith says

    Dear Mr. Kessler,
    I found myself last Friday morning on NPR going up against Quincy Jones on the topic of a Secretary of the Arts and a Department of Culture. A producer at NPR had gotten hold of my recent book about government and the arts, and had called me asking for an interview. We talked for about 20 minutes, and then at the end, seemingly on the spur of the moment, she asked me about this topic, and I voiced my disapproval. Next thing I knew, I was offering a counter to Quincy Jones.
    Apparently, however, few are. It’s blasted difficult to support agencies like the NEA but oppose this idea.
    I appreciate very much your blog entry on this subject, and am happy to hear some skepticism voiced from other people.
    all best,
    David Smith
    Department of History
    Baylor University

  18. richard, I agree about mixed feelings regarding an art czar. i remember the problems at NEA when i was there in the early nineties, during the height of the culture wars and the mapplethorpe flap etc. the big discussion was “access” (should the NEA be populist and spread ‘encouragement money thin) versus “excellence” (should the monies be reserved for the elite in the arts). very heated. but what finally came down from radice (then NEA head) was this: access to excellence. that was what we were all supposed to get on board with. access to excellence. that became the mandate and mantra at NEA. grants were to be made to organizations and projects that provided access to excellence and (because there was not much money anyway) only access to excellence. it was a political compromise and not a very good one as you can imagine. and it didn’t last either because after that regime left, a new one came and tossed the whole concept out. that’s the way of it. so, no, art just doesn’t lend itself to grand arbitration. better we should have a secretary of travel and tourism (no joke) which also this country does not have and which also other countries have and which represents much more money and of course could include the arts.

  19. Laura Roach says

    Hi Richard,
    I wanted to see if you were open to a conversation.
    My boss, Dr. Tony Karrer, is a recognized blogger on eLearning (he just won the award as top eLearning blogger for 2nd year running). As part of his blogging, he has created a content hub
    That pulls together his blogs, delicious links, and other bloggers all in his world of eLearning. It organizes them according to keywords that he’s defined and it has a widget that is easily added to participating bloggers. Because of the way it works, it does pretty well on lots of long tail searches:
    and generates pretty good search engine traffic. The result is that it has become his second best source of traffic (behind Google search).
    He asked me to find a few top bloggers in other niche areas who would be interested in creating something similar for their niche. For example, we recently launched:
    Are you interested in discussing this with us?
    I should mention that it is free and we’d do most of the work. We just want to see if we can create similar success in other domains.
    Please feel free to ask any questions.
    Take Care,
    Laura Roach
    Production Administrator

  20. Richard,
    I’m the New York City-based communications director for the Core Knowledge Foundation. We should get together and talk about what we might to further our shared interests.
    Robert Pondiscio

  21. I enjoy reading your blog, and wanted to call your attention to a report on connections between learning to look at art and critical thinking skills that was completed in 2006 at the Gardner Museum in Boston. Called “Thinking Through Art,” this report outlines a three-year research project — supported by a major grant from the U.S. Department of Education — that showed how students who participated in an art discussion program (to be specific, we use the Visual Thinking Strategies curriculum) developed twice as many critical thinking skills as students from matched Boston public schools who did not have the program. The report (comes with a 20-minute DVD showing the program in action) is available from the Gardner education department; contact
    Hope you might add Thinking Through Art to your list of reports; please let me know if you need further information.

  22. Nicolas Smirnoff says

    I would like to know if it’s possible to have your personal e-mail or contact.
    I work for Brunswick Arts Group, a press agency that works for clients as the British Museum,the Venice Biennale and many others.
    We are considering of including bloggers on press trips and openings/launches and we would like to keep in touch with you.
    Thank you very much,
    Nicolas Smirnoff
    Nicolas Smirnoff
    16 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
    London WC2A 3ED
    Telephone +44 207 936 1290
    Direct line +44 20 7936 1275
    Fax +44 20 7936 1299

  23. Susan Magsamen says

    Dear Richard,
    Janet Eilber from the Dana Foundation passed on your information. I am developing a summit in May with Johns Hopkins University School of Education and Dana called Learning, Arts and the Brain. I was hoping you might be interested in learning more about this and sharing it on your blog in some forms. I look forward to hearing from you and talking more about how we might communicate. Very Best, Susan

  24. Calie Shackleford says

    Art Scholarship
    Is this something you might be able to blog about to make parents and aspiring designers aware of this scholarship/internship opportunity?
    Fifteen local market winners will earn a $5,000 scholarship to the sponsoring design school of their choice and will also receive a 3-day, 2-night expanse-paid trip to San Diego to attend Comic-Con 2009 where they will present a second set of designs for the chance to win a $25,000 scholarship and the opportunity to work with DC Comics on an upcoming marketing campaign for “Absolute Justice.”
    I know a lot of parents and students are struggling to find the funds for college right now and this scholarship might be the answer for several talented students interested in pursuing a career in graphic design. The contest deadline is June 8 and the application and details are at
    I’ve included additional details below and can send a related graphic if that is of interest.
    Calie Shackleford
    2009 Design Scholarship Challenge Announced
    Aspiring graphic designs students compete for $25,000 tuition scholarship and a chance to work on a DC Comics marketing campaign
    CHICAGO, IL, April 29, 2009 – Aspiring graphic designers have until June 8 to submit entries to the “2009 Design Scholarship Challenge” to compete for the national prize, an opportunity to work with DC Comics on an upcoming marketing campaign for “Absolute Justice” and a $25,000 tuition scholarship to one of the sponsoring design schools. Hopefuls should submit entries to one of the schools which are: the 11 International Academy of Design & Technology (Academy) campuses, located in Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Online Campus, Orlando, Sacramento, San Antonio, Schaumburg (IL), Seattle, Nashville, and Tampa; as well as Brooks Institute, Brown College, Collins College, and Harrington College of Design.
    The first round of judging will be conducted by a panel of faculty and employees at each local campus and winners will be selected by June 19, 2009. The final round will be conducted by a national panel including representatives from DC Comics. The National Winner will be announced in July at San Diego Comic-Con 2009.
    “A local winner will be selected from each campus and all 15 will receive a $5,000 tuition scholarship to the sponsoring school of their choice plus a three-day, two-night expense-paid trip to San Diego to attend Comic-Con 2009 where the national winner will be named and will receive an additional $20,000 tuition scholarship to the sponsoring school of their choice,” said Tom McNamara, senior vice president, Art & Design group of Career Education Corporation. “This is an opportunity to experience the real world of graphic design with all of its challenges. The entry requirements are demanding, but the rewards will jump start the education and future careers of several talented students.”
    The contest is open to legal residents of the United States who will graduate from high school or receive a GED between January 1, 2006 and July 31, 2010. The contest application, along with detailed instructions is available at See rules for full eligibility requirements. Void where prohibited.
    Participants must submit original designs for a print and an online advertisement for the “Absolute Justice” graphic novel, full of some of the most popular DC Comic characters, along with a completed detail sheet which includes a short inspiration statement. Local winners will receive a second creative brief and specifications for an as yet-to-be released DC Comics publication and must present a second set of a print and an online advertisement to a panel of judges at Comic-Con 2009. In addition to the finished print and online advertisements, local winners must also submit a binder on their design process including a written summary of people contacted for information about the project and the advice they provided, sketches, illustrations, photographs or digital images of the project as it evolved from concept to completion, a summary of influences on your entry and a written summary of your overall concept.
    “This is more than a scholarship competition,” McNamara said. “It’s an opportunity to gain experience and exposure in the world of graphic design and to test your hand in a rewarding and exciting line of work.”

  25. Hi Richard,
    I don’t know if you remember me, but we met many years ago in NYC when I was working in the Education Dept at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. I think I was still using my maiden name back then, Sharon Schwartz. I moved to Minnesota in 1998 and for 9 years worked at several theaters in their education departments. I’m now a Program Officer at The Saint Paul Foundation.
    I was catching up with your blog this morning and read the April 15 entry about informal/ nonprofessional arts participation with great interest. You write: “I know of at least one foundation that is considering funding this area, and a number of the service organizations are looking at doing more around this.” Can you share which foundation? And which service organizations are you refering to? I’m also really interested in knowing about any nonprofit arts organizations that are doing this work. I know of “Active Arts” at the LA Music Center which is a fabulous program, but I’m unfamiliar with any others. I’m working on a project in this arena and would love to talk with others who are thinking about these things.
    Thanks for any light you can shed!

  26. pamela patrick says

    As a Ph.D candidate at CUNY’s Urban Education program working on my dissertation on arts education policy, I am encouraged by all that CAE has done for arts education in NYC and also by the recent campaign to restore funding for Project Arts. I look forward to hearing more and getting involved this campaign.
    Pamela Patrick

  27. Hello, Richard Kessler,
    Just found your blog. Wow.
    Please visit our website for the Center for Lifelong Music Making in Minnesota.
    Thank you!
    Ann Kay

  28. Hi Richard,
    I came across your blog a few weeks ago when you wrote about Steve Reich’s Pulitzer, and I thought you might be interested in an Interactive Twitter Contest that my company will offer in partnership with the Manchester International Festival.
    Steve Reich has written a new piece, “2×5” (performed by Bang on a Can), which will premiere at the MIF on July 2nd, sharing the bill with a full set by German electronic music pioneers, Kraftwerk. We’re going to offer two tickets to this Sold Out show, a pair of backstage passes to meet Steve himself, and two nights at the Radisson Edwardian in Manchester.
    We’ll announce the contest next week, and we’ll be offering a widget which you’re welcome to post on your blog to follow along, as this contest should be as interesting to observe as it is to participate in.
    Please check out Steve’s MySpace ( and follow the contest on Twitter @SteveReich for more details, or feel free to contact me.
    Denise K. Anderson
    Publicity Assistant
    Boosey & Hawkes, Inc
    35 E 21 Street
    New York, NY 10010

  29. Hi Richard,
    Don’t know if you remember me – I used to work in NYC (at BAM mostly) and I used to be called Sharon Schwartz. In any case, I moved to MN in 1998 and have a great time of it here working in education departments in theaters and now at a foundation.
    I’m writing becuase I just watched the first season of the Canadian tv show, “Slings and Arrows” about a Shakespeare theater (a la Stratford). Each season focuses on the creation of a play and you see the storyline of that play reflected in the lives of the people who work at the theater. It’s incredibly well written and acted. So, the first season was “Hamlet” and in the last show of that season we get to see snippets of the opening night performance and the reactions of the audience and staff watching the show. The theater manager has a experience so extraordinary and transformational that he has no words to express what happened on stage. I’m left with this great desire to see a live production of “Hamlet.” As I think about arts education, particularly tied to performing arts organizations, ultimately, for many of them, it’s about preparing their audiences for the theater experience. This show exemplifies this idea. One MUST go see the show, one is SO ready. The show contemporizes Shakespeare without dumbing it down in the least.
    Check it out if you get the chance.
    Sharon DeMark

  30. Mariclare Hulbert says

    Dear Richard,
    I came across your post today and first wanted to thank you for interest in the recent PillowTalk with Rachel Maddow. I also wanted to let you know that Ms. Maddow researched and prepared her introductory comments on her own. Actually, we didn’t even know that she had prepared a statement until she arrived at the Pillow that afternoon and asked if she could include it in the talk.
    The quote that you posted was part of that opening statement and there were many more insightful and interesting points made by Ms. Maddow and Suzanne Carbonneau throughout the rest of the talk. We were honored that she took the time to join us that afternoon and share some of her thoughts on arts and society.
    Mariclare Hulbert
    Director of Marketing and Communications
    Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival

  31. Hi Richard:
    I really enjoy reading your blog and thought I would send you a note to introduce myself and see if you are familiar with The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts? Many people know of Wolf Trap as a gorgeous concert venue just outside the beltway. However too few are aware of the arts education programs we provide – including The Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts – a national and regional program that features professional development workshops for teachers and classroom residencies.
    The New York City Wolf Trap program is facilitated through Creative Arts Team at City University of New York.
    We work with 15 regional partners and also host a local program in the DC Metropolitan region – spanning DC, Maryland and Virgnia.
    I was wondering if you might be interested in writing about the topic of early childhood arts education in the near future and if so, if I might put you in touch with Mimi Flaherty Willis, the Senior Director of Education at Wolf Trap? I think you would enjoy meeting her and learning more about Wolf Trap’s programs.
    I’d appreciate your thoughts on this and hope we can work together at some point.
    Thanks for your time and consideration.
    Best regards,
    Melissa Chotiner
    Director of Public Relations
    Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
    (703) 255-4096

  32. David Ward says

    Hi Mr. Kessler,
    I’m the parent of a preschooler in Los Angeles. My wife and I both have strong arts backgrounds and stay active in the arts. It’s a priority for us to have art in our daughter’s education.
    Recently we’ve found a Waldorf inspired charter school being developed in our neighborhood and I’d like to hear your thoughts on the Waldorf style of education. This is only the second public Waldorf school in LA so there are few local points of reference for us to evaluate the style. We’ve researched the background and philosophy of the Waldorf method, but our search of your blog and the CAE site didn’t turn up any information on Waldorf.
    I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on the Waldorf style and particularly on the integration of a Waldorf inspired school into a public school district bound by the requirements of NCLB. I’d appreciate any insights you have.
    Thank you.
    David Ward

  33. Hi there Richard.
    I hope it’s going very well for you and I’m glad to have found your blog.
    I’m attaching a press release about a children’s art exhibition that we’re sponsoring on Nov 2 at the UN with UNICEF. In honor of the 20th Anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, our partner, Art In All of Us is launching their World Art Book which is the culmination of a five year journey collecting art from children from every country in the world. The art exhibit will run for two months.
    I’d like to send you the press release. Please let me know if you’re interested.
    Also, I’d like to make an introduction to the director of DreamSakes, a children’s art scanning service.
    Finally, Art in All of Us is looking to recruit more US schools to participate in their international art pen pal program.
    Please let me know how we can connect directly. There may be some great opportunities to get involved with your work with CAE.
    Look forward to hearing back from you and take good care.
    Erick Brownstein

  34. Mario Davila says

    minus the typos
    Hi Richard,
    Thanks for the heads up on the pending funding cuts to arts education in elementary schools. I want to take issue however with your statement:
    “LAUSD is the only large urban district in the United States that provides an equitable standards-based arts education for all of its elementary students by giving them the opportunity to experience all of the four arts disciplines through the Elementary Arts Program.” Out of the 180 LAUSD elementary schools I work with, only a handful provide the children with anything like “standards-based arts education”.
    I am the Director of the After School Arts Program (ASAP), the arts education department of LA’s BEST. Established in 1988, LA’s BEST is an afterschool enrichment program currently serving over 28,000 children at 180 LAUSD Title One public elementary schools on a daily basis at no cost to their families. In 2009, ASAP placed over 275 visual and performing art residencies directly serving more than 10,000 public school children. reading and nutrition.
    Perhaps you may have thought that because LAUSD is “committed” to providing standards based education they are actually making these programs available to all of their students. Last year Rich Burrows, before he lost his position as Director of Arts Ed for LAUSD, provided me with the following numbers:
    “Elementary Arts Teachers who serve all 501 elementary schools include:
    170 General Music and Instrumental Teachers 60 Dance Teachers 60 Theatre Teachers 60 Visual Arts Teachers” These teachers teach the same group of 100-125 students at each of the 501 schools – in other words, although all 501 schools were providing standards based programs, only a small fraction of the children at every school were participating in these programs.
    Hope the above info helps to clarify a very popular local misperception.
    Mario Davila
    After School Arts Program

  35. Martin Bookspan says

    Dear Mr. Kessler,
    Google Alert has only now sent me an Email calling my attention to the sensitive and warm appreciation of Janet you wrote on Dewey 21C shortly after her death. My three children and I thank you sincerely.
    Martin Bookspan

  36. Hi Richard: I have completed a new film on Bach which was released on DVD just last week. I am writing in hopes that you might consider reviewing this new production — BACH & friends.
    The two-hour documentary features Joshua Bell, Bobby McFerrin, Philip Glass, Béla Fleck, Hilary Hahn, Edgar Meyer, Simone Dinnerstein, Chris Thile, Manuel Barrueco, The Swingle Singers, John Bayless, Matt Haimovitz, Peter Schickele, Richard Stoltzman and the Emerson String Quartet. These world-class Bach players share their innermost thoughts and personal reflections on the power and genius of Bach’s music and perform some of his greatest masterpieces.
    I am a Peabody graduate turned filmmaker and have written, produced, and directed over twenty documentaries, including productions for PBS, CNN and HBO. I received an Emmy nomination and my films have been honored by dozens of awards from major film festivals around the world.
    The three-year journey of making BACH & friends started at the EG’07 conference and returned this year to Monterey for EG’s celebration of it’s completion. Representing BACH & friends, Richard Stoltzman played the Chromatic Fantasy to a standing ovation. Last year at EG, Joshua Bell played the Chaconne.
    Unbelievably, this year Josh caught an early morning flight to Monterey the day after his wonderful Live From Lincoln Center PBS broadcast and arrived in time to also represent BACH & friends at EG. Lots of interest and Buzz. It couldn’t have gone better.
    If you are interested in a promo DVD, please email me your address and I will send one along.
    Warm regards,
    Mike Lawrence
    6708 Danville Avenue
    Baltimore, MD 21222
    (410) 940-8527 (iPhone)

  37. Richard,
    Thank you for stepping into the very messy business of teaching artits vs certified arts ed providers. And you’re right–the LA Times story didn’t really offer much depth as to what (or not) these particular educators are doing within the Burbank schools–I’ve checked out their website, and there is nodding reference to standards, curriculum, and assessment, but no real detail. What this means to me is the old model of accountability–put up the show and that’s enough.
    Here are a couple of thoughts:
    1. On the 2008 NAEP test–it is simply not true, at least for theatre education, that aren’t enough certified theatre educators to create a statistically valid sample. And I suspect the dance folks would have something to say about this as well. The choice not to test theatre and dance was the same one that excluded from the recent Fast Response Survey System: money. That, and the DOE simply didn’t ask the right organizations for provider information.
    2. CA does not have certification for theatre educators–licensing yes, certification no. This fact certainly doesn’t help.
    3. Trained and skilled theatre educators recognize the value of working collaboration; it’s fundamental to the art. So, I don’t think they so much fear teaching artists–choreographers, voice coaches, etc–as much as administrators who sees an opportunity to save some money, meet a state requirement, and get on with the business of testing in reading and math.
    This is one part NCLB hangover and one part of the ongoing effort to marginalize the arts (especially dance and theatre) place as a core subject area. And the new common core movement isnt going to help much, I’m afraid.
    Keep up the good work in NYC; I have great respect for your efforts
    James Palmarini
    Editor Teaching Theatre journal
    Director of Educational Policy
    Educational Theatre Association

  38. Samantha Miller says

    I know this email is out of the blue, but I just posted an article on my blog entitled “20 Shocking Stats on American Education” at . Anyway I figured I’d bring it to your attention in case you thought it interesting enough to drop a quick mention on your site about it as I’m trying to increase readership of my blog.
    Either way, sorry for the unsolicited email and hope you have a good week.
    Samantha Miller

  39. Tim Mikulski says

    I can’t seem to find the editorial in the WSJ that you mentioned in your most recent post. Would you mind sending me a link?

  40. Jennifer Dubin says

    Mr. Kessler, I just wanted to alert you to an arts story in the new issue of American Educator. It highlights a summer job program in Baltimore for low-income youth. Students earn a stipend to make marketable art which they then sell at a summer arts festival. Links to the article and the fall issue of American Educator are below:
    Jennifer Dubin
    Assistant Editor
    American Educator

  41. Thank you Jennifer. I am a big fan of the American Educator and plan to post a blog entry shortly about this terrific article.

  42. Anne Shugart Stevens says

    It was wonderful to find the Center for Arts Education and “Dewey21C”. In this age of NCLB and teaching to standardized assessments, it is good to know that there are champions of the human compulsion to express oneself through the arts.
    Best regards,

  43. Leon Van Dyke says

    Mr. Dillon was an official in the Reagan Administration where and when the “dumbing down” of America began. Now, more than a generation of Americans have been turned into semi-educated serfs of that 1% top-tier of America’s wealthiest. While that bunch is busy calling Democrats “Socialists” why is it that no one is calling them the “Plutocrats” that they are?

  44. Dear Anne,
    It’s so great to hear from you, my old friend.

  45. Hello Richard-
    We have recognized Dewey21c as one of the top voices covering the art education in the online space. I wanted to invite you to explore the new A Place of Mind aggregator from UBC. The aggregator is a digital magazine that brings the best online articles and thinking produced by UBC academics into one centralized, easy-to-read website. Full disclosure up front, I am working with UBC to help them promote their new site, but I believe it is a worthwhile look.
    There’s lots of incredible work being done on the University of British Columbia and we’re excited to share it with you. This aggregator has been designed to work equally well on both your desktop computer and your mobile devices. Please have a look, share some stories, and come back often. I think you would be interested UBC arts articles like the one highlighting the ninth annual Art on the Line gala fundraiser at UBC:!/arts/newsroom/10f1956699
    You can visit the UBC Aggregator here:
    If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Thank you for your time and have a great holiday season!

  46. Good afternoon Richard,
    I have been following your blog for a few months now. I especially enjoyed your post on latte art. As a fellow coffee aficionado, I appreciated your in-depth look into the world of espresso.
    Perhaps this art education news would interest you and your readers. One of our pro bono clients, Elephant’s Eye Studio Tour is a Bucks County, Pa-based 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization.
    Over two weekends in May 2011, a selection of Bucks County, Pa. contemporary artists will open their studio doors to the public. The tour, now going into its fourth year, has a special preview day on Friday, May 13 for local students to meet and visit the studios of these artists.
    Last year, the tour hosted over 200 students from 10 area schools. With shrinking school budgets, as you know, often arts education programs are among the first on the chopping block. Elephant’s Eye strives to provide a valuable opportunity for students to have access to professional artists right here in Bucks County, Pa. This year, Elephant’s Eye Studio Tour will be held May 14-15 and May 21-22.
    I thought this event would be of interest and wanted to see if this was something that you would consider featuring in an upcoming blog. Bucks County, Pa is located just two hours from New York City.
    Thank you for your time and please let me know if I can provide you any additional information about or photos of Elephant’s Eye Studio Tour and their efforts in arts education.
    Amanda Walsh
    Furia Rubel Communications

  47. Sharing a name is interesting.
    I am an artist living in Park Slope the past 35 years. Currently trying to make my neighbors aware of the incredible juxtaposition where the Tower of the Empire State Building bisects the Arch in Grand Army Plaza. A link to view the alignment –
    It might interest children in the possibilities of great public art works.

  48. Emma Taylor says

    We at “”, wanted to let you know that we featured your blog in one of our recent articles on our own blog. (50 Awesome & Inspiring Blogs for Art Teachers), is linked below and could be a fun way to share this announcement with your readers.
    Either way, I hope you continue putting out great content through your blog. It has been a sincere pleasure to read.
    Emma Taylor

  49. I would like to send you announcements about Arts for All, LA County’s collaboration to return to quality sequential arts ed to all K-12 public school students in the region. Today’s announcement is on introducing a system for measuring quality and access to arts education and here’s the link to our School Arts Survey summary:

  50. Thanks Richard F. Kessler.
    Richard F. Kessler

  51. Arts for All releases monograph on school district leadership in L.A. County
    As part of its goal to make quality, sequential arts education a reality in all public K-12 classrooms in Los Angeles County, Arts for All connects school district personnel with the resources to improve arts learning. In 2009-10, leaders – superintendents, assistant superintendents and arts coordinators – from five County school districts took part in Arts for All’s Leadership Fellows Program. Their experience is captured in the monograph Engaging Senior Leadership to Advance Arts in Schools.
    In working with school districts, Arts for All continues to learn much about what it takes to achieve sweeping transformation in our schools. Among the findings that surfaced from the Leadership Fellows Program:
    – the pivotal role of the assistant superintendent as key decision-maker in the implementation of arts education across a school district
    – the importance of school district leaders engaging in a powerful dialogue about the elements of quality arts instruction and finding a common language to talk about arts education
    – the tension between school district leaders’ aspirations for more equity across their schools and the tradition of deferring to school-site level decision-making
    We hope that Engaging Senior Leadership to Advance Arts in Schools will become a focus for dialogue, and will help you shape your programs as it has helped us shape ours. The 14-page monograph, which includes an executive summary, has just been released and is available for download here.
    If you want to know more about the leadership monograph, please contact

  52. Brianna Davis says

    Hi Richard,
    I’m wondering if you’d consider accepting a guest post submission for your website Dewey21C? If so, can you let me know any length, topic, or other requirements for the article that you might have?
    Just in case you’re unfamiliar with guest posts, what I’m proposing is that you permit me to write an article based on your specifications to be published on your website, free of charge of course. The idea is to get some exposure for my new site by offering to write free articles for more established sites like yours. Along with the article, should it get published, I’d ask that you include a by-line mentioning me as the author and linking to my site. Assuming some readers enjoyed the article they might then click on the link and thus discover my site. As for the benefit to you, you’d be getting a free article written on whatever subject you’d wish for your site, which as a blog owner myself, I know can be good backup material for a day when I’m struggling to come up with something to write.
    If you’d be willing to accept a guest post submission from me, or if you have any questions, please just let me know.
    Thank you in advance,
    Brianna Davis

an ArtsJournal blog