Monthly Archives: April 2011

Students Value Arts More Than Teachers?

This post from Americans for the Arts talks about a surprising response from students when it comes to better understanding cultural diversity.

According to a survey conducted by MetLife, American students (grades 6–12) believe that studying the arts – in addition to history, government, and politics – is important to understanding other nations and cultures and international issues.

This is in contrast to their teachers, who view other languages and the arts to be less essential in the understanding of other nations.

Read more here:


Shop all your name brands to support Arts to Grow!

Today Arts to Grow is happy to introduce you our new partner: Market America —   Through this link you can get the best deals on all your on-line purchases AND support Arts to Grow at the same time.

This spring, our 2010 volunteer gala coordinator, Jessica La-Rotta introduced us to Market America as a great way for our friends to donate money to Arts to Grow while getting hot deals on name brands and discount items.

Check out the video above to learn more about Market America’s simple and easy  web shopping portal that allows you to directly purchase all your name brand products.

Every time you shop online just click on our link and you’ll save and donate.  Each purchase helps Arts to Grow offer more arts programs to inner city children in metro New York City and northern New Jersey.

Thank you so very much for supporting Arts to Grow while you shop the best deals!

The Art of Being a Teaching Artist – Part 2

The following is the second of a series of posts discussing the life and work of a teaching artist.

Miguel Cossio: Mr. Cossio is a TA in Visual Arts who has worked with our partner Riverdale Neighborhood House in the Bronx.

Patricia Runcie: Ms. Runcie is a TA in Theater Arts has worked with our partners Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation/I.S. 171 in Brooklyn and Elysian Charter School in Hoboken.

Why did you decide to become a teaching artist?
Cossio: It was really by chance. I came to New York from Mexico and I never had any training as a teacher. Someone talked to me about Henry Street Settlement; it was very interesting because it was a combination of teaching and collaborating with the artists, so that was my main introduction to teaching.

Do you find yourself learning through teaching?
Cossio: Yes, I keep learning a lot through teaching art. In a way, you are demonstrating how things work, but in a way, you are also doing things for the first time. Even if you’ve done a method of painting or drawing, every time you do it, you learn something new because there are different things being brought to the table.

Runcie: As a teacher, learning through the arts is very important to me. I think a lot of times, businesses or people that are budget-minded might say, “Oh, well who needs the arts? We need to focus on math and science.” With the arts, what we’re forgetting when we cut that away, is that in many cultures it’s very prized and it goes hand-in-hand with math and science with attributes like discipline, focus, and working as a team. I think learning through the arts is essential, and I think it helped me in my own career, it taught me discipline and focus. By learning through the arts, students learn to self-discipline and to work towards a goal, together and individually. I treat my students the same way I treat professional actors, and it’s very empowering. That’s also something another teacher couldn’t bring to the table. I think they feel that it’s special, that they’re being treated as adults, it gives them a sense of maturity.

click here to read art of being a teaching artists part 1

It’s Time to Stop Apologizing for the Arts

The following post is from our friends at Americans for the Arts.

It’s time to stop apologizing for the arts. But that’s what many of us have been forced to do.  Our role as arts advocates has turned us into “arts apologists.”  Think of it – how many times have you said, “I’m sorry to have to ask you again, but can we count on your support for our program?”  It’s like rooting for the team that no one else cheers for – you know that they’re mired in scandal or they’re just downright bad, but they’re your team. Therefore, you root for them anyway, and then you find an excuse to do so.  “I know, but I grew up there,” or “I know, but they’re just so good it’s hard not to cheer them on.”  In a way, our arts advocacy has become a game of arts apology.

Read more:

Trend or Tipping Point: Arts & Social Change Grantmaking

The following is a post from our friends at Americans for the Arts regarding their latest report about arts funding.

Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts, has released the report, Trend or Tipping Point: Arts & Social Change Grantmaking. This report assembles a first-time portrait of arts funders, social change funders and others supporting civic engagement and social change through arts and cultural strategies. It includes a companion online Directory of Funders that profiles more than 150 grantmakers who support arts strategies to make community, social and civic change. These resources are part of Animating Democracy’s Arts & Social Change Mapping Initiative, supported by the Nathan Cummings Foundation, CrossCurrents Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Lambent Foundation and Surdna Foundation.

Read more here:

The Art of Being a Teaching Artist – Part 1

The following is the first of a series of original blog posts focusing on the question of what teaching artists do, how the definition of teaching artist differs from that of the certified teacher, and more.  Our intern Dina Doyle interviewed the following Arts to Grow teaching artists to learn more.

Miguel Cossio: Mr. Cossio is a TA in Visual Arts who has worked at Riverdale Neighborhood House in the Bronx.

Patricia Runcie: Ms. Runcie is a TA in Theater Arts whose workplaces include I.S. 171 in Brooklyn and Elysian Charter School in Hoboken.

Gardiner Comfort: Mr. Comfort is a TA in Theater Arts who has worked at P.S. 7 in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn.

How would you describe teaching artists, and what does it feel like to be one? What do you think is the biggest difference between a teaching artist and a regular teacher?

Cossio: For me, the most important part is that being a teaching artist allows me to work in different settings, with different populations, grade levels, and neighborhoods. It also allows me flexible time for my personal work.

Runcie: A lot of times I feel like I’m a “traveling classroom” because each program is so unique and tailored to the specific needs of the school. I’m an actor, and speaking as an actor and director, you’re always working on different projects and meeting different people and moving from one project to another, so it really goes hand-in-hand that way. I think it also keeps my own artistry in practice – I do warm-ups that I do myself, with the kids, and teaching them the way a professional would be doing. We have experience in the field, we ourselves are working artists, so we have that practical knowledge and skill set that we can bring to the kids that another teacher might not have, and that I think is the biggest difference between teaching artists and certified teachers.

Comfort: I would say a teaching artist is someone who lends their own professional experience to younger people for the purpose of either pursuing work in that field or just simply all-around education that comes from that field, as opposed to a certified teacher who doesn’t lend their own professional experience.

ATG Students on Arts to Grow

Arts to Grow is excited to share a new video piece that features an interview with ATG Students.

Our intern Dina Doyle visited one of Arts to Grow’s performing arts classes, in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, and interviewed students while they were rehearsing for their new musical production. 

Video: Dina Doyle