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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Social Advocate for the Arts

It seems like every conference I go to and every graduate course I take, people are always talking about the need to advocate for the arts.

But, what does it mean to be an advocate for the arts?
Many suggest contacting your local or state legislatures and encouraging funding or special programs. That sounds great, but I guess I'm curious how many art teachers take time to do this, and how far the action carries? Will anyone actually read my letter?

Advocating for the arts is so much bigger than that and it doesn't have to be hard!

Being a good advocate doesn't mean sending a letter with a list of facts to government officials in hope of seeing a change come from the top. It means sharing the value of what you believe in, all day, every day, with the right people. Instead of hoping for change to occur from the top down, we need to start encourage change from the bottom up. That's right I just called myself the bottom... I humbly admit that the fate of my profession is in the hands of those in my community. Now, one could let that scare them... or motivate them! I believe that if we, as art teachers, are really passionate about what we do, we would want to share it with others. We should want to share with students, other teachers in our buildings, our administration, our community, and most importantly our students parents. 

We need to get support from those who matter most!

Parents are some of the most important people you can have on your side, but you won't have them unless they know you and see the value in the creative education you are providing their child.

You can be the art teacher that always stands up and complains that you don't have enough... or you can start saving every found material you can get your hands on to make something really great.

Next, Go where the parents go!

Pinterest & Facebook are great places to post student achievement to advocate for the arts. Recently in polling parents though my personal Facebook page, I had a number of parents tell me that they think it would be nice to have and art room Facebook. Knowing this, I think I will have to get one up and running!

One way I reach out, is though Instagram. @GWDES_Arts is currently the social media extension of our art classroom where the doors are wide open all day, every day and everyone is welcome to stop by and check out what we are creating. As you scroll though the square pictures and video clips you can see our progress, success, and excitement fort art. I think it's important for others to see the 21st century learning, integration, inquiry, challenges, and perseverance that goes into our artwork, rather than just the finished project.

Social media is not just great for posting daily art action, but also for telling parents what your up to in class, advertising art contests, reminding students to bring in art smocks,  putting out a plea for fabric remnants, or to promote the school art show. 

Poster from Bar Rucci: Art Bar
Social media makes advocacy easy! Take this image for example. This awesome art advocacy poster fromBar Rucci of Art Bar has appeared in front of my eyes, over and over through social media and is now hanging in art classroom across the country, including my own.

I love how social media encourages me to think of new ways for doing things I've always done. Next week at our school art show I am going to try something new, encouraging parents to post pictures of their children, with their art, to social media using a specific hashtag.  I am going to do random prize drawings for those who post. It is my hope that this will allow more people to enjoy the art show experience than ever before. How cool will it be for a grandparent 3 states away to share in the creative success of their grandchild though social media.

If you are looking for a way to reach out and advocate for the arts, look no further than the social media platforms you are already using. Inspiring change is only one post away!

Follow me on Twitter @MComp_OliveART and Instagram @GWDES_Arts
Original Post April 28, 2015 
To See the original blog post on Art Classroom Experience to Like, Comment, and Share ClickHere

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