We all have a monologue about why arts education is important. And since we say it so many times, it can sound stale and rehearsed. How often do we intentionally reflect on our monologues to ensure the words are still relevant? What are the needs and concerns of our communities, schools, and students? Are we listening? How is my message connecting?
In New Hampshire the opportunities for joy and learning through the Arts are rich and nuanced. Yet engagement in the arts is still under-promoted. By sharing our personal experiences and lessons, we humanize the value of arts education for a broader audience. We can connect the common experience of success through the arts when we share what we’re creating through social media, face to face with our friends, at local libraries, and in letters to the editor.
Whether you’re a teaching artist or an organization, a little self-promotion helps the field as a whole. Artists do pretty interesting things all the time, yet are afraid that sharing this will come across as #humblebragging. Trust that your friends, family, and community are genuinely interested in what you’ve got going on. How many times have you told a story about something you’re creating or a program you went to and the response reveals a friend who is also dancer, or a memory of a great play they went to? The only way we are going to generate more buzz around the Arts in NH is if we all take a few steps out of our comfort zones and engage in broader discussion on our specific experiences. As individuals and collectively, we can create a buzz and viral energy around the Arts. Thankfully, we have great content to share.
Next time you're stumped for conversation, try:
Why did that musical make tears well up?
What discussion points did audience members raise after your play?
Why do students keep coming to your program week after week?
In late November and December the NH State Council on the Arts convened four focus groups on Arts Education with the title, Debrief/ Forward Thinking. One topic that was mentioned at all locations from Portsmouth to Peterborough, from Manchester to Plymouth was that we need to be better at telling our stories.
We shared highlights from these conversations on twitter, and welcome you to keep the buzz going by responding and adding to the thread.
Julianne Gadoury is the Arts Education Coordinator for the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts