News and Resources
Things are (always) busy over at Sphinx. Registration is open for SphinxConnect, their annual convening of artists and leaders who advance diversity in music learning. Happening January 28–30, 2021, this year’s theme will be Unity. Also, applications are open for the next LEAD cohort, due by October 20. LEAD (Leaders in Excellence, Arts & Diversity) is a two-year professional empowerment program that annually selects ten arts leaders of color to work with a distinguished faculty; LEAD includes mentorship, networking, and leadership retreats at top institutions nationwide. Finally, now is the time to apply for the 24th Annual Competition for young Black and Latinx classical string players. The deadline to apply is October 20, 11:59pm EDT.
A new initiative has launched to promote the composition of original works for remote performance, intended to amplify the work of women and composers of color: The Youth Orchestra Commissioning Initiative. Many of the initial compositions in this project are intended to be recorded separately and assembled as a video performance. Youth orchestras who join will be required to contribute at least one original composition and will have cheap access to the entire library of works. Click here to begin an application and learn more about current members.
ArtPlace America celebrates its 10th year as a collaboration among foundations, federal agencies, and financial institutions that support and strengthen a field of creative placemaking—the field that increasingly uses artists in planning and developing equitable, healthy, and sustainable communities. To celebrate, ArtPlace is offering its annual Summit virtually (October 26-30) and for free this year (you must register); it includes over 50 sessions, and affinity groups you can join to engage personally.
Americans for the Arts (AftA) and other leading arts organizations have put out a statement in support of arts workers in the U.S. AftA has just opened it up for endorsements by U.S. arts organizations and individuals. Designed to “engage in, and drive, direct employment of creative workers,” this U.S.-based resource may be a useful template for arts workers in COVID-affected nations across the world.
Music to Save Humanity is launching an online music project in collaboration with Ballet for All Kids and the Pacific Academy Foundation Orchestra, inviting instrumentalists from all ages and levels, from beginners to professionals, to participate in an online performance of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. View their first installment here, and consider contacting them at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved. They are looking to extend and strengthen their network and are working on more collaborations as part of the Global Virtual Video Project. These videos will be used as outreach to communities that may not have access to the performing arts during this pandemic, including children’s hospitals, assisted living facilities, community organizations, and foundations that support the blind and disabled all around the world.
The latest issue of Child Art magazine, from the International Child Art Foundation, focuses on Art for Health. It includes research pertinent to instruction in all art forms and reports from around the world about the Arts Olympiad. The editor writes, “Art can be a powerful catalyst for cultural and social change. Art can also provide immediate benefits that result in better mental and physical health, especially during this pandemic; hence this special issue on ‘Art for Health.’”
Economists from Germany and the U.S. have just published a paper with the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) that quantifies the cost of the pandemic in lost time and lost learning for young people. They conclude that worldwide students will lose 3% of their lifelong earning potential, and this impact is disproportionately higher in lower-income areas. If schools are not able to reopen quickly and well, the damages will be worse. They stated to the press, “We are frankly concerned that nobody has been talking about these issues.” This is essential reading for arts leaders and program directors—both as a tool to help your advocacy and leverage fundraising, and as a reminder to embrace bold action for your students.
A new organization has been launched in the U.S. to address the racial inequities in music education. Decolonizing the Music Room is a non-profit organization that aims to use research, training, and discourse to help music educators center the voices and experiences of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Asian people, challenging the historical dominance of white Western European and American music, narratives, and practices. In their own words: “We at DTMR aim to disrupt the minimization and erasure of non-dominant cultures and identities in the field of music education to build a more equitable future through our work.” Resources include suggested reading, podcasts, firsthand accounts from other music educators, video blogs, and more. We are resharing this The Ensemble resource for our international readers, as music educators across the world continue to look beyond the Western canon.
The ITAC Collaborative goes all year round, extending the work of the ITAC Conferences. Earlier this year the ITAC Collaborative invited (and financially supported) six Innovators to lead projects designed to add tools, share resources, and build connections supporting the global teaching artist field. Creative Generation was selected to produce the “Knowledge Sharing and Digital Learning Project,” which addresses the gap in research and resources produced by and for the field of teaching artistry. The project will engage volunteers in the field from a cross-section of countries to collect, validate, and disseminate tools, resources, and creative/scholarly research in several capacities. As part of this project, an international Advisory Committee has been assembled from practitioners who applied from around the world. Find out more about the project and its international team of teaching artist advisors here.
The Fifth International Teaching Artist Conference is happening as this issue goes out—there are still some remaining sessions you can attend free via livestream. Check the website of the ITAC Collaborative to register for the livestream, see the schedule, and view already-archived speeches and sessions from the largest-ever gathering of artists who work in communities and schools.