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Working Together

A Case Study of a National Arts Education Partnership


Bernard W. Andrews

Partnerships among a variety of institutions – for profit, not-for-profit, and non-profit – are a relatively recent organizational development. Such partnerships link businesses, government, and social agencies. The primary reason for these relationships is to achieve goals sooner and more efficiently by building on the resources and expertise of each partner. In arts education, schools, arts organizations, cultural institutions, government agencies, and universities have engaged in joint ventures to improve the teaching and learning of the arts disciplines in their schools and in their communities. These partnerships have been particularly beneficial for teachers, many of whom have limited background in the arts but are expected to teach them in their classrooms. Arts partnerships initially focused on the goals of the participating organizations; that is, to develop artistic skills, to build future audiences, and/or to encourage young people to consider an artistic career. More recently, partnerships focus on educational goals rather than solely artistic ones. Despite the challenges and complexities of arts education partnerships, most partners believe that the benefits to students, teachers and the community outweigh the disadvantages and consequently, as the research in Working Together demonstrates, they are willing to justify the time, energy, and expense involved to improve the quality of arts education.


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Chapter 8. Additional Comments


· 8 · additional comments At the end of the interviews, participants were invited to provide addi- tional comments. Each of the partner groups—artists, teachers, and project coordinators—provided a different thrust in their final comments (refer to appendix 6, pp. 136–137). The artists focused on the value of the artistic process within the program; the teachers focused on learner-centeredness; and the project coordinators focused on the importance of community involvement. Artist Comments In their closing comments, the artists highlighted the importance of learning artistic processes to the personal growth and development of young people in schools. Traditionally, the focus in arts instruction has been on the creation of an artistic product (e.g., poem, composition, play, etc.). In the view of the artists, process rather than product was the principal benefit of the arts proj- ects to the students. 72 a case study of a national arts education partnership Artist Schools are looking for a performance but arts learning is a process. The main thing is the process—what the students are learning. Pierre Honegger and Henrietta Honegger Artist You go to another school and a whole different set of politics and dynamics in the arts will happen … I like that the project can take a variety of forms and a variety of schedules, and there is interaction that happens before the project commences. It’s about process and communication. Nerene Ives and Lesley Wolf Artist If you are working in a nuts-and-bolts world, if you’re a widget among many widgets,...

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