Teresa’s Weekly Update: Demystifying and Testifying

by Teresa Eyring

in Weekly Update

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Here on the TCG home front, our work every day runs the gamut from the activism and leadership of communicating theatre’s value to the critical basics of offering training opportunities to theatre staffs. With respect to the latter, we recently hosted our MetLife/TCG A-ha! Leadership Teleconference Demystifying Technology: Marketing and Publicity in the New Economy. It featured Chad Bauman, director of communications for Arena Stage, and Brad Stephenson, senior web media and marketing manager for Carnegie Mellon, and was moderated by TCG’s director of communications, Dafina McMillan. Check out the audio and web transcript here, and our Circle interview with Brad and Chad here.

Next up is Creative Thinking in Action with three MetLife/TCG A-ha! program recipients–Kevin Gillese (Dad’s Garage Theatre), Maria Striar (Clubbed Thumb) and Seema Sueko (Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company)–moderated by Polly Carl (Steppenwolf Theatre). Here’s a taste of what you can expect from the webinar in this Circle Q&A with the panelists. While the official registration is closed, we’ll post the audio and web transcript here.

As budget cuts continue to loom, the activist sentiment is alive and well across the nation. Recently, I reported on Kansas Governor Brownback’s decision to eliminate the State Arts Commission. It’s inspiring to see that the community’s determination has resulted in an initial win toward overturning the Governor’s decision. Here’s the story in the Wichita Eagle regarding a Senate committee’s vote to block the elimination of the commission. I also found some of the citizen testimony to be enlightening.

Since the NEA’s release of the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, much discussion has centered on the drop in arts education in schools—and the large race and ethnicity gap in childhood arts learning. In 2008, almost 60 percent of young white adults reported having taken art classes as children. By comparison, only about one quarter of both African Americans and Hispanics experienced childhood arts learning. In a world filled with inequality, I have often observed that training in the arts can “level the playing field” as a way for young people to demonstrate achievement. This address from Harvard professor and pioneer in developmental psychology—Jerome Kagan—articulates this concept beautifully. I found this piece on the National Performing Arts Convention website, which I also remind you to visit. It’s got a wealth of helpful information in the five NPAC topic areas of advocacy, artists, arts education, diversity and technology.

And…Conference countdown: T- 14 weeks. Tomorrow is the deadline to submit Whatifestos” (manifestos dealing with “what if…?” questions). We hope to hear from you!