SchoolArts Magazine

DEC 2012

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Editor's Letter A number of years ago, I had the opportunity to go to China along with several other educators to teach elementary school children and to meet Chinese art teachers and administrators. As part of our visit to Beijing, we were prepared to give an overview of art education in America for Chinese national art education officials, but discovered at the last minute that they also wanted us to teach a demonstration lesson with Chinese students and an interpreter that very day! Fortunately, the presentation was to be in the school in which we were working. We cleared chairs from the front of the auditorium and brought in tables and art supplies. I taught the lesson just the way I would in my classroom in the United States, teaching and explaining through our translator. The lesson was one that we had specially developed for this trip, making a mixed-media, bird's-eye view map of the neighborhood around the school. We also shared the Forbidden City on Google Earth, possibly our hosts' first viewing. The students were great, the lesson worked, and we all carried on. So what's the point of this story? Never turn down a chance to be an advocate for the arts and your art program. You can't be bashful about blowing your own horn—remember that you're really doing it for your students and your art program. You can't wait until someone else does it for you—that's not likely to happen. I still remember the exact moment in my first teaching position when my naïve belief that my principal (who wholeheartedly supported our arts program) would take care of advocacy was challenged by reality. Of course, I soon realized that she just didn't have time to do that. As a result of that incident, I learned how to write press releases and became acquainted with the local newspaper education reporter. Nowadays, the Internet has made it so much easier to reach a wider audience and share events, ideas, honors, collaborations, and images. This month, SchoolArts details a number of approaches to advocacy, such as making videos, sending digital newsletters, participation in community art shows, worldwide collaborations, Follow me on Nancy in Beijing, China at the Symposium on School Art Education and Innovation in the United States. Photo by Bill Yarborough. being a traveling art teacher, and more. You can also find art advocacy articles on the SchoolArts website at Advocacy opportunities may pop up at any moment, but you can't be shy or hesitant about taking advantage of them. Just keep calm and carry on! Check out my blog at

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