The Right Brain Initiative


Grassroots, and Tree Tops, and Canopy . . . Oh My! The Statewide Arts Education Conversation, Part Two

July 7th, 2010 by Right Brain Team

In this second edition of a three-part series, Deb Vaughn, Arts Education Coordinator at the Oregon Arts Commission, provides venues to engage in a larger conversation about the role of arts education in our state. Thanks again to Deb for lending us her brain! Readers—we encourage you to take seriously your potential to give input to these active discussions with plenty of room for new ideas.


Participants like Sen. Suzanne Bonamici, SD 17 (center), contributed to Oregon's Education Leadership Initiative proposal at the 2009 Oregon Arts Education Congress. Photo: Andie Petkus, courtesy of the Oregon Arts Commission

“Oh no!  Not more dialogue,” you’re thinking. But imagine you have the ear of six engaged, motivated leaders who need you to help build their framework of understanding about arts education. In July, Oregon will be one of five states involved in a national arts education “think tank” and the participating members are asking you for your opinion.

Education Leaders Institute
Modeled after the National Mayor’s Institute, states are invited to assemble a 5-6 member team and submit a proposal detailing a critical education issue facing their state. Five teams are accepted each year, and flown to Chicago for three days of facilitated strategic planning. And we’re not talking typical facilitation, we’re talking mind-blowing, innovative, outside-the-box thinking. Note takers are assigned to each group, and they’re graphic novelists—capturing conversations in visual images. Plenary speakers are virtual reality game designers discussing how Second Life can engage students in education. 

Oregon’s team (perhaps the highest level leadership team ever assembled around arts education in our state) departs July 25 for this amazing opportunity. Their focus will be on how Oregon can strengthen and support the arts based preparedness of classroom teachers. The ideas that are generated in this creative environment offer our state the chance to re-envision arts education for our students. Read more here.

If you have something you’d like to say to the ELI team, advice to offer, stories from the field, innovative ideas to share, do it here.

What do classroom teachers need to know about the arts?  How can that information be incorporated into pre-service teachers’ coursework?  What existing training models might be effective for broader use?  The ELI team members are waiting to hear from you. 

—Deb Vaughn, Oregon Arts Commission


Right Brain Team