In Webinar, VP of Programs Explains PENCIL’s Role in Expanding Arts Education

08.04.12 | Leave a Comment | PENCIL News

Americans for the ArtsWhy should businesses care about arts education? What can they do to promote it? And what can the PENCIL Partnership model do to inspire others to act?

Gayle Villani, PENCIL’s Vice President of Programs, discussed these questions in a webinar hosted by Americans for the Arts, an organization that advances arts education.

During the webinar, Villani discussed two PENCIL Partnerships to illustrate how PENCIL is helping to promote the arts in New York City:

  • The International High School at Prospect Heights and Arup: Engineers helped students design and then build  the school’s dance studio
  • East Fordham Academy for the Arts and The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP): students worked with ASCAP to produce and record songs. Students also attended a showing of West Side Story, where they spoke with the cast about careers in the theater.

Not a Labor Shortage; A Skills Shortage

These Partnerships do more than expose students to new careers: they provide them with marketable skills that businesses need.

In fact, in a joint survey conducted with The Conference Board and the American Association of School Administrators, Americans for the Arts found that 72% of business leaders identified creativity as a top skill in job candidates.

“We’re not seeing a labor shortage, but a skills shortage,” said Jim Herr (Boeing), another webinar panelist, who emphasized the ways that arts education can help students– and their future employers.

An arts education teaches us that there’s more than one way to solve a problem. It also shows us that we can– and should– use different perspectives in how we approach the world around us.

The Art of a Good Partnership

Through the PENCIL Partnerships at The International School at Prospect Heights and the East Fordham Academy for the Arts, we’ve seen what a difference it makes when businesses volunteer to help schools and expand arts education.

Students become more involved, see the connection between classroom learning and real-world concepts, and learn about careers that they might not have considered.

But as Villani told the listeners on the webinar, it takes more than the schools and businesses working together to share their resources.

One key best practice is aligning a school’s needs with a business’ resources. It’s in that intersection between what a school requires and what a business can provide where we see the most progress. PENCIL President Michael Haberman discussed other PENCIL best practices is an article for The Huffington Post.

Understanding those best practices is why PENCIL’s nearly 400 Partnerships have thrived, and why our Affiliate Program is spreading to Chicago this fall. From interviewing applicants, to setting goals, to managing and measuring partnerships, PENCIL’s staff knows how to get the very best from both schools and businesses.

If you’re a school leader and you’d like to start a PENCIL Partnership, apply for our program. If your business wants to get involved, you can— and now’s a great time to start.

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