Updated NASAA Member Directory

Friday, March 4, 2011

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NationalAssembly of State Arts Agencies

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State to State

Showcasing State Arts Agency Ingenuity



Moving toward the Art of Good Health
Mississippi Arts Commission

The Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) recently received $125,000 to extend the reach of its Moving toward the Art of Good Health (MTAGH) initiative, which embeds ballroom dancing into 6th-grade health or physical education classes. In addition to teaching ballroom dance steps and social etiquette, the program teaches students about health and nutrition and provides experiences for social and personal development. Everyone from the cafeteria workers and the school nurse to counselors get involved in this comprehensive health education effort.

Moving toward the Art of Good Health

MTAGH has its roots in the Mississippi Healthy Students Act of 2007, legislation that requires schools to provide at least 150 minutes of physical activity and 45 minutes of health education each week. MAC created the MTAGH program as an artful response to the act, demonstrating how the arts can promote public health and wellness and help a state to address long-term youth health concerns.

This program is a partnership between MAC and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation, which provided funds for this one-year pilot testing the integrated curriculum. Survey results from the previous three-year pilot show that, besides learning ballroom dance steps, students acquired social skills, responsibility, respect for others and teamwork, along with self-discipline and pride in what they were doing. Students' awareness of calorie intake, food choices, self-esteem and confidence also improved.

MAC will use the new infusion of $125,000 to train 10 teachers and involve more than 1,000 students in an expansion of the program for the 2011-2012 school year. For more information, contact MAC Arts Education Director Kim Whitt.



Teaching Artists and Arts Education Organization Webinars
Pennsylvania Council on the Arts

The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) has initiated a series of free arts education webinars. The series began with a session designed to help constituents apply to PCA for teacher-artist partnership and long-term residency funding. Because these two grant categories recently were opened to all school districts across the state, PCA used the webinar to orient first-time applicants and help them prepare competitive applications for funding.

Following that initial seminar, PCA offered a seminar specifically designed to help teaching artists use technology in the classroom. Modeled after the Harnessing New Technologies for Arts Learning and Participation workshop offered at NASAA's Assembly 2010 convening in Austin, this session was presented by Deb Vaughn of the Oregon Arts Commission and Margaret Weisbrod Morris of the Kansas Arts Commission. The seminar reviewed a variety of technology strategies for increasing engagement in arts learning and enlivening the connections between artists, students and teachers.

PCA has seen strong participation in the webinars, with more than 100 attendees to date. It has found that the webinars generate positive feedback from constituents and provide a quick and cost-effective vehicle for making technical assistance more accessible to PCA's arts education network. Looking ahead, PCA plans to continue its arts education webinars with topics ranging from advocacy and marketing to strengthening and motivating teaching artists and arts education organizations.

To learn more, contact PCA Program Director Jamie D. Dunlap.