Summer School Gift

Summer School Gift

This a shout out to noted celebrity Stephen Colbert who always has more than his share of opinions on all things politics and culture. But I love it when they are able to leave the bubble of their security and safe living to actually make an accountable difference in the world. And he did just that this last month.

I am not sure exactly of his connection to the cause, but he donated enough funds to cover every teaching grant that was submitted by South Carolina public teachers. I do know that this is in connection to a crowd funding source of DonorsChoose.com. Although he did not act alone, he was in tandem with both Share Fair Nation and Scan Source. But the bottom line was resources to enable over 1000 projects submitted by over 800 teachers to total a whopping $800,00. Some administrations will be very happy and lucky Carolina students will reap the lucky benefits. It takes not only a village, but a vision and some wealth!

Male Privilege ??

Male Privilege ??

Following up on last week’s post about girls and body image. For some reason I am getting a Grrl Power presence on my readings online. Maybe the upcoming Mother’s Day wave?? Here are two more videos to add fuel to the fire.

There is a lot of heat and conversation currently about #BlackLivesMatter and White Privilege. But it also has me thinking about Male Privilege and in spite of women’s suffrage at the turn of the century, there are still many shortcoming between the two sexes. Yes there is the obvious job placement and wage discrepancy. But who knew about women buying normal drug store items? Check out the revealing video with the hashtag #PinkTax. It is posted by the Facebook feed Mic.com and worth a look.

And then Buzzfeed which is a constant source of knowledge and insight to me. The video infomercial took 4 women in a photo shoot and “shopped” their bodies to make them into the “ideal.” As flattering as it was, it was also an example of be careful what you wish for… Each woman had strong reactions and felt that the image created was so perfect that it erased them of characteristics that are essential to who they are. Whether that be freckles of a few extra pounds. The lesson is to be comfortable in our own skin.

Girls – You Are Beautiful!

Girls – You Are Beautiful!

So often we are bombarded with body image marketing in everything from bathing suits to barbershops. I am not sure who the Grand Pooh-Bahs are that mastemind these ingrained beliefs that cross cultures? But they do hold strong; especially for women. I have heard it said that girls reach their maximum confidence of self image by 13 and from then on it recedes.

So I found this video from Dove fascinating. The premise is simple. There are two doors – One marked Average and One marked Beautiful. Women then chose which entrance they walked into the building even though both doors led to the same interior. This was across several nations. It was telling that in spite of no ulterior pressures, many of them opted for the Average, as that is what they view themselves as. The commentary after also spoke volumes. Girls, please don’t sell yourself short and label yourselves as others would do for you.

Summer Class Registration 3-6

Public School Arts Allies

Public School Arts Allies

As I have been pressing our contacts in the public school system this year for residency work, I am aware that the landscape has changed very much. Part of me understands that the crusade of education has become accountability and graduation rates. But continually buried in the discussion is “cognitive” part of the process and how arts play a key piece in the total picture. Many agree it is imperative, but it remains the first item to be tabled in the name of both time and budget.

So I found it very telling and brought some discussion around the attached article. Just as we look at our US President to be a visionary of the nation, we do the same with our school superintendents. They take on the role with a list of requirements and expectations that require super human strength or impossible feats of tact and negotiating. Just like a CEO of a major corporation in tough economic times, they can be a cog in the machine that rotates like a revolving door with heads on the chopping block every 2-3 years. The article compares the roles of both St Paul’s Valeria Silva vs Mpls Bernadeia Johnson who recently stepped down. Is it even a position that has a chance for success? How much time is needed for measurable success? And to whom are they accountable for?

I have no answers. And even more limited opinions. But this is a great subject for discussion.

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/293932861.html

Arts Advocacy Day

Arts Advocacy Day

A quick shout out to any of you that are indeed raving fans and might have some free time on a bitter cold Thursday. Feb. 19th is the annual Arts Advocacy Day at the state capitol. It is a rare chance for us all to converge from our individual quests and make an impact on how vital the work that we do is to a needing audience. Our state senators and representatives can be the gatekeepers on much of the work we do. We always equate this to money and funding. But it can also be about partnerships, permits and all things place making.

I'mInSo if you have the spare time, this is one day out of the year where you can make a big impression with relatively little effort than just showing up. MN Citizen’s for the Arts does all the work for us. They find our elected officials, give you the tools and make the time available for us to simply walk in and make a small voice heard. I will be there representing YPC and all the great work we do.

Minnesota Citizens for the Arts

Dance for Those Who Can’t

Dance for Those Who Can’t

There are so many thing to like about this great shared video. First is the Dance Competition itself. The VIBE XX is now in its 20th year and began as a talent show in Southern CA. In the 2 decades since, it has become a springboard for amazing talent and sold out crowds that rivals Coachella or the Sundance Festivals. You have seen dance lines, but this defies definition.

Secondly, this year’s winner Cookies, has been a veritable presence at the competition over the last few years. They are a large troupe from the San Diego area. This years piece was a story of homeless youth. It began with with simple slides and statistics. Then slowly came to light with shreds of clothing and cots to sleep on. The opening tableau alone surpasses many stage stories. Their technique is incredible, there energy unleashable and their spirit astounding. The staging, the musicality and theatrics of the piece is superb.

A great human statement and artistry. Please enjoy it!.

Opening Doors

Opening Doors

This Human Interest Story goes back a few years. Somehow it just found its way to me via a share on Facebook. Maybe because it originates in Canada.

Like so many stories shared here, it involves a teen that has dealt with some adversity and ends up at the questionable point in their life road which can lead to two distinct outcomes; poor choices that are difficult to dig out from or a positive one that elevates all around them. Josh Yandt was struggling with the death of his father and a move from a simple rural life into a larger pool in Ontario. Also having a slight lisp and some bad blood from Bullying experiences, he made a bold choice not to retreat in this unfamiliar new world, but to approach it with authentic opportunity.

His simple action was to arrive to school early and open the door for students as they entered the building. Nothing more than a “hello” or “have a good day.” New classmates did not know how to react at first but came to know him as the Doorman. Over time his actions led to warm reception as many of the student body began to also Pay It Forward. He ended up winning over the entire school where he was accepted with open arms and validation. It took nothing more than an action and a desire to make change; both within and at large. Simple Story, Monumental Difference! Today he enjoys a career in Public Speaking.