Lucas Bernays Held



Lucas Bernays Held has been director of communications at The Wallace Foundation since 2002. He leads a team responsible for developing communication strategies that help advance the foundation's efforts to catalyze broad impact through the sharing of effective ideas and practices. These strategies include publications, partnerships with membership organizations, Web marketing, social media, media outreach and conferences.

Prior to joining Wallace, he was vice president for public affairs at Barnard College, Columbia University, from 1998 to 2002, where he helped raise the college's profile and led the crafting of its first strategic plan. Previously, he was director of college relations at Connecticut College, and an editor and reporter at the Middletown Press of Connecticut.

Held regularly makes presentations on strategic communications, and has published articles on communications, music and art criticism. He contributed the lead essay in the catalogue for the international traveling exhibition of the work of artist Richard Harden, "In a Field of Poppies." He is the recipient of awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the University and College Designers Association and Admissions Marketing Report. He earned a certificate in marketing management from Columbia University Graduate School of Business and a B.A. in English from Haverford College. He is a graduate of the Commonwealth School.

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Looking Toward a Nation at HopeGP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>“I don’t see this as an initiative – I see this as the way we do schools.” </p><p>That comment by LaTanya McDade, chief education officer in Chicago Public Schools, captured the spirit at the launch in Washington, D.C., of a new report: <em>From A Nation at Risk t​o a Nation at Hope: Recommendations from the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development.</em> </p><p>The Wallace Foundation was one of a group of foundations funding the commission’s work, which has unfolded over the past two years or so, and was one of more than 100 signatories to its recommendations.</p><p>Although they have no direct authority, national commissions can play important roles in promoting dialogue and defining issues. In 1983, the landmark report <em>A Nation at Risk </em>was credited with sparking the standards-based accountability movement. In a nod to that report, the new report’s title, coined by Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, referenced the power of that earlier report as an agenda-setting device–but with the twist that its findings give us new hope for progress. </p><p>If <em>A Nation at Risk </em>focused on a particular kind of accountability, <em>A Nation at Hope </em>urges a broader focus on tapping the <em>combined </em>forces of academic learning and social and emotional learning: “After two decades of education debates that produced deep passions and deeper divisions, we have a chance for a fresh start. A growing movement dedicated to the social, emotional and academic well-being of children is reshaping learning and changing lives across America. On the strength of its remarkable consensus, a nation at risk is finally a nation at hope.”</p><p><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="SEAD-Report-Launch-ch1.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Looking-Toward-a-Nation-at-Hope/SEAD-Report-Launch-ch1.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /></p><p>At the heart of the report is a finding that “Social, emotional, cognitive, linguistic and academic development are deeply intertwined in the brain and in behavior and together influence school and life outcomes, including higher education, physical and mental health, economic well-being, and civic engagement.” This means that providing more opportunities for acquiring social and emotional skills has the chance to improve both academic outcomes, and the ability to compete in the labor market, the report concludes.</p><p>An implication, said Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, a professor at the USC Rossier School of Education, is that educators focus both on transferring knowledge to students, and seeking to understand them and create a climate where learning can flourish. In addition to recognizing that we need to “enable children to relate well to other people and manage emotions,” we need to recognize that “the process of building knowledge can often be connected to emotions.” </p><p>Rooted on the finding that academic learning and social and emotional learning are “intertwined,” the report makes key six recommendations: </p><ul><li>Set a vision for student success that prioritizes the whole child.</li><li>Transform learning settings so they are physically and emotionally safe and foster strong bonds among students and adults.</li><li>Change instruction to teach students social, emotional and cognitive skills; embed these skills in academics and schoolwide practices.</li><li>Build adult expertise in child and adolescent development.</li><li>Align resources and leverage partnerships across schools, families and communities to address the whole child.</li><li>Forge closer connections between research and practice to generate useful, actionable information for educators.</li></ul><p><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="SEAD-Report-Launch-ch2.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Looking-Toward-a-Nation-at-Hope/SEAD-Report-Launch-ch2.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /></p><p>The livestreamed launch saw a broad range of support for the commission’s work.</p><p>Josh Bolten, president and CEO of the Business Roundtable representing the nation’s 200 largest corporations employing 17 million people, said that over the past two years, concerns have grown among his members that while “they can find people, they can’t find people who are prepared technically and with the soft skills they need to enter the workforce.” In 2017, he noted, when asked about the greatest headwinds they face, for the first time concerns about the labor force nudged out regulation; by 2018, labor was the lead concern by a two-to-one margin. Businesses, he said, are already engaged in some way “to try to make sure that the education system is preparing graduates to do the jobs they have.” </p><p>From the policy community, Gov. Mitch Daniels applauded the notion that SEL was a “missing ingredient” in educational attainment, saying “this report is timely, necessary and the gap is not going to be filled by the environments that the children go home to after schools.” He also urged inclusion of social and emotional learning in the curricula of the nation’s 1,300 colleges of education, one of the recommendations in the report.</p><p>Former Delaware Governor Jack Markell offered that “movements will spread when there are narratives of people doing this right,” and suggested that parent-teacher associations and others could share stories of success that can be emulated and adapted locally rather than in a “top-down” manner. </p><p>Marc Morial, CEO of the National Urban League, said a focus on social and emotional learning was a strong fit with the League’s emphasis on excellence and equity. “There is something commonsensical about this. For us to raise the next generation, we have to imbue them with a range of skills. Now we have to be much more intentional about it because of changes in family structure, diversity and globalization.”</p><p>He, like others, urged that community-based organizations providing afterschool be part of the solution. “It’s going to take a symphony, it’s going to take an orchestra, I want to make sure afterschool providers are in the band and not in the stands.”</p><p>That was a theme also shared by Josh Garcia, deputy superintendent in Tacoma Public Schools, a Wallace grantee, who emphasized the importance of having multiple partners and not just one. He described an “accordion strategy” used over the past decade to shape the Tacoma Whole Child Initiative that comprised four shifts: schools, parents, afterschool providers and partnerships between all three. By accordion, he meant devising plans, listening to the community for ideas and input, and then closing the accordion to revise the plan–then repeating the process. Garcia credited the plan for helping boost high school graduation ratesfrom 55 percent in 2010 to 89 percent in 2018, along with significant decreases in absenteeism, and tardiness and expulsions.</p><p>LaTanya McDade of Chicago Public Schools emphasized the value of partnerships with research organizations, noting the Chicago schools partnership with the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research, and emphasizing the value of public-facing reports that both mark progress and hold the district and its partners accountable. “When you expose the data in a meaningful way, then you are dealing with a common set of facts, and that builds understanding in the community that this work really matters.”</p><p>An example of research that affected practice was a study by the Consortium highlighting differential disciplinary patterns across schools. Fixing that involved changing adult practice, she noted. For example, Sabrina Anderson, a principal in Chicago Public Schools, described how they now begin each morning with a chance for students to share anythingthat would stop them from learning. When conflicts do arise, students in a dispute go to the “peace center” in the classroom, turn over a water bottle filled with glitter and watch the glitter fall to the bottom–reminding them to take the time to listen and talk through their differences. </p><p>Panelists, as well as Tim Shriver, co-chair of the commission, urged organizations and individuals to act on the recommendations.</p><p>“The question before is all of us is can we mount the energy on the implementation and execution side and can we hold together this cross section which includes teachers, and business and community providers to push sensible change,” said Morial of the National Urban League. “What’s exciting about this is this is the next generation of education reform with excellence and equity as its guiding principle.”</p><p>And Becky Pringle, vice president of the National Education Association, returned to the theme that in outlining a consensus, the report created the ground for action at the local and state levels: “I am energized that we are putting students at the core of this work. The report is so comprehensive and so well structured. Thank you. We have the research, we have the evidence…This is power, and together we will be worthy of our students.”</p><p>Wallace’s own work focuses on learning more about the intersection of schools and out-of-school time organizations in providing opportunities for students to acquire social and emotional skills. You can read about what we’ve already learned about social and emotional learning <a href="/knowledge-center/social-and-emotional-learning/pages/default.aspx">here</a>. </p> Looking Toward a Nation at Hope report from national commission taps combined forces of academic learning and social and emotional development
Research About the Arts and Kids: A Fertile Area for InquiryGP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​When Diane Ruggiero, director of the Alexandria, Va., Office of the Arts, installed artworks on the sidewalks of the small city just south of Washington, D.C., she turned to her research director with a question: How can we measure the art’s impact?</p><p>As she recounted at a recent symposium, finding the answer was important because the display was a new taxpayer-funded effort whose expense Ruggiero’s office would need to justify.  In the end, though, city decision-makers decided on a metric that was easily measurable—the number of artworks on display—but failed to provide the information needed to answer her question.   </p><p>In fact, there could have been ways to measure impact: Did people notice the art? Had passersby  stopped to look at it? Had they engaged in conversations about the display? Did residents’ pride in their city increase? But those indicators are more difficult to measure—and doing so requires more resources. </p><p>Ruggiero’s story illustrates some of the challenges facing arts research and was a familiar kind of tale to many attendees at the symposium, which examined research into arts education. Held at George Mason University last October, the conference was called Making Connections for Arts Education Research, Policy, and Practice. It was part of an effort by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to develop insights to support the goal “that every child will have access to arts education,” as Ayanna N. Hudson, the NEA’s director of arts education, put it. </p><p>At a time when equity is on the minds of many educators and policymakers, she noted, the children most deprived of a sound arts education are “primarily kids from underserved communities, primarily kids of color.” A major reason for this unlevel playing field is the sense that arts is an extra, said Steven John Holochwost, principal and director of research for youth & families at the consulting firm WolfBrown.” The notion that arts education is different from education is a strange thing—but the fact is that this is where we are,” he said. This is especially troubling, he said later, because “the expansion of arts education to all children could help buffer the effects of poverty.”</p><p>At the symposium, many agreed that new and promising avenues of research are opening up that could build understanding of the value of arts education. A number of the studies have found links between hands-on arts learning experiences and a range of social and emotional skills.</p><p><img alt="NEA-Arts-Ed-panel-lg-feature4.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Research-About-the-Arts-and-Kids-A-Fertile-Area-for-Inquiry-/NEA-Arts-Ed-panel-lg-feature4.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /><br> </p><p>For example, Kim Sheridan, associate professor of educational psychology, described an ongoing research project that has, so far, identified arts education as being particularly effective in building “agency.” This is a key social and emotional learning concept that encompasses the ability to define a problem, see an opportunity and create a solution, she said.  Interestingly, though, agency is generally not studied in arts education. </p><p>Sheridan ran an experimental study centering on 36 fourth-grade children. Half were given a kit with step-by-step guidance; the other half worked in a museum “makerspace,” where children are encouraged to play and make something with circuits.</p><p>Both groups showed equal interest in the projects and an equal level of confidence in carrying out the projects, the study found. But when about half a dozen children were interviewed from each group, those in the makerspace were more likely to use two telling pieces of language: first-person pronouns to describe their working process and verbs focused on what they did. “These findings suggest while children find both approaches to making enjoyable, activities allowing exploration and individual design choices seem more useful and promote a greater sense of individual agency in making,” Sheridan concludes in her paper. </p><p>In a separate project, researchers studying the Early Bridges program for pre-schoolers at the <a href="" target="_blank">Children’s Theatre Company</a> in Minneapolis have found positive results for the participants’ language <em>and</em> social-emotional development. The program “uses storytelling and creative drama to help young children transform into storytellers of their own lives,” in the words of the company. Teachers rated the participants more collaborative in their play than a comparison group of children, according to Amanda Grenell, a doctoral student at the Center for Early Child Development at the University of Minnesota. “We know that it is definitely due to the program, not due to the fact that the kids are in a good pre-school,” she said.</p><p>Yet another study, a major piece of experimental research, found that relative to a control group, students in a music education program scored higher on standardized tests, earned better grades in English language arts and experienced improved “executive function,” the ability to plan, pay attention,  switch tasks and do things that promote goal-directed behavior. It’s important to note, said WolfBrown’s Holochwost, the study’s lead author, that the participating students had been in the program for two to three years, meaning they had had a chance to sharpen their skills, put on performances and feel pride in the hard work of building difficult skills. </p><p><img alt="NEA-Arts-Ed-panel-lg-feature3.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Research-About-the-Arts-and-Kids-A-Fertile-Area-for-Inquiry-/NEA-Arts-Ed-panel-lg-feature3.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /><br> </p><p>The research is described in <em> <a href="" target="_blank">Music Education, Academic Achievement, and Executive Functions</a></em>, published in 2017 in the journal <em>Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts</em>. “Our results suggest not only that the elimination of music from public education in the pursuit of higher academic test scores may be counterproductive, but that denying students music education may deprive them of an opportunity to build the basic cognitive and behavioral skills necessary for success in nearly every domain of school and life,” the report concludes.</p><p>The new body of arts education research contrasts with an older “either-or” debate about whether the goal of arts education is to teach technical skills like painting or playing a musical instrument—or, to improve academics. The intense interest in social and emotional learning, a composite concept of ideas drawn from psychology, learning theory and development, provides an “opening” to broaden the discussion about the value of a high-quality arts education, said Kenneth Elpus, associate professor of music education at the University of Maryland.</p><p>This more expansive view was reflected in a Wallace-commissioned literature review, <em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/review-of-evidence-arts-education-research-essa.aspx">Review of Evidence: Arts Education Through the Lens of ESSA</a></em>, which found studies showing benefits from arts education not just in arts skills and academics but also in areas including social and emotional learning, and “processes,” a word for critical thinking. What’s more, the effects were robust enough to put them at the 75th percentile of 70 studies encompassing reading, math and science. Put another way, nearly three quarters of activities examined in those non-arts areas had lower levels of positive effects than the disciplinary approaches to arts education that were the subject of studies. </p><p>Moreover, arts learning can drive future engagement in the arts, according to an evaluation, <em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/designing-for-engagement-the-experiences-of-tweens-in-the-boys-and-girls-clubs’-youth-arts-initiative.aspx">Designing for Engagement: The Experience of Tweens in the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Youth Arts Initiative</a></em>, which found high-quality arts programs created “sparks” that led to enrollment in more advanced classes.</p><p>Researchers are also widening their range of inquiry on arts education into realms including neuroscience, where new studies examining the impact of arts education on the developing brain are underway, Holochwost said.  <br> Outcomes were not the only area that panelists pointed to as being ripe for further investigation.</p><p>Implementation research—that is, research on what makes for high-quality instruction—is crucial for improving arts teaching practices, said Elpus, noting that “the work of figuring out what good music education looks like is still in its infancy.” Laura Annunziata, who leads arts education programs at Wolf Trap, the Virginia-based performance venue within a national park, agreed, observing that many of those running arts programs are looking for guidance on how to structure the programs in ways that benefit children.</p><p>Mary Dell’Erba is senior project manager of the Arts Education Partnership, a national coalition of education, arts, government and other organizations dedicated to making high-quality arts education accessible to all U.S. students. She asked whether arts education should “seek to help improve practice, demonstrate outcomes, or both?”</p><p>Regardless of the answer, one area that could use more investigation is access to arts education; knowing more about it is essential to identifying needs and opportunities and making the case for improvements. “Good descriptive work is really important,” the NEA’s Hudson said. “What if we knew who had access in every single state and every single city in the country—just imagine what we could do on race, ethnicity, graduation rates.” Indeed, organizations like Big Thought, a nonprofit that promotes arts programming for young people in Dallas, have demonstrated that using data to map where arts education is—and is not—can be a powerful stimulus for action, as <em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/revitalizing-arts-education.aspx">Revitalizing Arts Education Through Community-Wide Coordination</a> </em>recounts. </p><p>The NEA is currently working with the Education Commission of the States, which houses the Arts Education Partnership, to develop data guides and communication tools so that states and communities can extract data about arts education, according to Hudson. </p><p><img alt="NEA-Arts-Ed-panel-lg-feature2.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Research-About-the-Arts-and-Kids-A-Fertile-Area-for-Inquiry-/NEA-Arts-Ed-panel-lg-feature2.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /><br> </p><p>The conference was a project of the multidisciplinary <a href="" target="_blank">Mason Arts Research Center</a>, which focuses on arts engagement, child development and education. It is part of the NEA’s Research Labs program, an effort by the NEA’s research division to establish regional labs to be a resource for the endowment. Sunil Iyengar, the NEA’s director of research, noted that one way out of the outcomes quandary was to distinguish between the kind of program assessments that seek to determine what benefits—or “value”—accrue from a specific approach to arts education, and more general research that lays the groundwork for how to <em>think</em> about value. </p><p>For Iyengar, the biggest takeaway from the conference was the importance of implementation research, given that the quality of arts education matters as much for creating benefits as access to it. The conference, he said after the meeting ended, suggested to him “that we need to employ the same level of rigor and attentiveness to understand program elements—what comprises a successful arts education, and for whom—as we bring to questions about outcomes and impacts for youth development, the 21st century workforce, or other domains.”</p><p> <em>Lucas Held, Wallace’s director of communications, took part in the conference as a member of the Policy and Practitioner panel. <br></em></p><p><em>Photos courtesy of George Mason University’s MasonARC website.</em></p> <em></em><p></p>Research About the Arts and Kids: A Fertile Area for Inquiry explores research about the availability, implementation and value of teaching children about the arts
Want Stronger Communities? Create a Bridge to the Arts.GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Over the past decade and a half, The Wallace Foundation has worked with dozens of arts organizations and experienced researchers to better <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/the-road-to-results-effective-practices-for-building-arts-audiences.aspx">understand effective strategies</a> arts organizations can use to build audiences. We've also sought to understand how government<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/arts-learning-and-arts-engagement.aspx"> policies</a> can support these efforts.</p><p>Underlying this work is a firm belief in the benefits of the arts. As described by RAND's <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/gifts-of-the-muse.aspx"> <em>Gifts of the Muse</em></a><em>, </em>which was commissioned by Wallace, the arts can confer benefits for individuals, such as enjoyment, learning and new perspectives, as well as community-level benefits like social capital, community identity, and new relationships among people.</p><p>Of course, Wallace is hardly the only philanthropy supporting the arts. </p><p>In a recent speech at the National Museum of American History, Alberto Ibarguen, president and chief executive officer of the Knight Foundation, offered another community-level perspective on why the arts are important in American life. His speech draws on a new report (<a href="" target="_blank"><em>Knight Soul of the Community:</em></a><em>Why People Love Where They Live and Why It Matters: A National Perspective</em>) that contains findings highly consistent with those in <em>Gifts</em>. </p><p>Here's some of what Ibarguen said: </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">Over the course of three years—from 2009 to 2011—Knight and Gallup spoke with 43,000 people in 26 communities around the country. Our question was simple: What attaches people to the place where they live? The study was called ‘Soul of the Community’ and we found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, social offerings and aesthetics bind people to place and to each other even more than what we had expected: education or jobs.<br><br>Art binds. Culture generates social capital and strengthens a community’s character. Art brings people together physically—at galleries, museums, performance spaces—and culturally, through its capacity to tell a community’s shared story, to inspire reflection, and form connections that transcend differences. <br> <br>The insight that art and culture bind people to place has animated our work ever since the Gallup study. It inspired the launch of the Knight Arts Program, which, over the last 10 years, has awarded more than $270 million to artists and art institutions in eight cities across the country. That includes $125 million in Miami, which has been ground-zero for our efforts.<br></p><p>In the study, the Gallup organization asked people how attached they were to their communities. They then asked about residents' perceptions of various community attributes and analyzed the correlation between those perceptions and the level of community attachment.</p><p>While the findings don't prove causality, they suggest, as the report notes that "other factors, beyond basic needs, should be included when thinking about economic growth and development. These seemingly softer needs have an even larger effect than previously thought when it comes to residents' attachment to their communities."</p><p>The 10 top correlations between offering and attachment are ranked below, with social offerings topping the list, followed by openness, aesthetics (including architecture and parks), education and basic services.</p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/knight-foundation-correlations.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;" /> </p><p>In 2010, the most recent year of the study, Gallup probed more deeply into what was behind "social offerings" and expanded the list to include "arts and cultural opportunities" and "social community events." The results are below, suggesting that "arts and cultural opportunities" matter a great deal.</p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="social-offerings.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/social-offerings.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /> </p><p>This is a far cry from the commonly heard idea that the arts are elitist, and it suggests, at a minimum, that residents’ perception of a community’s arts and culture offerings correlates with their sense of connection to that community. Put another way, the arts may be an important way (though probably not the only one) for people in communities to come together through shared, meaningful experiences. It also underscores the value of finding ways for arts organizations to expand their audiences, and connect with their communities.</p><p>You can read or listen to Ibarguen's full talk <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>. </p> And to read more about how arts organizations can engage more people in the arts, visit our <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/wallace-studies-in-building-arts-audiences.aspx">Building Audiences for Sustainability</a> page.   Want Stronger Communities? Create a Bridge to the Arts. Knight Foundation report suggests arts and cultural opportunities can increase