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Orchestrating Digital Arts Programming to Meet the Moment22032<p>​​​​​​​​​​As various performing arts organizations across the country venture toward reopening, many have been forever changed by the pandemic. Some of these changes have been positive for both organizations and audiences—shifting away from status quo and toward new levels of innovation and accessibility. One such shift has been the widespread adoption of digital programs. Indeed, a study, <a href="https&#58;//culturetrack.com/research/covidstudy/" target="_blank"><em>Culture Track&#58; Culture and Community in a Time of Crisis</em></a>, conducted during 2020 and commissioned by Wallace, has uncovered a high level of participation in digital programs during the pandemic.</p><p>To further explore the crucial role of digital in the performing arts, we recently connected with two grant recipients from Wallace’s <a href="/knowledge-center/building-audiences-for-sustainability/pages/default.aspx">Building Audiences for Sustainability</a> initiative, which ended in 2019&#58; Seattle Opera and Woolly Mammoth Theatre. Marketing Director Kristina Murti at Seattle Opera and Artistic Director Maria Manuela Goyanes and Managing Director Emika Abe at Woolly Mammoth shared insights from their respective organizations’ creation of digital programs, highlighting some of the advantages and challenges that they’ve experienced. The interviews have been edited for length and clarity. </p><p> <strong>Looking back at the past year, what one piece of digital content do you think was your most successful, interesting, significant or surprising? And why?</strong></p><p> <strong>Goyanes&#58;</strong> In many ways, Woolly Mammoth was built to meet a moment like this, as risk-taking and innovation are at the core of what we do. From the outset of the pandemic, we wanted to create opportunities to continue to spark conversation through theatre and to quickly provide jobs for artists and technicians who were left unemployed. We decided to commission two works specifically for alternative mediums. It feels important to talk about both since they were both significant for us, and also so different from each other, which really showcases how wide-ranging this type of content can be.&#160;</p><p>The first was commissioning the Telephonic Literary Union to create <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IcmSt8x4h0" target="_blank"><em>Human ​Resources</em></a>, which repurposed a customer service hotline into an intimate audio anthology for remote times. The project contained audio experiences written by authors of color, employed actors from all over the country, and spurred audiences to listen, reflect and try to find the “Super Secret Happiness Code” embedded within the hotline. As evidence of its success, six months later, <em>Human&#160;Resources</em> had a future life—The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis presented the piece for their local community last month. </p><p><a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kjPJbg0cwE" target="_blank"><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Orchestrating-Digital-Arts-Programming-to-Meet-the-Moment/this-is-who-i-am.jpg" alt="this-is-who-i-am.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /></a>The second project, <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kjPJbg0cwE" target="_blank"><em>This is Who I Am​​</em></a>, was a co-commission with New York City’s Play Company for Playwright and Director Amir Nizar Zuabi to write a play specifically for our current digital platform, <a href="https&#58;//www.woollyondemand.net/auth" target="_blank">Woolly on Demand</a>. Zuabi embraced that challenge completely and wrote the story of two characters, a Father and his Son, meeting on video chat with the hope of overcoming their estrangement. This fully realized production was rehearsed and performed entirely remotely, with its two actors, Ramsey Faragallah and Yousof Sultani, performing nightly from their own kitchens. We shared the play through a five-way co-production with American Repertory Theater in MA, The Guthrie Theater in MN and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.&#160;</p><p> <strong><a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwjUaBA9j0E" target="_blank"><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Orchestrating-Digital-Arts-Programming-to-Meet-the-Moment/don-giovanni.jpg" alt="don-giovanni.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />​</a>Murti&#58;</strong> In my opinion, our <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwjUaBA9j0E" target="_blank"><em>Don Giovanni</em></a>, recorded in January, was our most significant opera recording this season.&#160; It was the second full opera we recorded, and the first work we did not record in our main performance hall. There’s a lot of assumptions in opera about “how things need to be” and the idea of recording a “performance” outside of our main performance hall was not something we were seriously considering earlier in the pandemic—until we needed to, and then we decided to build a sound/film studio in our administration/operations center. We also recorded the audio separately from the staging and synced everything together in a pretty seamless way. The idea that we could record the performance “off-site” brought confidence to our next project, <a href="https&#58;//youtu.be/O35L90nbSVI" target="_blank"><em>Flight</em></a>, which was recorded really off-site&#58; at Seattle’s Museum of Flight. That project is most certainly the pinnacle of what we’ve done so far but having <em>Don Giovanni</em> under our belt and producing opera in an entirely new way was crucial to being able to put together an amazing product like <em>Flight</em>.&#160; </p><p> <strong>What has been the biggest challenge that your organization has faced while reconfiguring its programming for the digital space? </strong><u> </u></p><p> <strong>Abe&#58;</strong> It’s hard to pinpoint what the biggest challenge has been, as there have been so many! </p><p>One challenge has been that in undertaking new digital projects, we really went back to being beginners, even though Woolly has been around for 41 years. At first, we didn’t know what types of professionals we needed to engage to create work online. As we were seeking an outlet to share our work virtually, new hosting and streaming platforms for the theatre community were rushing into existence to tap into a new market. We had to evaluate our options without any particular expertise on our staff about video formatting or ways to stream from your computer to your television. At least we can say with confidence that we know a lot more now than we did a year ago.</p><p>Fortunately, because so many other theatres were making similar pivots into the digital sphere, we were able to turn to our colleagues for guidance—and then later on, to share our own insights with others. It has been heartening to see the many ways in which the theatre industry has come together to collaborate and support each other through this pandemic.</p><p> <strong>Murti&#58;</strong> We have not been able to use our main performance venue, McCaw Hall, consistently as a recording site so we have had to <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoEUBC7wm0o" target="_blank">reimagine</a> several of our Opera Center spaces as movie sets. Due to social distancing requirements and space considerations, we also had to record the music separately from the staging. These two issues were challenging but allowed us to think way outside of the box. As mentioned, <em>Flight</em>, which premiered this month, takes place in an airport terminal and was filmed on location at The Museum of Flight, an impressive museum filled with aircraft and large spaces that feels very much like an airport. No opera stage set will ever match the scale and brilliance of being at that location for this opera.&#160; </p><p> <strong>Was there any type of program you tried along the way that didn’t work, or didn’t work as expected? If so, what did you learn from this experience?</strong></p><p> <strong>Murti&#58;</strong> We’ve really experimented a lot with community programming. What format works?&#160; Should they occur at a specific date and time? Do we take reservations? Do we pre-record the entire talk and then edit into a more formal video? What’s the best length?&#160; We’ve tried a lot of things here and continue to experiment.&#160; </p><p>In general, I’d say we’ve found that shorter (20-minutes or less) is better than longer. We are still trying to determine whether it’s better to have a Zoom-style event with a set date and time, which people can join and feel like they are part of the discussion, or an event that is pre-recorded.&#160; </p><p> <strong>Goyanes&#58;</strong> Close to the beginning of the pandemic, we decided to experiment in the learning space, specifically offering classes entitled “Woolly for the Body, Mind and Spirit.” We offered a dance class, a class that paired a contemporary book with a contemporary play that Woolly had produced, as well as an acting class specifically geared for video audition techniques. We have not offered classes like this at Woolly in a long time, and we struggled with enrollment for many reasons, not the least of which was that we were launching this while COVID-19 numbers were high in the summer of 2020. The emotional toll of the pandemic, as well as the isolation, has been hard on our staff and our audiences. While we are energized by class ideas, in hindsight we needed more time for our community to wrap its head not only around what shelter-in-place meant, but also what it meant for Woolly to move into an intentionally educational space again. Another takeaway was that we learned to stick to what we do best and adapt it to the moment, rather than launch entirely new offerings for our audience. </p><p> <strong>Have there been any unexpected advantages to presenting virtual programming? If so, what does this success look like? </strong></p><p> <strong>Murti&#58;</strong> I touched on this earlier with the idea of separating the audio and staging recordings—that is something we did not consider last summer but has allowed us to expand into new and different locations and possibilities. We are currently planning where to record our upcoming <em>Tosca</em> and are considering one of the most beautiful cathedrals in our city. <br> <br> Another advantage to virtual programming is the ability for people to watch the opera more than once.&#160; We’ve found that a lot of people do this. For<em>The Elixir of Love</em>, our subscribers watched the opera on average 1.8 times. We keep each of our digital programs available to subscribers for three weeks following their online premiere, and many have reported watching early on and then again later on.&#160; </p><p> <strong>Do you expect to incorporate digital programs into your regular programming in a post-pandemic landscape? If so, how?</strong> </p><p> <strong>Murti&#58;</strong> Yes, although what this looks like is very much evolving. Attendance at digital talks have far outpaced what we would have in-person. Seattle has terrible traffic so I believe we will have a hybrid of an in-person and virtual atmosphere for these events going forward. Some opera/musical content will most definitely continue virtually, but we haven’t figured out yet what that will look like in the future.</p><p> <strong>Goyanes&#58;</strong> While we are absolutely eager to bring live in-person theatre back into our programming, we also want to center the idea of abundance in our collaborations, relationships and in the theater we make. One of Woolly’s guiding principles is to reimagine collaboration and community, across industries, communities, disciplines and mediums. Digital programming fits squarely into that reimagining, and we are eager to build upon the experiments of this past year.</p><p>For one, producing in the digital realm greatly increases access to our work. For example, our theatre in downtown DC seats 270 people, and on the last night of our digital production of Amir Nizar Zuabi’s <em>This is Who I Am</em>, we saw upwards of 500 people tune in online, not only from all over the United States, but also from abroad. With a lower ticket price for our online productions, we have also been able to provide greater access by removing a financial barrier for more audiences.</p><p>We know that as vaccinations become widely available and restrictions from the pandemic get lifted, we will face new hurdles. Experts say that COVID-19 or similar viruses will be an ongoing part of our lives. A year ago, as new leaders were stewarding Woolly Mammoth into its next chapter, we were growing our operations and impact. Now, the same growth has been set back and we are not yet sure how long the ramifications of this time will last. Many of our artists are still unemployed and we fear that many will have left our field permanently.</p><p>All that said, we fully believe that Woolly Mammoth’s courage, creativity and sense of possibility will help us chart a path through these and other challenges we face. </p><p> <strong>What advice would you offer an organization who is just beginning their journey in adapting to the digital stage? </strong></p><p> <strong>Murti&#58;</strong> Try to think outside of your normal locations. After a year of this, audiences are going to expect you to do more than simply put your normal in-person event into a digital format.&#160; Virtual content should be designed with that in mind, as it takes just as long to figure out as an in-person event. Everyone has been surprised at how long it takes to edit a full-length opera. We’re doing it in about 2-3 weeks and it’s a real push to get it completed.</p><p> <strong>Abe&#58;</strong> Now that there is a lot of material out in the world online, check out what you’re interested in to get a sense of the breadth of different ways that artists are creating in all sorts of digital mediums. Are you interested in interactive shows? Live or filmed? Take note of what engages you, what makes for ease of experience, what feels satisfying. And then reach out to folks at those theatres. Ask questions with curiosity and gratitude – take the advice that serves you and chart your own path. Just like there is no one way to make theatre, there is no one way to make theatre online.</p><p> <em>For more information on Seattle Opera’s and Woolly Mammoth Theatre’s full range of digital programming, please visit their websites&#58; </em><a href="http&#58;//www.seattleopera.org/" target="_blank"><em>www.seattleopera.org</em></a><em> and ​</em><em><a href="http&#58;//www.woollymammoth.net/" target="_blank">www.woollymammoth.net</a></em></p>From obstacles to achievements and everything in between, two performing arts leaders share tales of creating art for the digital environment GP0|#459b8438-9b87-47d0-814e-02452652da81;L0|#0459b8438-9b87-47d0-814e-02452652da81|arts;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#691c9823-2361-4619-83cc-fbd9be7bb86e;L0|#0691c9823-2361-4619-83cc-fbd9be7bb86e|digital programming;GP0|#6d76b4c4-bff2-4a32-9edd-7f97c22d5061;L0|#06d76b4c4-bff2-4a32-9edd-7f97c22d5061|performing arts;GP0|#6e6b7b82-4be0-4877-ad30-0433d4e88ee3;L0|#06e6b7b82-4be0-4877-ad30-0433d4e88ee3|opera;GP0|#ae3018bd-38f8-4459-be73-7941ca86e093;L0|#0ae3018bd-38f8-4459-be73-7941ca86e093|theaterGP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Wallace editorial team79<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/digital-arts-programming-lg-feature3.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2021-05-11T04:00:00ZFrom obstacles to achievements and everything in between, two performing arts leaders share tales of creating art for the digital environment5/11/2021 2:23:04 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Orchestrating Digital Arts Programming to Meet the Moment From obstacles to achievements and everything in between, two https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Let’s Talk About Social and Emotional Learning22004<p>​​Five new episodes of <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/podcast-the-partnerships-for-social-and-emotional-learning.aspx">The Wallace Podcast</a> bring to life findings and early lessons from the first two years of the Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative (PSELI), exploring whether and how children can benefit from <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/early-lessons-from-schools-and-out-of-school-time-programs-implementing-social-and-emotional-learning.aspx">partnerships between schools and out-of-school-time programs</a>. The series features in-depth conversations with practitioners and leaders from the PSELI communities (Boston, Dallas, Denver, Palm Beach County in Florida, and Tulsa).</p><p>Listen to the whole series or dive into an episode based upon your current needs or interest. </p><p></p><ul><li> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/the-partnerships-for-social-and-emotional-learning-initiative-episode-1.aspx">Episode One</a>&#58; Discover the “what” and “why” behind the PSELI initiative with our partners at CASEL and the Forum for Youth Investment. The wide-ranging discussion covers the importance of social and emotional learning (SEL) and the settings in which children acquire these skills.<br></li><li> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/developing-adults-capacity-to-promote-social-and-emotional-learning-episode-2.aspx">Episode Two</a>&#58; Practitioners from both in- and out-of-school-time in Palm Beach County, Fla., provide insights on building <em>adults’ </em>SEL skills. “Every adult on campus has a very important role in a child's life, and they might not even realize it,” says Kristen Rulison, SEL manager for the Palm Beach County School District. A cafeteria manager also recounts the story of her staff’s experience with SEL training.</li><li> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/building-effective-partnerships-for-social-and-emotional-learning-episode-3.aspx">Episode Three</a>&#58; Leaders from school districts and out-of-school-time intermediary organizations discuss how to build effective partnerships in this episode. Perspectives from a newer partnership in Tulsa and a decades-long partnership in Dallas are featured.</li><li> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/the-role-of-coaches-in-promoting-social-and-emotional-learning-episode-4.aspx">Episode Four</a>&#58; Explore the role of SEL coaches, who were found to play a critically important role in the initiative, according to the RAND report on the initiative’s first two years. “I would say absolutely, coaches are necessary and you're going to see the outcomes for it,” said Kimberley Williams, former principal of Joyce Kilmer School in Boston. “The school leader needs to have that person to help them balance the many demands and initiatives in a school.” </li><li> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/social-and-emotional-learning-in-and-out-of-school-episode-5.aspx">Episode Five</a>&#58; Here’s a discussion of a useful tool for instructional “walk-throughs” developed in Denver, along with several examples of how schools and OST programs are integrating SEL across the school and out-of-school day.&#160;</li></ul><p></p><p>You can stream the PSELI podcast on <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/podcast-the-partnerships-for-social-and-emotional-learning.aspx">our site​</a>,&#160;where you’ll also find more information about each episode, or download them from <a href="https&#58;//podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/practitioners-share-how-to-build-steady-pipeline-effective/id1334331989?mt=2" target="_blank">iTunes</a>, <a href="https&#58;//podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5zb3VuZGNsb3VkLmNvbS91c2Vycy9zb3VuZGNsb3VkOnVzZXJzOjM3NjAzMTAyNy9zb3VuZHMucnNz?sa=X&amp;ved=0CAYQrrcFahcKEwjYqbmDy_vsAhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQAQ" target="_blank">Google Play</a> or <a href="https&#58;//classic.stitcher.com/podcast/the-wallace-foundation/building-the-pipeline" target="_blank">Stitcher​</a>.​​<br></p>Five-episode podcast series explores how children could benefit from SEL partnerships between schools and out-of-school programsGP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Andrea Ruggirello114<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/pseli-podcast-post-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2021-05-04T04:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.5/4/2021 2:00:55 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Let’s Talk About Social and Emotional Learning Five-episode podcast series explores how children could benefit from SEL 79https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
How Can Arts Organizations Better Serve the Communities They Work In?26252<p>​​​​​​​​​When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down live performances last spring, Anna Glass, executive director of the Dance Theater of Harlem (DTH), said the company was thrown off balance but still needed to respond to its changed circumstances. So, despite having little technical knowledge, equipment or experience with virtual presentations, staffers quickly started to prepare and post online digital dance performances. Improvised though it was, this attempt to reach people produced an unexpected result&#58; the discovery of a previously unknown global audience, stretching from California to the Bahamas and Brazil.<br></p><p>“What we were most shocked by was to see how beloved this institution is worldwide. That was a surprise because DTH has been through a lot of turmoil,” Glass said, referring to a period from 2004 to 2012 when financial difficulties shuttered the venerable dance company. “But we were surprised to find that having been out of sight for a while did not mean we were out of mind. There was a hunger to see what we are and what we do.”</p><p>Glass said the experience of creating those digital performances has now inspired a stronger desire to find and engage with audiences and to strengthen relationships within and outside of the company. “We had success,” she said of the quick pivot and changed operations during the pandemic. “Not from a financial standpoint, but in giving us a new platform to tell our stories. That lesson has been worth its weight in gold.”</p><p>Dance Theater of Harlem’s experience is not an anomaly. Many arts and cultural organizations over the past year have experimented with new ways to engage their audiences and, frankly, survive.<br></p><p>Under the stresses of the pandemic, economic insecurity and a national reckoning with racial justice, audiences, too, have been seeking out ways (especially in online offerings) to find community through the arts. This desire for connection was borne out in a broad survey conducted last year during the early months of the pandemic and described in a report, <a href="https&#58;//sloverlinett.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Centering-the-Picture-full-report-CCTC-Wave-1-findings.pdf"><em>Centering the Picture&#58; The role of race &amp; ethnicity in cultural engagement in the U.S.</em></a><em>,</em> by Slover Linett Audience Research and LaPlaca Cohen, an arts marketing company. The researchers surveyed 124,000 people from different racial and ethnic groups from April 29 to May 19, 2020, to find out how they interacted with arts and culture organizations and what changes they might like to see. The responses generally struck three overriding themes&#58;<br></p><ol><li>Organizations could become more community- and people-centered; </li><li>They could offer more casual and enjoyable experiences; and </li><li>They could provide more engaging and relevant content that is reflective of the communities they serve. </li></ol><p>Further, BIPOC (or Black, indigenous and people of color) respondents were even more likely than white respondents to express an interest in changes in the arts and cultural organizations they frequented, reflecting trends that had already been under way in many communities. </p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/How-Can-Arts-Organizations-Better-Serve-the-Communities-They-Work-In/desire-for-change-in-cultural-sector.jpg" alt="desire-for-change-in-cultural-sector.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><strong><br>​At the Nexus of Art and Community</strong><br></p><p>These themes and the survey itself provided an anchor for the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/reimagining-the-future-of-the-arts-a-webinar-series-from-the-wallace-foundation-session-4.aspx">fourth edition of Wallace’s Arts Conversation Series</a>, which began with the question&#58; How can organizations respond to what their communities need most, especially in light of the continuing pandemic? Glass was one of the panelists. </p><p>Nancy Yao Massbach, president of the Museum of Chinese in America, in New York City, and also one of the panelists, said the theme of being community centered resonated with her organization as well, adding that the museum staff felt a keen need to remain connected with a community suffering under the lockdown. “It’s not just a desire for changes to make the museum more accessible,” she said. “It is an urgency.” &#160; </p><p>Noting &#160;that the museum’s online offerings on the Chinese community’s experience in the United States and artifacts relating these Chinese-American stories, all free, had experienced a 10- to 20-fold increase in viewers since the pandemic, Massbach said she and others at the museum did not want this new engagement to be temporary but to continue once venues reopened. Massbach’s words were echoed by Glass and Josephine Ramirez, executive vice president of The Music Center in Los Angeles, the third panelist. All suggested that their organizations had successfully pivoted from survival mode toward a rebirth of sorts, devising creative ways to connect with their audiences—and with their peers. </p><p>Ramirez said that The Music Center’s efforts to find innovative ways to offer virtual performances, such as turning traditional live summer dance events into online dance-teaching sessions, gave the organization a way to provide useful content to audiences while keeping the dancers employed, an important institutional objective. It has also led to a greater degree of internal communication and collaboration among staff members at The Music Center, which houses four resident companies and produces a variety of performances and educational experiences. In a follow-up conversation, Ramirez said it was essential for staff members to become “unstuck” and break free of their tried and true ways of preparing performances to better respond to, engage with and build audiences during the shutdown. This often involved tweaking some job responsibilities. </p><p>“Everyone had to learn something new and different,” she said. “Under those circumstances, we had to communicate more than ever with staff, to make explicit all the things they needed to do that before were always implicit. We’d never had to do that before. Now we had to communicate more and better on what was expected and new methods. Old expectations were exploded. We had to help people get comfortable with constant change and that meant a lot more and better communication.”</p><p>Massbach said that the Museum of Chinese in America had benefited too from new levels of staff inclusiveness and brainstorming, which has produced innovations such as using the museum’s street-facing windows for exhibits, something not done previously. The organization has also revamped its website to more effectively promote the museum’s recent initiatives, including its response to anti-Asian attacks, the launch of a series how to be an ally and presentations on unsung aspects of the Chinese diaspora in the United States. </p><p><strong>It Takes a Village</strong></p><p>Another key to building audiences and strengthening arts organizations overall has been to seek out greater collaboration within the arts and cultural sector. That has included ideas such as sharing useful information and replacing competition for grant dollars with cooperation, i.e., having nonprofits, particularly those operating within the same racial or cultural communities, jointly apply for—and then share—funding.&#160; &#160;</p><p>To accomplish that, Massbach suggested that funders consider providing grants to what she called a BIPOC “fund of funds,” adapted from a model used in the financial sector—creating an umbrella organization that could collect grants and funds and then allocate the money more equitably among multiple organizations in a particular community. </p><p>“If you have, hypothetically, a thousand small cultural organizations applying for money, and foundations are trying to discern between a thousand, it’s really, really hard,” she said. She went on to elaborate during the panel discussion that if a group of organizations could create that “fund of funds,” or “foundation of foundations,” to guide money toward many different organizations, the money could be distributed more equitably and sustainably. “I don’t want to be the ‘check the box’ Chinese-American organization that gets the funding when other people don’t because it was easier for people to do that work,” she said. </p><p>In another example of field collaboration, Glass said that she has benefited from a spontaneously created forum for New York-based arts and cultural organizations to meet, share ideas and collaborate on advocacy. Launched in March 2020, the virtual meetings were dubbed Culture@3 for their start time. “For the first few meetings we talked about things like how to get hand sanitizer,” Glass said. “Then we started discussing whatever problems came up, things like insurance problems and city funding. It turned into a place of advocacy and support, sharing information. For this field to survive we need to keep these lines of communication open.” </p><p>Lucy Sexton, the executive director of New Yorkers for Culture &amp; Arts, an advocacy group, and one of three people who help run Culture@3, said the effort was having a big impact on the hundreds of organizations that have become regular participants. While meetings were initially held seven days a week, given the enormous need early in the shutdown, they are now on a four-day-a-week schedule. In addition to running the general meetings, the organizers have spun off working groups on such topics as fundraising and human resources. Recently, Sexton said, the group brought in an expert to explain changes in the tax rules for unemployment benefits, and one of their working groups raised $150,000 to provide emergency grants, as much as $500, to artists in need. </p><p>“This has helped us build stronger advocacy for the cultural field,” Sexton said. “We never talked like this before. There was no collaboration, no communication like this.” </p><p>Glass added that her hope was that this collaboration might prevent the sort of panic she recalls experiencing when the shutdown first hit. The sense of helplessness and being caught completely off guard without a viable game plan is something she says she wants to avoid in the future.</p><p>“That’s what’s making me look hard at our business model,” Glass said. “I don’t want us to hit the next catastrophe, and there will be a next one at some point, and I’m curled up in a ball unprepared. Before that catastrophe we need to create a system for when the Bat-Signal goes up, everyone knows what their role is and how to respond.”</p><p>Ramirez agreed and said that, while arts organizations always need to remain focused on financial sustainability, one of the lessons of the pandemic is that opportunities to bring in larger, more diverse audiences should be pursued even if there is no immediate financial return. “For us, it’s about expanding our family, for people to understand who we are and to experience our work,” she said. “It’s really about the expansion of our family more than anything else.” </p>​<br>Pandemic sheds light on what audiences, particularly those in BIPOC communities, want from arts and cultural organizations—and how organizations are responding GP0|#459b8438-9b87-47d0-814e-02452652da81;L0|#0459b8438-9b87-47d0-814e-02452652da81|arts;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#7ee74777-f4ad-4204-a3cc-1a02bb45abab;L0|#07ee74777-f4ad-4204-a3cc-1a02bb45abab|arts audiences;GP0|#6d76b4c4-bff2-4a32-9edd-7f97c22d5061;L0|#06d76b4c4-bff2-4a32-9edd-7f97c22d5061|performing arts;GP0|#ae3018bd-38f8-4459-be73-7941ca86e093;L0|#0ae3018bd-38f8-4459-be73-7941ca86e093|theater;GP0|#a0d4f287-6ff9-448d-8c80-654a5fcb15c1;L0|#0a0d4f287-6ff9-448d-8c80-654a5fcb15c1|market research;GP0|#d12b494a-8c5d-4014-9866-51539e68ea50;L0|#0d12b494a-8c5d-4014-9866-51539e68ea50|COVID-19GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61James Sterngold 112<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/arts-conversation-4-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2021-04-27T04:00:00ZPandemic sheds light on what audiences, particularly those in BIPOC communities, want from arts and cultural organizations—and how organizations are responding4/27/2021 4:25:56 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / How Can Arts Organizations Better Serve the Communities They Work In Pandemic sheds light on what audiences, particularly 265https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
How Can Teachers Support Students’ Social and Emotional Learning?26223​<p>​​​​As schools begin to reopen across the country, concern about student well-being is at the forefront of many conversations. Teachers’ voices in this conversation are critical. To gather perspectives from teachers on social and emotional learning (SEL), RAND Corporatio​n conducted a survey in Spring 2019, collecting responses from more than 1,200 K-12 teachers via the American Teacher Panel. The findings are shared in a report released in November, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/supports-social-and-emotional-learning-american-schools-classrooms.aspx"><em>Supports for Social and Emotional Learning in American Schools and Classrooms&#58; Findings from the American Teacher Panel</em></a><em>.</em> &#160;</p><p>The study found that teachers felt confident in their ability to improve students’ social and emotional skills, but want more supports, tools and professional development in this area. Notably, RAND found a relationship between teachers’ sense of their own well-being and their use of SEL practices. The Wallace Blog sat down with the researchers, Laura Hamilton and Christopher Doss, to chat about these findings and more, putting them in the context of COVID-19 and school re-openings and shedding light on implications for school leaders and policymakers. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. </p><p><strong>According to the report, many teachers felt confident they could improve students’ social and emotional competencies but that factors beyond their control had a greater influence on SEL than they did. What are those factors and is there research on their influence on student’s social and emotional well-being? </strong></p><p><strong>Hamilton&#58; </strong>Thanks for that great question. I want to start by acknowledging that surveys are excellent for capturing broad trends and for collecting systematic data across different contexts, but getting the nuances often requires more in-depth, qualitative data collection. I think our findings raise a number of important questions like the one you just asked that could benefit from conversations with teachers and other educators to get the kinds of rich information that will really inform our understanding of these findings. That said, we know from research that SEL is influenced by a wide variety of conditions and experiences, both in and outside of school. Families, neighborhoods and community-based organizations all provide opportunities for children to develop relationships and to build competencies such as resilience and self-management. One specific example of a non-school influence that we've heard about from educators a lot recently is the news media. Students are exposed to news about protests against systemic racism or the negative effects of the pandemic, for example, which can influence their sense of well-being and identity. All of these non-school factors are inequitably distributed, with some students much more likely to experience high levels of toxic stress or limited access to supportive communities than others. The effects [of non-school factors] on SEL are well researched and have led to numerous efforts to promote SEL through partnerships between schools and other organizations. I think a nice example of that type of partnership is another Wallace project, the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/early-lessons-from-schools-and-out-of-school-time-programs-implementing-social-and-emotional-learning.aspx">Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative</a>, which brings together schools and afterschool programs to support SEL at the same time. <strong></strong></p><p><strong>The report found that higher levels of teacher well-being were associated with greater use of SEL practices. Can you speculate as to why that might be and what the implications may be for school leaders and policymakers?</strong></p><p><strong>Doss&#58; </strong>Like all of us, teachers who feel stressed and burned out may not be able to engage with others, including their students, as effectively as they can when their mental health is better. There is research that points to negative effects of teacher stress on student outcomes. And this relationship can be explained in part by teachers not engaging in practices that promote positive relationships with other aspects of SEL. In our study, we can't determine whether there is a causal relationship between teachers' well-being and their SEL practices. It is possible, but this relationship might also reflect other factors, such as positive school climate and high-quality principal leadership, which might both support SEL practices and teachers' sense of well-being. And so, the primary implication for education leaders and policymakers is that supporting educators at all levels in ways that promote their well-being and their ability to form supportive relationships with colleagues is likely good for everyone, including their students.<strong></strong></p><p><strong>Can you talk a little about the disparities in SEL practices reported by teachers in lower-poverty schools versus higher-poverty schools and why these differences may exist, as well as how they may be addressed?</strong></p><p><strong>Doss&#58; </strong>There are typically large differences in school funding and availability of higher-quality instructional resources between schools serving lower- and higher-income students. This could stem from differences in access to professional development and other SEL supports. It could also reflect greater pressure in high-poverty schools to emphasize academic achievement as measured by accountability tests, since these schools are more likely than affluent schools to be classified as lower-performing. To the extent that income is correlated with race and ethnicity, it is possible that students in higher-poverty schools don't have access to SEL instruction, materials or practices that they view as culturally appropriate for their students. We've heard a lot of concerns about the cultural appropriateness of materials from teachers across the U.S. Whatever the reason, it's clear that we need to pay attention to greater equity or resource allocation and development of materials and instructional strategies that meet the needs of a diverse student population.<strong></strong></p><p><strong>Many teachers surveyed found the pressure to focus on student achievement made it difficult to focus on SEL. Do you think that pressure has shifted during the pandemic and distance learning, and if so, do you think this shift will have a permanent effect on making SEL a priority? </strong></p><p><strong>Hamilton&#58; </strong>There's been other survey data that have been gathered from teachers, principals and school and district leaders during the pandemic, and they've indicated that educators view addressing SEL and other aspects of students' social and emotional well-being as a priority—sometimes a higher priority even than academics. It's not hard to understand why. Kids lost access to in-person relationships with trusted adults and with their peers. They weren't able to participate in some of the activities that they found really motivating and engaging. And many of them were living in homes that were characterized by high levels of stress stemming from job losses and overworked, homeschooling parents. There's been some national survey data on family concerns about COVID, and that has also raised the importance of the concerns about students' well-being beyond just academics. I think that there will be intense pressure to address learning loss, and so what teachers are going to need is a set of strategies, including professional development curriculum and instructional strategies, that they can use to promote SEL and to integrate it into their academic instruction.<strong></strong></p><p><strong>What role should SEL play as children—and teachers—return to the classroom? And should SEL be a priority component of reopening plans?</strong></p><p><strong>Hamilton&#58; </strong>Educators and families are telling us SEL should be a priority and it's important to listen to them. Clearly this is something we need to be paying attention to as schools start to look like something resembling normal. Reinforcing the message that SEL does not have to come at the expense of academic learning and that, in fact, they reinforce one another will be really important.</p><p>An interesting finding was that relatively few teachers were using digital resources to promote SEL pre-COVID. We also know that during the pandemic teachers prioritized finding ways to address SEL while they were teaching remotely. So it seems likely that there was a lot of learning that took place during this time very quickly, and that educators will be able to draw on their own efforts and those of their colleagues to promote SEL both in person and remotely. </p><p>One other thing I'll mention here is that it's important not to confuse SEL with mental health and to ensure that schools have the trained staff and other supports to address both. These things sometimes get mixed up together in the conversation, but SEL involves a set of competencies that all students and adults need to succeed and thrive. So, every student in our schools should have access to supports for SEL. But some students are going to suffer from anxiety, depression or other mental health challenges, and they'll need supports from professionals who are trained to address those issues. We shouldn't expect classroom teachers to do all of that.</p><p><strong>Did any of the findings surprise you in this report?</strong></p><p><strong>Doss&#58; </strong>We looked at states that have [SEL] standards instituted and required versus those that did not, and then we also asked teachers, “Do you have standards that you're required to address?” We found that there was no correlation between what teachers did in the classroom and whether their states actually had standards, but there <em>was</em> a correlation between whether they thought they had to have standards and their practices. What this means is that the adoption of SEL standards in many states and districts can be a helpful lever for increasing SEL in school, but it's not likely to be effective if educators aren't aware of it. We have to not only think about instituting these standards, but then also making sure that educators are aware of them.<strong></strong></p><p><strong>Hamilton&#58; </strong>Another finding that surprised me was that we saw almost all teachers indicating fairly high levels of well-being on the three different measures that we administered. This conflicts a little bit with some of the other data that we've gotten from other sources about how stressful the teaching profession is and how many teachers were planning to leave even prior to COVID because of the stressful conditions that they were facing. I think what we're seeing is high levels of reported burnout.<strong></strong></p><p>At the same time teachers were saying they generally felt good while on the job, and that while they felt committed and felt valued by their colleagues, there was also this sense of impending burnout and stress that was affecting them. Of course, this was all prior to COVID, and we know that the job got significantly more stressful post-COVID. This reinforces the idea that we need to be paying attention, not just to students’ SEL, but to the well-being of the adults who are providing the instruction in the schools. I hope that [focus on adults] will be something that continues after COVID, and that once we go back to school, there will be more widespread efforts to make sure that teachers are feeling good about the work that they're doing.</p>Teachers know SEL is important, but they need support to make it happen GP0|#b30ec468-8df4-44a4-8b93-5bb0225193fc;L0|#0b30ec468-8df4-44a4-8b93-5bb0225193fc|SEL;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#727f837e-da88-41cd-8e2b-519b38340410;L0|#0727f837e-da88-41cd-8e2b-519b38340410|summer learning;GP0|#1aebcaf3-0aae-4d1e-aa2d-abb0dab18339;L0|#01aebcaf3-0aae-4d1e-aa2d-abb0dab18339|k-12 education;GP0|#c3867193-6dcc-4564-8abf-509d6883257f;L0|#0c3867193-6dcc-4564-8abf-509d6883257f|teachers;GP0|#ece7ad66-1618-4709-b203-707651bc98cf;L0|#0ece7ad66-1618-4709-b203-707651bc98cf|student achievementGP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Andrea Ruggirello114<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/teacher-panel-qa-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2021-04-22T04:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.4/22/2021 2:10:24 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / How Can Teachers Support Students’ Social and Emotional Learning Teachers know SEL is important, but they need support to 393https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
A Few Words in Response to the Chauvin Verdicts26218<p>​​​​​</p><p>My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd for having had to relive the trauma of their terrible loss through the long weeks of the trial of Derek Chauvin. I hope the verdicts have brought them some degree of solace.</p><p>Our system of justice has, in this instance, worked as it should. After both prosecution and defense, following the rule of law, had the opportunity to present their cases to a jury, the guilty verdicts have brought accountability for police misconduct towards people of color that we have rarely seen. While this is a significant advance, we all know that it was just one part of the struggle. There are many more still to come.</p><p>Wallace's mission starts with fostering equity. I hope you will join me in taking this moment as a chance to exhale, take a breath&#160;and find inspiration that change is possible – and use that inspiration to renew our commitment to this ideal. I am grateful for all the efforts of our grantees, partners&#160;and staff in the pursuit of this shared value. ​​​</p><p>Sincerely,<br><img alt="Will Miller Signature Hi-Res.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/A-message-from-President-Will-Miller-about-recent-events/Will%20Miller%20Signature%20Hi-Res.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;139px;height&#58;42px;" /><br>Will Miller, President​<br><br></p>GP0|#5a36b127-c74c-42b1-b2b2-b84367fc8703;L0|#05a36b127-c74c-42b1-b2b2-b84367fc8703|Wallace;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#11634db9-06bc-431b-a0f5-90867030e7ff;L0|#011634db9-06bc-431b-a0f5-90867030e7ff|Will MillerGP0|#b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7;L0|#0b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7|News;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Will Miller42021-04-21T04:00:00ZA Few Words in Response to the Chauvin Verdicts4/21/2021 4:40:28 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / A Few Words in Response to the Chauvin Verdicts My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd for having had to relive 71https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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