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Annika Sheaff

strengthening, unifying and connecting greater Cleveland's arts and culture sector

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CultureForward Blog

It's not about my feelings

Photo by Steve Wagner

"Incendiaries" photo by Steve Wagner

I’m fortunate to be part of an artistic community that values and supports risky experimental work. By risky, I mean just that. There is a fair portion of this work that fails. It may confuse or perhaps even offend the audience. But that is what artists and innovators do, they embark on journeys often unsure of where they will end up.

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Categories: innovation, Neighborhoods, Race, Storytelling | comments

Is an arts job really as legitimate as a [insert every other industry here] job?

My colleagues in the arts industry may bristle at this question, particularly in light of the fact that I’m an arts and culture advocate. If truth be told, I thought we had moved beyond the point where we have to answer this question, due in large part to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis & National Endowment for the Arts. Last year, they released data demonstrating the considerable contribution that arts and cultural production makes to the GDP. After years of local and national organizations conducting analyses to explore the role of arts and culture in the economy – much to the dismay of some in the arts and culture field – the economists in government were finally paying attention.

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Categories: artist, Artist as an Entrepreneur, Education, research | comments

Providing safe afterschool arts & sports programming to CMSD youth (Guest Blog by Boo Geisse)

Miss Bri works on poetry with some of the 3rd graders at Mound STEM during summer programming at Mound Elementary School.

I think about safety in two ways. There’s physical safety, which includes the safety of the body, the home, and environments that lend themselves to opportunity. Physical safety is you and I working and living without injury, our children getting through school without harm. This type of safety also incorporates the space around you: your right to exist, to take up space, to participate. It’s being in an environment that allows you to do what you want to do, to pursue goals and dreams.   

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Categories: Arts and Safety, Arts Education, creative intersections, sports | comments

The Power of Learning In and Through the Arts (Guest Blog by Santina Protopapa)

Ever since I can remember, music has been an important part of my life.  Playing an instrument since kindergarten empowered me to become a leader, showed me how to collaborate with others, and provided the perfect opportunity for me to develop creative problem-solving skills.  These skills play a role in every aspect of my personal and professional life.

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Categories: Artists, Arts and Safety, Arts Education, creative intersections, Music | comments

Integrating the Arts - Chicago's Ingenuity

A few weeks ago, Valerie and I had the opportunity to attend a presentation put on by the Cleveland Arts Education Consortium with guest speaker Nicole Losurdo Upton from Ingenuity. Ingenuity is an advocacy organization that has been working with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Department of Arts Education, certified teachers, students, parents and Chicago’s arts and culture community to ensure excellence in arts education for every student in Chicago’s Public Schools. Ms. Upton spoke on Ingenuity’s process on integrating the arts back into Chicago Public Schools through the CPS Arts Education Plan, a plan designed to bring the arts to every student, in every grade, in every school. Ingenuity started in 2011, and has since made strong progress in increasing the percentage of Chicago Public Schools that have arts programs.

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Categories: advocacy, Artists, Arts Education, creative intersections, Education, evaluate, public policy | comments

National Organizations Examine Creative Intersections

'Snaps and Words'

We spend a lot of time analyzing the environment in which the arts and culture sector operates, both locally and nationally. We follow the news closely to understand what’s top of mind in our community and we meet with people outside of arts and culture to learn the same. We have conversations with artists and arts and cultural leadership to understand their priorities and challenges. Along the way, we identify those places where the priorities of the arts and culture sector serve the broader community. We call those creative intersections.

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Categories: Artists, arts and culture, artsandhealth, creative intersections, Health, Neighborhoods | comments

Support Our Quality of Life Partners

Cellist Paul Kushious engaged pediatric patients and pre-school children from a neighboring day care for 60 minutes in the children’s area. Photo courtesy of MetroHealth

"Quality of life" is a term many use to describe one of the public values produced by Cuyahoga County’s arts and culture sector. On November 3, 2015 Cuyahoga County voters expressed their deep appreciation for the quality of life that stems from our county’s arts and culture organizations and artists. This appreciation was evident when they overwhelmingly voted to renew county-wide funding for arts and culture. Clearly arts and culture is not the only community asset that contributes to quality of life. On March 15, Cuyahoga County voters will have the opportunity to consider renewing public sector funding for another valuable community force that contributes to “quality of life” through Issue 23, the health and human services levy. The health and human services field is every bit as much about improving quality of life as we are in the field of arts and culture. In fact many of those organizations employ art and music therapists and engage in arts and cultural activities and partnerships.

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Categories: artsandhealth, ballot measure, creative minds in medicine, Health, issues, public official, public policy, Roundtable | comments

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