Sharing the Value of Arts Education


Our mission is to ensure the arts are an essential part of education. One of the ways we achieve this is to help inform the field of arts education locally, nationally and beyond by conducting, reporting and disseminating research and communicating the value of arts education.

On April 13, ArtsConnection and the Dedalus Foundation are looking forward to participating in The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable’s annual Face to Face 2017 conference with the panel discussion, From Participants to Experts: Teens Take Agency in their Learning Experiences in Out-of-School Programs, led by Teen Reviewers and Critics Program Manager Keonna Hendrick; Student Art Program Manager Amanda Guest; and the Dedalus Foundation Program Coordinator Arianna Chavez and Programs Director Katy Rogers. Joining them on stage will be a panel of former Teens Curate Teens participants. Face to Face is a professional development conference for arts administrators, teaching artists, and others interested in the field of arts education.

In this session, both arts organization staff and teens will discuss their attendance in out-of-school-time arts programming and the impact of their experiences on their academic, personal and professional lives. They will also compare the relationship between in- and out-of-school arts engagement, and how teen programming responds to the needs and curiosities of students interested in exploring arts-based careers. Young audience members will receive recommendations from their teen peers about how out-of-school arts programs can be built with peer voices in mind rather than arts programs designed only by adults. This will provide an opportunity to engage in dialogue around issues of teen empowerment, adult support and college and career readiness.

ArtsConnection Teen Programs and Dedalus Foundation are collaborating for the second year to produce Teens Curate Teens, a teen-led art exhibition. The exhibition will debut on May 13, at the Dedalus Foundation’s Brooklyn studio.


Nationally, ArtsConnection’s work has gained recognition in publications concentrating on discipline-specific arts programs. We collaborate with academic scholars and evaluators to conduct and disseminate research. A recent example can be found in Music Educators Journal**, a periodical distributed quarterly to 70,000 National Association for Music Education members and subscribers. Co-written by Director of Professional Development Joanna Hefferen, the article, “Applications of Peer Assessment and Self-Assessment in Music”, shares strategies and results of three music teachers implementing formative assessment in their classrooms. The results were positive—concluding in productive teaching and learning experiences for both the educators and their students. Students gained greater understanding of the learning process and showed improvement in performance in the art form.

**To view this and other published works, please visit the publications portion of our website HERE.

Rachel Watts

This past fall, Rachel Watts, Director of Programs, was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Civic Engagement Symposium at the new National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts in Weiwuying, Taiwan. The very modern cultural complex which broke ground in 2010, is the largest in Asia and features a concert hall, opera house, recital hall, theater, public library, and studios for music and dance. It is the first performing arts facility in southern Taiwan and the largest investment in arts and culture made by the Taiwanese government.

Arts and cultural professionals including artistic and executive directors with expertise in interactive theater, arts education, and community art museums, reflected on civic engagement and shared their expertise. Other presenters included Wen-Pin Chien, Executive and Artistic Director designee,National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts; Wan-Ju Wei, Chief Executive, Togo Rural Village Art Museum; Cathryn Peach, Creative Producer, Just So Festival (UK); Sven Soren Beyer, Artistic Director, phase7 (Germany) and Shaun Parker, Artistic Director, Shaun Parker Dance Company (Australia).

Rachel’s address, Igniting Teens!, focused on ArtsConnection’s Teen Programs, specifically Teen Reviewers and Critics and Teens Curate Teens and the importance of providing opportunities for young people to have access to the arts and culture in their city. She described teen programming at ArtsConnection as based on the theory that if teens participate in multiple arts related programs and events outside of school, deepening their roles and responsibilities over time, they will build personal, social and academic skills that will help them define and design their own professional pathways.

In order to illustrate the elements of a successful arts learning experience, she included opportunities for the audience to reflect on their memories with the arts as teens and share them with others in attendance, helping the crowd engage in the process of defining the elements that make the learning valuable and enjoyable.

As Rachel reflects on her time at the conference, she is very grateful for the opportunity and reminded of the significance and value of the work ArtsConnection is doing to create life-changing experiences for teens that helps them as they navigate the next steps of their development into adulthood.

Rachel Watts Panel

Rachel Watts on Panel