Lincoln Center Institute: Promoting Individuality and Community through the Arts

Photo by Iñaki Vinaixa

It was once proposed, by someone who liked our work, that it was Lincoln Center Institute’s (LCI’s) mission to “build bridges between art and life so that children may learn to see the world transformed by the artist’s vision.”

Very close, but… There is danger incipient in that statement that the students will only see an artist’s point of view. What’s missing is the students’ contribution in the process; what’s missing is the act of free will.

Continue reading

Wallace Foundation Funds Arts Education in Boston

Guess the last word of this sentence: “Arts education in Boston is being _____.”

Recent news from around the nation might have led you to say “cut,” but the right answer, happily, is “expanded.” The city has just announced that the Wallace Foundation will donate $4 million over four years to grow Boston’s Arts Expansion Initiative for public schools.

Continue reading

Lincoln Center Institute’s 2012 Annual Benefit Gala on March 7

Patrick McMullan Company © 2011

Once a year, supporters of Lincoln Center Institute (LCI) gather, enjoy dinner and a world-class musical performance, and honor individuals and organizations that embody LCI’s ideals. These fundraisers celebrate LCI’s tireless efforts to bring the arts to young people, and to develop their skills of imagination, creativity, and innovation. So it is with great anticipation that I announce this year’s Annual Benefit Gala, to be held on March 7 at Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City.

Continue reading

LCI Talks to Arts Schools Network Conference

Today I had the honor of addressing the Arts School Network’s annual conference, held this year in Florida. (Alas, I spoke via Skype, so I wasn’t able to enjoy the Sunshine State’s weather.) ASN is a professional association of arts school leaders, with over 300 members worldwide, so this was a great opportunity for me to engage with a large gathering of arts educators. The organization’s executive director, Kristy Callaway, asked me to talk about Lincoln Center Institute’s (LCI’s) imagination initiatives.

Continue reading

Technology and the Arts: Can They Play Well Together?

The impact of technology on the arts has been a matter of debate at least since we had to be reminded to turn off our cell phones in performance halls.

At Lincoln Center Institute (LCI), we always prided ourselves on espousing the latest technology, but we also insisted on engagements with live performances. This duality was not easy to maintain, especially in a frosty economic climate, and, early on, technology came to the rescue in the form of video. After the students have attended a performance, they need something that will stay with them and be available as long as they study the subject: video allowed us to bring storytellers, chamber ensembles, and Shakespeare to classrooms where being stranded without technology would have meant being stranded without art.

Continue reading

WNET Spotlights LCI in Article on Arts Organizations and Schools

Lincoln Center Institute (LCI) is featured in a new article for MetroFocus, WNET’s multi-platform magazine. The piece, entitled “Surprising Schoolyard Pals,” focuses on the growing number of partnerships between area arts organizations and local schools. This isn’t an entirely recent phenomenon, however: we’ve been at it for 36 years.

Continue reading

Creativity in the UK

Image by Lee Fenner*

A recent article in British newspaper The Guardian by Nosheen Iqbal quotes Sir Ken Robinson as saying, “Creativity is not an exotic extra for education. Like literacy, it should be at the heart of national education priorities.” Robinson’s influential 1999 report, “All Our Futures,” led Arts Council England (ACE) to form Creative Partnerships, an arts education program to integrate “creative learning” into schools by having “creative agents”—artists of all kinds—work with teachers across subjects. The September 14 Guardian article deals with the fact that Creativity, Culture, and Education (CCE), the charity that now runs Creative Partnerships, expects deep cuts in the annual funding it receives from ACE. The bittersweet irony of this arises from the extremely positive findings of a new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which estimates that for every £1 invested in Creative Partnerships, the program delivers £15.30 to England’s national economy; this adds up to £4 billion! (The calculation was derived from data showing that students in Creative Partnership schools score, on average, 2.5 grades higher than their peers on standardized tests.) Despite such impressive figures, which align with LCI’s belief in the broad efficacy of imaginative teaching and learning, proponents of this approach to education still face challenges in convincing others of its effectiveness. Iqbal writes, “Alison Peacock, head of Wroxham primary school … agrees that applying creativity in education can’t be a woolly or vague notion but must be rigorous.” Eric Liu and I think so, too: we argue in Imagination First that institutions must “routinize imagination” (203). It sounds like Creative Partnerships is doing just that in UK schools.

*There is a Creative Commons license attached to this image.