In a world of tightening budgets, where advocacy is important, the Maine Alliance for Arts Education welcomed their new executive director, Peter Alexander.
Peter is right for the job as he is more than just a guitar playing, photography book publishing, business traveler who has done good things. He has a long list of accomplishments and a range of experience that will position him well for the task of keeping the arts central to the discussion of Maine’s educational focus.
To many in this country, the education process is broken. Still based on preparing students for factory jobs that no longer exist, our education process could use some creativity and outside the box thinking that incorporates the social media, real time web based world in which we find ourselves.
I presented at Jeff Pulver’s 140 conference in Boston and I’ve attended the #140 education conferences each year in New York, where Jeff and co-curator Chris Lehmann take a hard look at the state of education now and provided a platform for all stakeholders to explore and share successful programs that are changing the way we engage the energy and creativity of youth in their own learning process.
Art teachers can be among the most influential in extending the boundaries that students encounter. Music teaches teamwork, awareness of others and a basic rule of learning that practice, more than testing, is important and critical to successful outcomes.
In this time of budget cuts, maybe the political leadership needs to take a closer look at the skills that are imparted by Arts Education and incorporate more, not less, of it into the learning curriculum.
By contrast, just look at how many worthless, negative and defamatory ads, flyers, direct mail pieces are showing up in our mailboxes at election time. Didn’t your parents often tell you, “don’t tell me what other people are doing, show me what good things you have done.” If we could take just a fraction of the $$$ spent on negative political campaigning and redirect it toward teaching the skills needed for the real-time-web enhanced global marketplace, which very much includes jobs in the Creative Economy, we would see revolutionary change in education. Perhaps that is what is most feared by the old guard.
Here are a couple of additional photos of the welcome reception for Peter held at Slates restaurant in Hallowell Maine, October 21, 2012.