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Here in SC it is called Arts Education Initiative and comes to us from our
local cultural arts council which is an arm of the Arts Commission which is an
arm of the National Endowment for the Arts. Their attitude is that without
them there would be no arts education in our schools. SC is the only state
that requires a certified art teacher and a certified music teacher in every
school. I have participated twice in the artists in residence program. You
have to use their approved list of artists. The first was a videographer. I
taught TV and video production as a class. I had two classes at that time. By
the time he got there they already knew everything that he was prepared to
teach them. I had discovered that upon meeting him and he had agreed to bring
editing equipment that we didn't have so they could have that experience. We
just had two VCR's. Other than that we had the same equipment that the Arts
Commission was prepared to let him use. Better in some places. You know how
that goes. He came in, did exactly what I had been doing all along. brought no
editing equipment, and we ended up with no edited footage either because he
didn't know or want to use two VCR's. He took the footage of one group, with
which he had spent the bulk of his time, supposedly to edit back in Virginia.
I never saw it again. Recently he told our middle school art teacher, as he
was trying to get Joseph to book him, that he had trained me! GAG! And this
while Joseph was telling him that we have a full schedule of middle and high
school broadcast classes being taught by someone with a DEGREE in broadcast. I
have the Film Club as an after school program.
Our experience this year was a sculptor who was supposed to create a LARGE
sculpture with the middle school kids. NOT. No sculpture. Just some little
rinky dink cut out shapes that he bamboozled the principal and Joseph into.
You know the routine. He didn't speak with them at the same time. Told one
that the other thought it was the better idea. GAG! AND Joseph and I both are
capable of doing what he did, if we have the equipment!
And by-the-way these people are paid $900.00 a week and the school has to come
up with half and a place for them to stay!
As far as I am concerned, the program is designed primarily to keep mediocre
artists employed. And I am not saying that all of them are that way. But
Joseph went to the booking conference in Columbia, where he ran into the
videographer, and came back with a really negative attitude about the whole
thing. He says that it is pretty much the same in his former environs of
So we are going to use the same money on buying our own equipment, when
necessary, and bringing in a local artist. I am on the board of our local
artists guild and we have plenty, a couple of hundred, of artists on our
roles. And as coincidence would have it the guild is in the middle of
developing a program through which we would be involving local artists in the
schools on a voluntary basis. Free. And they will be there to do what the art
teacher needs for them to do. Workshops, lectures, mentoring, etc.
Well, is this long enough?