The Best of 2018 | Arts Ed RECAP

on December 31, 2018

Arts Education RECAP

Read a roundup of all the most read arts ed news in our Arts Education RECAP for 2018.


Research

Measuring the Value of Theater
Three new studies try to measure the value of theater by creating a lifelong narrative for its impact. Researchers are examining the effects of audiences on the arts, and the effects of the arts on audiences.
American Theater

What Happens to Student Behavior When Schools Prioritize Art
Sir Ken Robinson dives into the story of Orchard Gardens, an elementary school with a history of problems, and how new principal with an arts focus was able to transform the school culture for good.
KQED MindShift

The Creative Brain is Wired Differently
It’s often said that creative people see the world differently than the rest of us—and a Harvard researcher is providing one answer why.
Science Daily

Arts Education in Davis Elementary Schools
The first of a two-part story about the arts curriculum and funding in the Davis Joint Unified School District. Through the Davis School Arts Fund, teachers can receive additional funding for art projects they want to hold in their classrooms. However, it is meant to support “a project but not ongoing art.”
The Aggie


Equity

Art is a Reflection of the Way the World is Changing
Children are more likely to draw women than in the past—but they become skewed toward sketching men as they get older.
The Atlantic

Faced with cancer, these young people picked up a camera
Pablove Shutterbugs, a program offered by the Pablove Foundation, aims at giving children diagnosed with cancer a creative outlet for expression.
KPCC

TED-style art history platform aims to promote arts education online
Heni Talks is a new website that presents video arts education courses. Subjects range from important works such as the Mona Lisa, and the oeuvre of masters such as Cézanne, to art movements like Pop art and Modernism.
The Art Newspaper

How Art Therapy Is Helping Children with Autism Express Themselves
For individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), art can be an ideal means of expression. Researchers and leaders in the field of autism education, like Temple Grandin, have done well to explain that individuals with ASD tend to think visually.
Artsy


Calls-to-Action

Since most of the deadlines for our Calls-to-Action have passed, we are sharing the only one currently active. We were surprised by how many people were interested in calls for conference presentations and workshop proposals. Do you have an idea for the types of CTAs you would like to see? Email them to communications@psarts.org.

How did an art teacher make a difference in your life?
Do you have a memorable story about your art teacher? Submit your story!
KPCC


Advocacy

Education Should be a Constitutional Right
“Even today, a federal constitutional right to education remains necessary to ensure all children get a fair shot in life.”
Good Education

At Summit, Educators Explore Ways to Make Art a Focus
How can we utilize the arts to address deep-seated problems in education, public health, and sustainability? That was the question posed to the artists, educators, and innovators who gathered in Washington on April 16 for the fifth annual Kennedy Center Arts Summit. Over the course of the day, performers, panelists, and audience members considered the potential for art to effect change and eliminate inequities.
Education Week

South Bend parents petition against any cuts in fine arts classes
Some local families are concerned the South Bend Community School Corp. Focus 2018 reorganization plan might mean a reduction in the amount of time devoted to arts education for their children.
South Bend Tribune

Let’s keep the ‘A’ in ‘STEAM’: The importance of the arts in our schools
In music, drama, and even among artists, there’s a sense of belonging, of teamwork. 
Duluth News Tribune


Policy

Both Sides to the California Senate Bill 933
California State Senator Ben Allen introduced SB 933 which provides grant funding to schools for arts education programming. But it seems members of the arts education community are split on the details.
KPCC

Read Our Statement about SB 933
Our CEO, Dr. Kristen Paglia shares why this bill is good for arts education, “Senate Bill 933 addresses the lack of arts education funding in low-income communities and introduces grant funding for these districts and schools to provide visual and performing arts for every student.”
P.S. ARTS

Arts education will keep students in school
[State Senator Ben Allen has] introduced Senate Bill 933, which would begin to close the access gap by creating a statewide grant program to help districts struggling to provide arts instruction.
The Sacramento Bee

Genesee County voters asked to approve arts education and cultural enrichment tax
Voters in Genesee County will be asked to approve a tax increase in August that would help fund a variety of arts and cultural institutions. The Genesee County Board of Commissioners approved placing the measure on the Aug. 7 primary election ballot, seeking a 0.96-mill tax increase for 10 years.
ABC12 WJRT


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Stephanie McGrathThe Best of 2018 | Arts Ed RECAP

Evelyn Park is encouraging students to connect with music

on December 21, 2018

Evelyn Park is a musician and highly skilled music teaching artist in the Lawndale Elementary School District. She brings a unique experience and perspective to every class. We had an opportunity to sit down with her and talk about her own artistic practice and why encouraging kids to connect to music is so important.

I hope they will feel confident enough to sing along to the songs they love and to learn a new instrument when given the opportunity. I hope they will venture outside of their comfort zone to experience, connect to, and share different kinds of music.

Tell us about your personal work and how it affects your teaching.

These days, with two young kids at home, my “Personal Work” entails sitting around the piano and belting out songs of all different kinds: pop ballads, hymns, lullabies, folk songs, etc. Connecting with my children at home through music reminds me that little ones are able to connect to just about anything, regardless of genre or style of music. It reminds me that I can push the students in Lawndale when it comes to exploring and connecting to different types of songs that they have never heard before.

What are some consistent sources of inspiration for you/your artwork?

Weekend workshops, small venue music shows, and musical theater inspire me in different ways.

If your students have one main takeaway from your class, what would you like it to be?

My desire as a teaching artist is to encourage the students’ natural desire to create and express themselves through the arts. I hope they will feel confident enough to sing along to the songs they love and to learn a new instrument when given the opportunity. I hope they will venture outside of their comfort zone to experience, connect to, and share different kinds of music.

Tell us about a memorable class/student/lesson.

There are so many. The most recent one took place a month ago during a first-grade lesson. This particular class is full of energy. Alex*, in particular, has a lot of trouble containing their energy in the classroom setting. During a lesson on beat & drum playing, Alex played a very sophisticated rhythm as they passed by one of the drums. It was enough to make me stop the lesson. Instead of getting upset with them for playing out of turn, I told Alex to sit at a drum and play freely. I soon discovered that Alex’s drumming skill is beyond any child I have ever worked with in grades K-5. I made sure to let Alex know of this immense talent. Alex’s toothless smile was the brightest I have seen in a long time. Alex now looks forward to playing the drum in music class and feels like a vital and wanted member in the music classroom.

I soon discovered that Alex’s drumming skill is beyond any child I have ever worked with in grades K-5. I made sure to let Alex know of this immense talent. Alex’s toothless smile was the brightest I have seen in a long time.

What famous person, either dead or alive, would you choose to take out for coffee?

Stevie Wonder: I’d love to hear his stories, ask him a million questions, and see his perspective on the changing music industry.


Thank you, Evelyn! 💜 Teaching artists like Evelyn are a vital part of what makes P.S. ARTS programs succeed. By making a gift this year, you are helping us provide a salary, benefits, supplies, professional development, and a robust network of support for Evelyn and more than 50 other teaching artists. Support our teaching artists here.

*This student’s name has been changed to protect their privacy.

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Stephanie McGrathEvelyn Park is encouraging students to connect with music

December 2018 | Arts Ed RECAP

on December 10, 2018

Arts Ed RECAP

Read all the research, news, and policy in our arts education RECAP for December 2018.


Research

Pre-to-3: Researchers find more reasons why the arts are good for young children
Research shows that not only does regular arts instruction increase school readiness in young children, but daily art classes also reduce stress hormones.
Education Dive


Equity

Tuchman & Pillow: Out-of-School Enrichment Is Critical to Student Success. We Must Close the Access Gap for Black and Latino Kids
“A growing number of studies have found that trips to theaters and museums, learning opportunities during school breaks, and other enrichment programs benefit a wide range of student outcomes. But not every student has the same access to these sorts of opportunities.”
The 74

Teacher organizes ukulele donations for Paradise students
“With each ukulele, Zampa is including what she describes as a love letter she wrote to the students, ‘We hope they bring joy in the days to come. We can’t wait for the world to hear the music you’ll make.'”
KTUV

4 Benefits of Photography for Autistic Students
Photography brings creativity, independence, communication, and flexibility to autistic students.
Edutopia

Prince’s Paisley Park & Minneapolis Public Schools Teaming Up to Expand Music Education
In the spirit of Prince’s generosity to public education, Paisley Park, his estate and museum, is opening its doors to Minneapolis Public Schools offering free access and music education opportunities.
Billboard


Calls-to-Action

How did an art teacher make a difference in your life?
Do you have a memorable story about your art teacher? Submit your story!
KPCC

California Arts Council Peer-Review Panels
Apply to be a panelist to review grants submitted to the California Arts Council. Applications deadlines are Nov. 15 and Jan. 15, 2019.
California Arts Council

2019 NAMM Foundation Best Communities for Music Education Survey
Do you think your district or school has an outstanding music program? Consider submitting to the NAMM BCME survey! Deadline to submit is Jan. 31, 2019.
NAMM Foundation

Clean Beach Poster Contest
Combine two great causes into one. Third to fifth graders are encouraged to submit a drawing with a message about how to keep the beaches and ocean pollution free. Contest winners will have their artwork displayed around trash barrels on the beach. Only open to LA County residents. Deadline is Jan. 12, 2019.
Department of Beaches & Harbors


Advocacy

Art educators discuss their role in classrooms
Transmissions from the New York State Art Teachers Association Conference. See how our friends in New York are creating innovative strategies and approaches to arts education.
WBFO

Fresh Voices: The Value Of Arts Education | Graduation Project
More transmissions from the field, this time from high school students. Listen to high school junior Zaida Marquis’ report on the state of arts education in public schools.
WHQR

Sheku Kanneh-Mason: ‘Every child would benefit from music lessons’
“Music allows you to express yourself in many ways, and not having the opportunity to do that is a real shame. I’ve always had music as a massive part of my life and have benefited in so many ways from that, and I think every child would benefit from music lessons.”
Classic FM


Policy

Engaging the Arts in the Broader Education Policy Landscape
Take a look at opportunities to expand policy areas for arts education and some states that are leading by example in including arts education in their policy decisions.
Education Commission of the States

How Can States and Districts Use ESSA to Embrace Arts Education?
Education Week tries to answer how arts education can be included in states’ ESSA plans.
Education Week


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Stephanie McGrathDecember 2018 | Arts Ed RECAP

Johanna McKay is teaching love and respect for theater

on December 10, 2018

Johanna McKay is a highly trained and experienced actor, director, and playwright as well as a theater teaching artist in the Lawndale Elementary School District. Her enthusiasm for her work and love for her students is overwhelmingly clear through their energy and excitement in each class and their incredible performances. We had an opportunity to sit down with her and talk about her own artistic practice and why passing her passion for theater on to her students is so important.

If my students have one main takeaway from my class, I hope it is a love and respect for theater and confidence in doing it…

Tell us about your personal work and how it affects your teaching.

My work with P.S. ARTS is very fulfilling because of my love for theater. I have been an actor since I was the age of the students I’m teaching now. My parents are classical musicians and I was raised in a household where the arts were not only highly valued, they were how we made a living. I was trained in Chicago and have worked as an actor professionally in theaters all over the country. Here in L.A. I am a member of several theater companies and act in plays, help develop new scripts, adapt and direct Shakespeare and musicals, attend and support plays, and engage in lively discussion about them with other working actors, technicians, and directors. My teaching is directly affected by the excitement I feel about this art form.

What are some consistent sources of inspiration for you/your artwork?

Any innovative concepts that come up in new productions invigorate me to try to include, adapt, and shape those ideas into current, teachable lessons that will give the students a fabulous experience. I am inspired by the theater I see; actors, teachers and directors who are brilliant; visual artists who constantly amaze me; books; music; a funny comment made by someone; a prop sitting on a shelf; an action or improvisation done by a student; an idea a classroom teacher has…who knows WHAT is going to inspire ideas that go into a performance! It all goes into creating theater that is relatable, humorous, and empathetic to the human condition.

I am inspired by the theater I see; actors, teachers and directors who are brilliant; visual artists who constantly amaze me; books; music; a funny comment made by someone; a prop sitting on a shelf; an action or improvisation done by a student; an idea a classroom teacher has…who knows WHAT is going to inspire ideas that go into a performance!

If your students have one main takeaway from your class, what would you like it to be?

If my students have one main takeaway from my class, I hope it is a love and respect for theater and confidence in doing it—within that, support of each other, creating a safe space to be brave, laughing a lot, working as an ensemble, and leaving the experience feeling uplifted.

Tell us about a memorable class/student/lesson.

Some students I have who have autism learned our play and performed it earlier this week. Each young actor had successes and moments where they seemed engaged and excited. However, I worried that Sam*, in particular, was not very engaged by the play and struggled to stay on task. Sam is a nice kid but it just seemed that this wasn’t their “thing.” Just now, Sam and their classmates came in to watch another fifth-grade class perform the same play. As Sam watched from the audience of parents and school staff, the excitement in recognizing the play grew and grew! Sam began singing the songs, doing the movements, and ended up standing up in the middle of the audience and jumping up and down applauding and laughing during the show! Sam especially loved the girl who played the frog—which was originally Sam’s part.

Sam’s teachers and I were quite surprised and delighted—and the class performing LOVED Sam’s reactions! It made THEM become more engaged. They began performing for SAM! It turned into a joyous experience for the audience and the cast – and especially for Sam! What a thrill to see them connect so personally as Sam recognized their show being performed by others.

What famous person, either dead or alive, would you choose to take out for coffee?

I would love to have a full course MEAL with William Shakespeare and his cast of actors. I have many questions for him and I bet his sense of humor would be awesome!


Thank you, Johanna! 💜 Teaching Artists like Johanna are a vital part of what makes P.S. ARTS programs succeed. By making a gift this year, you are helping us provide a salary, benefits, supplies, professional development, and a robust network of support for Johanna and more than 50 other teaching artists. Support our teaching artists here.

Bonus! Check out this Meet the TA we did with Johanna a few years ago. 😊

*This student’s name has been changed to protect their privacy.

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Stephanie McGrathJohanna McKay is teaching love and respect for theater

November 2018 | Arts Ed RECAP

on November 7, 2018

Arts Ed RECAP

Read all the research, news, and policy in our arts education RECAP for November 2018.


Research

You thought failing PE or art in high school doesn’t matter? Not so, new Chicago study says.
The transition from middle school to high school can be a bumpy one. For some students, that emotional stress can have a serious impact on their success. A new study finds that if they aren’t willing to go to PE or art classes, they aren’t likely to go to school at all.
Chalkbeat


Equity

Song and dance routines can enhance students’ SEL skills
“Even before school starts, exposure to music and movement led to children displaying more independence, social cooperation and more attachment abilities than children who did not have these experiences.”
Education Dive

5 1/2 Things That Americans Are Saying About The Arts
“We support arts education at all grade levels, and out-of-school experiences are important too.”
Forbes

Arts and Education: Time for a little map making
“These experiences help them sort through, make choices, think critically, work together, see things from another perspective. So tolerance, understanding, critical thinking…”
KPAX

Arts education expanding in Huntsville
Arts Huntsville launched the North Alabama Arts Education Collaborative with the goal of providing fully funded arts education to every student in Alabama starting in northern Alabama.
RocketCityNow.com


Calls-to-Action

California Arts Council Peer-Review Panels
Apply to be a panelist to review grants submitted to the California Arts Council. Applications deadlines are Nov. 15 and Jan. 15, 2019.
California Arts Council

2019 NAMM Foundation Best Communities for Music Education Survey
Do you think your district or school has an outstanding music program? Consider submitting to the NAMM BCME survey! Deadline to submit is Jan. 31, 2019.
NAMM Foundation

Orchestras Support In-School Music Education
Join 250+ orchestras! Orchestra executive directors are encouraged to sign on to the Statement of Common Cause to help start conversations around music education in their communities.
League of American Orchestras


Advocacy

Chance The Rapper goes undercover to raise money for arts
If you were a lucky Lyft rider in Chicago recently, you may have been a passenger in the car of Chance the Rapper who took to the streets to raise support for arts education.
Education Week

Dance Teacher: Arts Ed. Could Be the Key to Student Engagement
“When children learn to think like artists, they learn a way of approaching the world that will support them throughout their lives, academically and socio-emotionally.”
Education Week: Teacher

Art, music readily available in Ohio schools, and popular, too
Ohio is winning at arts education. In a recent assessment of arts education offerings in Ohio, 93 percent of Ohio’s 3,000 traditional schools offered both music and visual art.
The Columbus Dispatch

‘Fame’ never eludes Debbie Allen, who is sharing her experiences at OCSA
“Arts education should be at the core of every public school education. It is one of the most important disciplines, along with math, English and science. Arts education is so fundamental in other parts of the world — why not here? The arts are about the spirit of creativity. Artists think a lot. They consider the world. They bring information and reflection to the truth of our lives.”
Los Angeles Times

Kehinde Wiley on Self-Doubt and How He Made It as a Painter
Arts education was integral in developing a career path forward for painter Kehinde Wiley.
The Atlantic


Policy

The voter polls closed in California yesterday. We’re interested to see how national, state, and local policies will be affected. Send any arts education policy related news our way! Email communications@psarts.org with articles related to arts education and we may share them in our next RECAP.


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Stephanie McGrathNovember 2018 | Arts Ed RECAP

Meet Madeline, Our Newest Staff Member!

on October 30, 2018

Madeline Miller, Senior Development Manager, Institutional GivingBriefly introduce yourself and explain your new position at P.S. ARTS.

Hi! I’m Madeline Miller and I’m the Senior Development Manager for Institutional Giving at P.S. ARTS. As part of the Advancement Team, I harness storytelling and data to strengthen P.S. ARTS’ partnerships with corporate, foundation, and government funders. I focus on tapping into funders’ interests and figuring out what motivates them to support arts education.

What book is currently on your nightstand?

I’m reading The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson to get into the Halloween spirit—I’ve yet to determine whether I should avoid reading it at night. Up next is the last book in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series.

What is currently the most played song on your iPod/Spotify/Apple Music account?

I discover a lot of music on 88.5 KCSN, which introduced me to The War on Drugs. The song “Up All Night” from their latest album has been on heavy rotation for the past few months. It makes for a good soundtrack if you like to listen to music while writing.

Where is your favorite place to view or take part in art in Los Angeles?

I grew up in LA and have always had a soft spot for LACMA and the Getty. They’re pioneers in enabling exhibition spaces to serve as community spaces.

Which famous person, dead or alive, would you like to meet for coffee?

Tom Petty! He’s always been my favorite musician. I don’t think he ever put out a bad song and I admire him for creating influential music until the end of his life. I always loved his ability to write about everyday stories against a backdrop of soaring, powerful music.

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Stephanie McGrathMeet Madeline, Our Newest Staff Member!

Inside Out Students attend Idyllwild Arts 2018

on October 23, 2018

By KT Leuterio, Program Coordinator, Extended Learning

For over 10 years, the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program has partnered with Inside Out Community Arts to provide select Inside Out students with a scholarship to attend a two-week summer arts intensive in Idyllwild, California.

Every Spring, Inside Out students are invited to audition in order to receive the scholarship. Interested students prepare pieces in the arts discipline of their choice, ranging anywhere from vocal performances, instrumental performances, poetry, monologues, illustrations, comic books, and stories. The students then present their work to a panel of Inside Out Artist Leaders who then select one student from each participating school to receive the scholarship.

Attending an Idyllwild Arts summer course is a great opportunity for students to explore an arts discipline of their choice, make new friends, and spend time in nature. Here are a few words from two scholarship recipients for Inside Out at Idyllwild Arts 2018 :

Seventh-grader Sofia enrolled in a Visual Arts course focused on art forms from around the world. Her two-week course was unfortunately cut short due to a precautionary evacuation for the Cranston Fire, but she was able to make the most of her short time there:

“I was honored to be one of the recipients of the Idyllwild Summer Camp Scholarship. Thanks to your generous support, I was able to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“Even though my experience was short because of the unfortunate fires that put the community of Idyllwild in danger, I’m glad to say that this experience has been an unforgettable one for so many reasons. I was able to participate and surround myself with people that share the same passions and love for the arts from the different forms of expression in this amazing program!”

Eighth-grader and alto saxophonist Raquel took a course in Symphonic Band and had the chance to hone her technique:

“Winning the scholarship and going to Idyllwild was a very important thing to me. It was a great experience because I was surrounded with people who also went to camp to learn about music and more about their instrument. In my room, I was surrounded by people who were dedicated to what they did and were happy about having the chance to go there too. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that I was given to go to Idyllwild Arts. Thank you!”

I was fortunate enough to visit the Idyllwild Arts campus to see Raquel’s final performance. I was in awe of the talent, passion, and professionalism displayed by the students. Raquel’s sisters were in attendance and were excited to see their sister perform and even more excited to finally give her a hug after two weeks away from home!

Inside Out student Raquel at Idyllwild Arts 2018

Raquel (center, in black) with her sisters after her performance.

We at P.S. ARTS are all so grateful to Idyllwild Arts. Their generosity, support, and passion for arts education have given Inside Out students the experience of a lifetime. It has been so great to hear stories from our Inside Out at Idyllwild Arts 2018.

Congratulations to all of our scholarship recipients! We are so very proud of your accomplishments!


Read more about the Inside Out Community Arts program here.

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Stephanie McGrathInside Out Students attend Idyllwild Arts 2018

Express Yourself on Good Day LA!

on October 3, 2018

We were on Good Day LA! Watch the clip to see a fun activity and hear Express Yourself 2018 host Randall Park share more about P.S. ARTS and the event.

Thanks to Good Day LA and Randall Park for spreading the word about P.S. ARTS and Express Yourself. Check out photos from the 2018 Express Yourself!

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Stephanie McGrathExpress Yourself on Good Day LA!

October 2018 | Arts Ed RECAP

on October 2, 2018

Arts Ed RECAP

Read all the research, news, and policy in our arts education RECAP for October 2018.


Research

Have you read an interesting article related to arts education research? Send it our way! Email communications@psarts.org with articles related to arts education and we may share them in our next RECAP.


Equity

Frederick County Organizations Expand Access to Arts Education
When the cost of arts education classes became too high, this community came together to find no or low-cost ways to make access to the arts more equitable.
Frederick News-Post

Ramona Library Launches Rural Arts Project
Thanks to a grant from the California State Library, four branches of the San Diego County Library system will start offering people of all ages access to free, high-quality art instruction.
The San Diego Union-Tribune


Calls-to-Action

2018 Advisory Council Nominations
Americans for the Arts has four standing Advisory Councils—the Arts Education Advisory Council, the Emerging Leaders Advisory Council, the Private Sector Advisory Council, and the Public Art Network Advisory Council. Submit your nominations by October 5.
Americans for the Arts


Advocacy

Creative Youth Development: Transforming the Learning Environment   
This report explores the design and impact of CYD programs — including examples of successful programs across the country — and provides policy considerations for states looking for ways to narrow the achievement gap and support student success.
Arts Education Partnership

Richard Quinn’s Show Made A Statement About Arts Funding
“At a time when real damage is occurring to arts education, I want to point to how substantially its creative power lights the path to our future…Celebrating the community I come from is important to me, and thanking British art education for the fact that I am business [sic] today.”
Refinery 29

Why It’s Okay to Throw Your Children’s Art Away
“If it’s the act of making the art that’s useful and good for children, then let this part of the art live, and then let its results die.”
The Atlantic


Policy

Governor Jerry Brown vetos Senate Bill 933 put forward by Senator Ben Allen
“Nurturing creativity is certainly one of the most important responsibilities of teachers and local schools. But under our philosophy of local control, this is a matter best handled by individuals at the school level, not at state headquarters.”
California Legislative Information


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Stephanie McGrathOctober 2018 | Arts Ed RECAP

Meet Virginia, Our Bookkeeper!

on September 18, 2018

Virginia BroersmaWe are thrilled to have Virginia Broersma join the team as our bookkeeper. We asked her a few “get-to-know-you” questions—see what she had to say!

Briefly introduce yourself and explain your new position at P.S. ARTS:

My name is Virginia Broersma, and I recently joined the team at P.S. ARTS as the Bookkeeper. I am also an artist, but I do enjoy administrative and bookkeeping work so have worked in office jobs as my primary income while I pursue my career as an artist. Currently, I assist the Finance Director with tasks such as paying bills, running the payroll, record keeping, and data analysis, among other things. I get to see behind the scenes of how an organization like P.S. ARTS stays sustainable.

What book is currently on your nightstand?

I’m currently reading a novel – Fates and Furies – by Lauren Groff. I picked it up at one of my favorite bookshops in Nevada City where my parents live. In the heart of gold country, this bookstore is in the original assayer’s office and even still has the old room-sized safe inside the store. The owner has such a great selection, and I think have probably read every book in the store because she is able to give great recommendations. She gave this book the thumbs up, and so far, it’s been a great read.

What is currently the most played song you’ve been listening to?

I use the Los Angeles Public Library’s various streaming services religiously and have been regularly borrowing Loma’s self-titled album. There is a song called “Relay Runner” that has a complex musical energy that I really enjoy. I put it on when I need to get moving or get focused.

Where is your favorite place to view or take part in art in Los Angeles?

That’s a tough question. As an artist, I am very engaged with the art community and art world here in LA. I go to galleries and alternative spaces pretty much every week to see the current shows. But really my favorite place to experience art is in artists’ studios. Studio visits are always so rewarding – talking to someone else about their work is so informative, interesting, and always expands my world. It’s where the good stuff happens.

What famous person, either dead or alive, would you choose to take out for coffee?

I would love to sit down with Gertrude Stein for a cup of coffee in her salon in Paris. She was a trailblazer and an advocate for artists at a time when huge shifts were occurring in the possibilities of art. Her role in shaping the art world as we know it today by being a patron was incredibly significant. She became a hub for artists and writers and stimulated the Paris art scene through developing community that was both nurturing and at times combative. She did not fit into a box and lived life on her own terms – she didn’t let things like being a woman in a time when there were less opportunities for her hold her back. She seems a bit of an eccentric, and I like eccentric people. I think it would be incredibly fun and informative to have a conversation with her.

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Stephanie McGrathMeet Virginia, Our Bookkeeper!