Art Works Blog

Taking Note

For a while in the mid-90s, I shared a house with a group of strangers who rapidly became friends. We lived in a Queen Anne-style oddity in the Dupont Circle area of Washington. A couple of years out of college, I worked most days at a nearby nonprofit called TV-Free America (“TVFA”), whose mission...
Too bad the word “opportunistic” is laden with negative, Machiavellian connotations. Otherwise, it’s just the term I would use to flag some of the more inspired hook-ups in arts research today. For at least five years, the NEA's research office has exploited (the very verb smacks of cunning) the...
Have you ever been in the audience of a performance of the Brahms Requiem and felt the stillness of the listeners around you? Have you ever attended a children's theater production and witnessed laughs-out-loud or applause in unexpected places? If you think about these moments through the eyes of a...
As if program evaluation in the arts were not already difficult, a fresh layer of complexity arises from what I’ll call, without meaning to be cute, the “terms of art” associated with this enterprise. In designing or conducting an evaluation—as with strategic planning in general—one is bound to use...
"Let the children boogie. " -David Bowie, “Starman” For years before Every Student Succeeds, which the President signed into law last month, proponents of K-12 arts education were fond of claiming that a federal focus on test-based accountability—particularly for math and reading—had the unintended...
I'm writing this from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, just off Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. Although the focus of the workshop I'm attending is not explicitly (or even largely) on global welfare, the dialogue here, if it precipitates action, could have striking implications for...
Last summer, Steven Johnson (author of Everything Bad is Good for You and Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation ) wrote an article about the career prospects of musicians, filmmakers, and other artists in a post-Napster era. Appearing in The New York Times Magazine , the...
One of my colleagues at the NEA, Bill O'Brien, is fond of saying that a key difference between art and science is that artists don't need to replicate their findings. This observation in turn recalls for me a quote by Philip Larkin: "Poetry is not like surgery, a technique that can be copied: every...
In August, we issued new application guidelines for the NEA’s Research: Art Works grant program . We’ll discuss the guidelines in a webinar to be held on September 9, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. In one change to the guidelines from last year, we explicitly encourage partnerships between researchers...
Our Research office takes a look at two reports profiling the educational and certification achievements of middle and high school teachers.

Pages