|Showcasing State Arts Agency Ingenuity|
North Dakota's Icelandic Exchange
Two girls from Iceland examine a camera before photographing their surroundings. Photo by Elvar Beneditktsson
The North Dakota Council on the Arts (NDCA) recently sponsored a youth photography exchange between rural communities in North Dakota and Iceland. Many families of Icelandic heritage reside in northeastern North Dakota, creating one of the largest Icelandic communities outside of Iceland. NDCA supports international residency programs that encourage intercultural understanding through arts learning, with a particular focus on youth and schools. In this year's program, K-12 students in Cavalier, North Dakota, and Laugalandsskoli, Iceland, used photography and drawing to create artworks documenting important features of their homes and communities. The works were exhibited at schools in both North Dakota and Iceland. In classroom learning units organized around the exhibits, students explored similarities and differences in their family events, food traditions, clothing and other features of daily life. Activities took place under the guidance of a professional photographer and artist-in-residence who traveled to both sites. This exchange was the latest activity in NDCA's ongoing International Artist in Schools Exchange program, a 10-year collaboration with the Icelandic Communities Association. In April 2013, a teacher and artist from Verkmenntaskólinn á Akureyri Comprehensive College in Iceland will travel to Cavalier to conduct a residency with students. For more information, contact NDCA Arts in Education Director Rebecca Engelman.
Nebraska's Arts Education Advantage
The Nebraska Arts Council (NAC) and Nebraskans for the Arts have launched artsadvantage.com. This website features success stories in arts education and reveals how important arts experiences are for individuals who become high-achieving adults. Eighteen prominent Nebraskans are profiled through interview transcripts, written profiles and videos that share how learning in the visual arts, theatre, music and dance contributed to their professional success. Individuals profiled include teachers, media leaders, military officials, architects, attorneys and business owners as well as performing and visual artists. An interactive "tell us your story" form prompts additional public contributions to the site. To learn more, contact NAC Director of Programs Marty Skomal.
South Carolina's On-line Arts Hub
The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) recently debuted The Hub, an on-line resource promoting cultural events and organizing arts-related information. Designed as a dynamic one-stop shop for the arts, The Hub was built to serve multiple audiences: artists, arts organizations, residents and visitors. In addition to sharing arts news, opportunity announcements, helpful research and other material geared toward arts users, the site provides the public with interactive maps to cultural venues, links to the agency's long-standing Arts Daily events calendar and other tools that promote arts participation. Hub posts are a mix of original content, news harvested from national sources and items submitted by readers, with SCAC staff serving a curatorial role. To find out more, contact SCAC Communications Director Milly Hough.