I attended and participated in the February 8th Arts Vision workshop organized by the Roger Williams University Community Partnerships Center, and I have a few things to say in response to Eric Dickervitz’s coverage of the workshop that appeared in this week’s Bristol Phoenix. Most of the article is a fair, if dry, account of what went on at this workshop. However, I must speak to a quote from Alan Crisman, who according to the article said, “Art can be a career path, especially if you include ‘vocational’ [arts].” May I point out the obvious? The arts already are a career path. I’m not sure what Mr. Crisman means by “vocational arts” but perhaps I’ll find out at the next workshop in March.
Second, in the article the topic of STEM to STEAM was highlighted. Now, I am quite skeptical of the STEM initiative, but I strongly support the Arts + STEM = STEAM movement. In any case, by my recollection this was barely a topic of conversation at the Feb. 8th workshop. In the final hour when we all regrouped to discover the outcomes of our small group sessions, STEAM occupied one Post-it note out of hundreds, and it was not part of the concluding discussion. I do not deny this is an important issue facing our public school system, but I’m not sure a community arts corridor is the best place to address the shortcomings of the STEM initiative. I suspect it made its way into the newspaper article because STEM is such a “hot topic” these days.
Finally, I take issue with the phrase “deserving youth”, used in the description of a potential youth mentoring center. At the workshop I never heard it stated or implied that access to a potential space for children and teens would be limited to some definition of “deserving youth” – and as far as I’m concerned, all children and teens are “deserving”. Indeed, the arts are for everyone, a truth on which everyone in attendance at last week’s workshop was in agreement.
“Listen to the tasty guitar licks being thrown down by this very talented musician…” over on Bing videos