Reflection 8 is the most difficult one that I have had to write, for personal and professional reasons. I stepped down as the Founder/Executive Director of Ashland Art Center last September and for the past three months I have been ensconced in training the new AAC ED, Dee Perez, while then taking on a highly concentrated training session for my new career in Business Management for LMH Properties. Things have fallen by the wayside and I have had little to no time to think about Studio to Schools – outside of finding a way to transition the work to the new ED and the Middle School. So my reflection today, January 8, 2017 (eight weeks late), will be wrought with a tinge of how on earth do we make this transition work for all involved? Apologies for that in advance…  Denise Baxter.

How will AMS/AAC sustain the S2S project (or its most essential components)?

The plan will need to be carried out without the support of the plan’s creator. The plan is clearly defined and really only requires that the other players embrace it and find the time to make it a reality long term. The essential components are:

  • Continue to support the newly created art programs. Maintain what has been created.
  • Continue to address the issue of integration. The new website is the perfect way to make this happen. All the pieces are there for AMS and others to bring artwork into the core curriculum classes with some degree of ease.
  • Begin using the new AMS Arts website to reach out to the community. Use the stories we’ve created and the technology we have in place to reach out and inspire the community to be apart of the arts programs at AMS.

What are our greatest strengths or assets?

The foundation and the trust that we have created over the past three years is crucial in the success of the program. It is imperative that AMS and AAC continue to work through the transition period. Year four and five, should AMS and AAC request further participation in this program, will find AMS needing to take over the bulk of the work. And AAC will need to wean itself from the process. And so it might be timely that my role as project manager and AAC Executive Director has come to an end during year three of Studio to Schools. It is a natural progression that the middle school begin to do more on its own.

How can we leverage those strengths or assets moving forward?

Use the good working relationships to follow the plan in place. The final pieces are integration and outreach. Integration has a strong beginning foundation. Continue to follow that template that is laid out in the website for art integration. Also, there is a good start for outreach, with the videos and stories that have been created and are ready to go out with a call to action. This is all part of the plan and has been approved by all involved so that campaign for community support is only a matter of making it happen.

What are the greatest challenges presented to AMS/AAC and the S2S project?

It is the question of whether or not the middle school can find the time in its already very busy schedule to focus on the integration and outreach components of this project. And can they do it with less support than they have ever had in the past? The new ED is not able to step in at the level that I had played. She can play a strong role in administrating the program but will not have the ability to drive it forward. That will need to come from the middle school now.