reflection questions boldIn May 2015, Studio to School project teams were asked to reflect on the resources – monetary and non-monetary – needed for implementing successful arts education programming and how they might apply what they’ve learned to allocate resources in year 2. The OCF evaluation team was able to connect themes from grantee e-journal posts to project budgets submitted for year 2.

Here’s what we’ve learned about required resources…

Many resources were used to fill “foundational gaps” in the first year by securing space and materials

Instruments were purchased and repaired, new technology and other supplies obtained, spaces prepared, and other structural work tackled. The essential stuff of arts educationdollars spent on instruments year 1 was gathered and prepared so that arts education programming could be successfully developed and implemented.

Project teams dedicated a total of over $318k in year 1 on arts education materials, supplies and equipment. This total includes over $117k for the purchase and repair of musical instruments.

A significant amount of time and resources went into purchasing equipment and materials for the lab. This previously unused room has been successfully converted into a fully functional space which staff, guest artists and students utilize daily.  – Hollywood Open Meadow

While some project teams have been able to easily secure dedicated space and materials, others have had varying degrees of success.

We have learned that there are many steps to wade through when trying to access the resources of a school district. The main capital project we were hoping to undertake this year was postponed over and over again. There are forms to fill out, there are un-posted rules to navigate and there are many people with a lot of their plates. – PCM Woodlawn

The human resources and relationships built in year 1 are some of the most valuable resources developed thus far.

Many project teams note that the human resources – the people involved in their projects – are especially valuable, from leaders at the arts organizations and schools, to teachers and teaching artists, and everyone else involved in making projects happen on the ground.

The team is an essential resource. Having the support from the different areas of interest- the school, a parent, the artistic director and the coordinator brought a balanced perspective to the project. – Pacific Crest Kingdollars spent on PD year 1

Studio to School teams spent over $833k on personnel costs, including compensation for project coordinators, teaching artists, substitute teachers and other administrative assistance to keep projects moving forward in year 1. In addition, project teams spent nearly $76k on professional development for the people who make arts programming happen.

There is no better resource than good people. Harney County teachers are great people and they were happy to see that this OCF grant was not just one more thing, but was actually a compliment to their teaching. – Harney County

Project coordination efforts required more resources than expected.

The day-to-day logistical work that includes communicating and coordinating with teaching artists and classroom teachers is a significant undertaking. One way that projects have worked through this is to dedicate staffing for project coordination. As one project lead noted “time is such a vital resource.” He expected the project coordinator would play a big picture role, but quickly learned that the start-up process was going to be time consuming, and that the coordinator would need to work one-on-one with teachers in the classroom.

I knew we would utilize every penny of the funding to achieve our program goals in year one.  I didn’t realize how much leadership was needed to get many of the supplemental programs up and running.  With funding to bring in our guest artists means we also need money to pay those that are inviting, scheduling, and hosting these guest artists. Funds will need to be reallocated to reflect those real expenses that will continue into year two. – Ashland

A review of project budgets reveals that 10 teams spent more than anticipated on project administrative staffing costs (which are presumed to support coordination of projects). The realization that coordination and logistics require significant resources is reflected in year 2 budgets for many projects – 11 teams have increased their year 2 budgets in anticipation of continued need for administrative staff support.

The flexibility of the Studio to School Initiative means that project teams have room to adjust their project plans and budgets.

One thing that may seem obvious is that it is such a relief to know the money is there when we need it.  Instead of worrying about funding sources when supplies break or we need to pay teachers, we can provide what is needed to have a quality art program for our students.  This certainly helps provide continuity to the program. – CAM Sunset

In short, OCF funding has given us an opportunity to explore new possibilities in our programming while also providing us with a space to analyze and discuss these changes with a focus and specificity that we had previously been unable to achieve. – Ethos/Elkton

Grantees have adjusted year 2 project plans and budgets based on what they’ve learned in year 1 – anticipating that changes in programming and unexpected challenges and costs will continue.

Our year 2 budget will reflect unforeseen changes to one community partner, Columbia Center for the Arts, who has eliminated their education program.  We will redirect the funding we had hoped to use in a collaborative summer musical at the art center into our new music technology lab at Hood River Middle School. – AIEG Hood River

We had lofty goals of what we could complete in year 1. Instead of focusing on checking everything off our list, we put effort into slowly building our community. This meant that some projects (i.e. online student portfolios field trips, etc.) were not completed. While we continue to have the overall project goal of offering these activities, we’ll use our learning from year 1 to focusing our resources on building our community, executing projects on a timeline that is meaningful to our youth and the Peninsula community.  – Caldera Peninsula

Enthusiasm for arts education is building – this requires resources and is also an important asset.

Studio to School grantees spent just over $62k on marketing, outreach and fundraising activities to raise awareness and build community enthusiasm for their projects in year 1. Grantee efforts to garner support helped project teams earn roughly $23k (slightly more than originally budgeted) through fundraisers, ticket sales and other fees for service.dollars earned year 1

We hear students and families all over town talk about the ‘Art Novas’ at the middle School, the ‘Art Stars’ at the high School (funded by the 21st Century grant), and the ‘Everstars’ at the elementary school as viable and real opportunities to study the performing arts here in the valley.  Before this grant, there was no such reality. – Three Rivers IRVAC

Grantees report that they have a better understanding of the existing resources in their communities.

Following the debut of modest improvements to the venue at packed winter music performances, offers of volunteer help began to pour in. A local hardware store staff contributed weekend time to paint the stage a matte black. Many parents contributed time to help with students during music rehearsals and performances. – Siletz Lincoln Schools

The projected activities using these funds will differ from our original proposal, now that we have been in the schools and have insight into the needs and resources there. – OSA David Douglas

Some grantees were able to leverage more additional funding than expected while others struggled to raise expected revenue.

A handful of grantees leveraged a total of $100k more than anticipated in funding and in-kind resources during year 1. These unanticipated funds and in-kind support included government grants, school district support, donations through fundraisers, teacher and teaching artist time, donations of instruments and other equipment, earned income (ticket sales) and in-kind arts organization staff and administration time.

dollars leveraged year 1It is also notable that a few grantees reported that their projects were able to attract funding to the community more broadly. For example, in one community a local funder awarded a grant for arts education to a neighboring school that was not part of the Studio to School grant funded project because they wanted to ensure equitable access for all students in the community.

Although some grantees attracted more funding than anticipated in year 1, as a whole the group fell short of projected revenues by roughly $100k. While unanticipated revenues made up for the shortfall for the group as a whole, the revenue shortfalls of individual grantees were often made up for through other budget adjustments.

The difference between dreaming and doing is having the resources needed for success.

Sunriver Lapine

Continuing Questions

As we move into year 2 of the Initiative, we have some continuing questions about what it takes to implement these projects, and to build high quality arts education programming that is lasting. We might not be able to answer all of these questions in the coming year, but we hope they help the teams continue to reflect on and use resources wisely.

About materials: How will teams make sure that these important resources are maintained over time? How will instruments be replaced and repaired in the future? Technology be kept up to date, etc.?

About people: How will teams work through transitions with new leaders and key staff? How will all of the important people-resources be supported and maintained?

About coordination and logistics: For those teams without a dedicated coordinator, how are they managing logistics? Are those without dedicated staff having more trouble than those with dedicated staff? Are some types of projects requiring more resources for coordination than others?

About staying responsive: What structures or processes are projects putting into place to ensure that arts education remains responsive to student, school, and community needs?