California Arts Council

State of California

Press Release Detail

March 29, 2012Mary Beth Barber

*Updated!* CREATE CA: Leaders meet on March 30-31 in Coronado to discuss arts education reforms

New coalition sponsors second meeting between California education, arts and business leaders to craft a blueprint for arts education

Sacramento -


Education, business and arts leaders will meet for a statewide forum on arts education in Coronado (San Diego County) on March 30-31. “CREATE CA” (formerly CREATE the STATE) is a broad-based statewide initiative from various leaders in education, business and the arts with the goal of examining the current state of arts education in California and broadening California’s educational vision. (CREATE stands for “Core Reforms Engaging Arts To Educate.”) The Coronado forum is the second for the CREATE CA team.


The March CREATE CA Forum will introduce the Joint Arts Education Task Force charged with creating the State Superintendent of Public Instruction’s new education policy document, Blueprint for Creative Schools: How the Arts and Creative Education Can Transform California Classrooms. **See new information about the members of this Task Force at the end of the press release (updated March 29, 2012)**


“The Superintendent is really excited about CREATE CA and The Blueprint for Creative Schools,” said Craig Cheslog, principal advisor to California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. “As Torlakson travels the state, talking to business and community leaders, they’re telling him ‘We need students who graduate from high school and college who are critical thinkers, creators, innovators, and collaborators.’ These skills do not come from studying for bubble tests, but are certainly developed when students engage in the arts in meaningful ways.”


Leaders at the California Arts Council note that it is a critical time to address the issue of innovation and creativity in schools. “We see the next two years as a key window of opportunity for significant change for the arts in schools,” said Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, chair of the California Arts Council. “The No Child Left Behind federal policy expires--and potentially with it, the associated reliance on the testing regimens of the past.”


California’s educational leaders note the unique nature of the arts education forum. “In 41 years of working in education, I have never seen an alignment like this," said Fresno County School Superintendent Larry Powell, an education reformer known for his strong advocacy of arts education.


The "CREATE" in "CREATE CA" ("Core Reforms Engaging Arts To Educate") describes the aim of this unique partnership to expand California's educational vision, policy, and practices to promote creativity, innovation, and economic development. The four key members of the effort are the California Arts Council, the California Department of Education, the California Alliance for Arts Education, and the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA).


The CREATE CA 2012 spring forum will take place at the Coronado School of the Arts. Superintendent Torlakson is slated to be a speaker, as is Dr. Sarah Cunningham, former Director of Education at the National Endowment for the Arts. More information is available at The forum is expected to start in the afternoon of March 30 until approximately 5pm, and the resume at 8:30 the morning of March 31 until approximately 4:30 pm. Members of the press interested in attending should contact Mary Beth Barber at 916-322-6588, for more information and a complete schedule.


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More Background

Policy leaders recognize that access to high-quality public schools and arts education varies, and that California faces unique challenges because of its diverse student population. Of the state's 6.25 million K-12 students, 1.5 million are English language learners; 678,000 receive special-education services; and 3.25 million receive free or partially subsidized lunches. Nearly two-thirds of California's K-12 students attend schools where arts education has declined in the classroom. Recent national studies have noted a 49% decline in arts education for African Americans and a 40% decline for Latino students.


To reverse this trend, leaders in California are working together to build public will, impact public policy, and design innovative approaches for funding and stability for arts education. The group's core beliefs include recognition that all students need access to the arts and innovative learning strategies to prepare themselves for high school graduation, college and post-high school learning, and successful careers.


More information is available through press releases and blogs concerning the first CREATE CA meeting as well as the Education Leaders Institute from the NEA.

·         ELI 2011 press release: 

·         CREATE CA/CREATE the STATE Oct 2011 press release:  

·         Blog on CREATE CA through NEA:

·         Coronado Patch article:  

The consortium of leaders and stakeholders was brought together through the Education Leaders Institute 2011, a program initiated by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The first meeting for the CREATE CA stakeholders took place at Loyola Marymount University in October, 2011, and was sponsored by Loyola Marymount, the Fresno County Department of Education, The Boeing Corporation, the California Arts Council and the California Department of Education.


About the Arts Education Task Force

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has partnered with a broad-based statewide coalition of agencies and organizational partners on an education reform movement, CREATE (Core Reforms Engaging Arts to Educate) CA, that views arts education as an essential part of the solution to the problems facing California schools.

In order to advance this effort, Superintendent Torlakson has appointed an arts education task force to draft a set of recommendations for him which will be included in a new publication: A Blueprint for Creative Schools: How the Arts and Creative Education Can Transform California's Classrooms. This effort builds on Superintendent Torlakson's Transition Advisory Team report, A Blueprint for Great Schools ( ).

This task force effort will begin at the next CREATE CA forum at the Coronado School for the Arts on March 30-31, 2012.

The California Department of Education (CDE) is joined in CREATE CA by the California Arts Council (CAC), the California Alliance for Arts Education (CAAE), the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA), and many other groups statewide. It was inspired and launched through our state's participation in the National Endowment for the Arts' Education Leaders Institute (ELI), which awarded California (through the CAC) one of five grants nationwide to attend an ELI convening in Chicago in May 2011.

The California delegation's ELI leadership team, comprised of representatives of the CAC, CDE, CCSESA, community, and industry returned from this rich and highly focused meeting to set in motion a series of forums, panels, and conversations to advance an arts education reform agenda.

These efforts are guided by the California Challenge identified by the ELI team:

Ensure each student reaches his or her full potential
by broadening California's educational vision, policy, and practices
to promote innovation, economic development, and creativity.

The Task Force is expected to consider the following policy areas:

  • Curriculum and Assessment
  • Educator Quality and Professional Preparation
  • Equity and Access
  • Policy and Politics
  • Research and Evidence Building
  • Role of Business and Industry in Building the Creative Workforce
  • School Finance and Sustainability
  • Strengthening Collaborative Relationships
  • Teacher and School Development

For more information about this subject, please contact Craig Cheslog, Principal Advisor to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, by phone at 916-319-0554 or by e-mail at


State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson's
Blueprint for Creative Schools Task Force

Co-Chair: Craig Cheslog, Principal Advisor to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, California Department of Education

Co-Chair: Malissa Feruzzi-Shriver, Chair, California Arts Council

  • Wylie Aitken, Founding Partner, Aitken-Aitken-Cohn
  • Kristine Alexander, Executive Director, The California Arts Project
  • Sarah Anderberg, Director, California County Superintendents
  • Educational Services Association Statewide Arts Initiative
  • Jessica Bianchi, Art Therapist, Aviva Family and Children's Services
  • Joni Binder Shwarts, President, Modern Art Council, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • Anne Bown-Crawford, Director, Arcata Arts Institute
  • William Bronston, Chief Executive Officer, Sacramento Sierra Digital Arts Studio Partnership
  • Liane Brouillette, Associate Professor, University of California, Irvine
  • Robert Bullwinkel, Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator, Fresno County Office of Education
  • James Catterall, Principal Investigator, Center for Research on Creativity at CalArts
  • William Cirone, Superintendent, Santa Barbara County Office of Education
  • Rosette Costello, Principal, Peralta Elementary School
  • Sarah Cunningham, Executive Director of Research, Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts
  • Heather DiMaggio, Teacher, James Madison Elementary School
  • John Eger, Professor, University of California, San Diego
  • Kaileena Flores-Emnace, Gallery Educator, Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Julie Fry, Program Officer, Performing Arts, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • Mary Galuska, Co-Chairman, Special Committee for Arts Education, California State PTA
  • Benjamin Gertner, Principal, School of Communications, New Media and Technology (Roosevelt High School)
  • Kristen Greer-Paglia, Executive Director of Education and Programs, PS Arts
  • Shana Habel, Past President, California Dance Education Association
  • Brenda Harris, Education Programs Consultant, California Department of Education
  • Donn Harris, Executive and Artistic Director, Oakland School for the Arts
  • Sharon Herpin, Senior Research Associate, WestEd
  • Frank Heuser, Associate Professor of Music Education, UCLA
  • Ronald Jessee, Coordinator, Visual and Performing Arts Department, San Diego County Office of Education
  • Gai Jones, California Educational Theatre Association (CETA)
  • Amarpal Khanna, Director of Visual and Performing Arts, ICEF Public Schools
  • Sabrina Klein, Executive Director, Teaching Artists Organized (TAO)
  • Allison Kleinsteuber, Visual Art Educator, Golden West High School
  • Susan Lafferty, Director of Education, The Huntington Library
  • Joe Landon, Executive Director, California Alliance for Arts Education
  • Terry Lenihan, Associate Professor in Art Education, Director of Teacher Preparation of Art, Loyola Marymount University
  • Robert Lenz, Chief Executive Officer, Envision Schools of California
  • Tami Lincoln, President, California Art Education Association (CAEA)
  • Robin Lithgow, Administrative Coordinator, Arts Education Branch, Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Julia Marshall, Professor, Art Department, San Francisco State University
  • Robin Mencher, Director, Education & Media Learning, KQED
  • Jack Mitchell, Secondary Arts Consultant, California Department of Education
  • Sarah Murr, Community Investor, Arts & Culture, The Boeing Company
  • Louise Music, Visual & Performing Arts Learning Coordinator, Alameda County Office of Education
  • Chike Nwoffiah, Executive Director, Oriki Theater
  • Dain Olsen, Co-Founder/Instructor in Media Arts, ArtLAB High School
  • Adam Philipson, Managing Director, Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center
  • Janice Pober, Senior Vice President Global Corporate Social Responsibility, SONY Pictures Entertainment
  • Larry Powell, Superintendent, Fresno County Office of Education
  • Travis Preston, Dean, School of Theater, California Institute of the Arts
  • Susan Raudry, Principal, Accelerated Charter Elementary School (ACES)
  • Kim Richards, Principal, KDR PR
  • David Sears, Senior Director of Education, The Grammy Foundation
  • Stacey Shelnut-Hendrick , Director of Education, Crocker Art Museum
  • Raymond Shields, General Manager, Social Enterprise Division, Watts Labor Community Action Committee
  • Amy Shimson-Santo, Lecturer and Visiting Scholar, University of California, Irvine
  • Mark Slavkin, Vice President for Education, Music Center: Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County
  • Kimber Smith, Director, Blacksmith Creative
  • Russell Sperling, President-Elect, California Association for Music Education (CMEA)
  • Mary Stone Hanley, Assistant Professor, George Mason University
  • Craig Watson, Director, California Arts Council
  • Ann Wettrich, Adjunct Faculty, California College of the Arts
  • Lauren Widney, Education and Community Program Manager, San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory
  • Shannon Wilkins, Consultant in Charge of Educational Leadership and Visual and Performing Arts, Los Angeles County Office of Education

The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the Arts and Creativity. Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, Vice Chair William Turner, Wylie Aitken, Michael Alexander, Andrew Green, Adam Hubbard, Charmaine Jefferson, Terry Lenihan, Susan Steinhauser, and Rosalind Wyman.

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