April 2020 Arts Initiative Newsletter

California County Superintendents Educational Services Association

Inside this issue:

We send our greetings to all of you during this challenging time. We hope you and your families are safe and healthy. In this newsletter we feature several resources that may be of assistance as so many people are engaging in online and home learning (scroll down).

Rural County Arts Leaders Convene Virtually on April 1st

Aaron Bryan Selected Administrator of the Year

Welcome Sofia Fojas – the New Coordinator for the Arts at the Santa Clara County Office of Education


Arts = Opportunity

Resources for Online and Home Learning

Rural County Arts Leaders Convene Virtually on April 1st

On April 1, 2020, CCSESA convened grant leads that have been part of the 2019-20 Rural County Arts Cohort. The purpose of the convening was to share work the participating county offices of education have been doing as part of their arts strategic plan and implementation efforts. These leaders came together to share information about their strategic goals, professional learning efforts, partnerships, and how they are moving forward to engage educators, students, and community members. Covering the expanse of California, these rural counties are mitigating barriers and challenges to better serve educators and students and to provide quality arts learning experiences. Peggy Burt and Jim Thomas (California Alliance for Arts Education), Dr. Merryl Goldberg (CSU San Marcos) and Sarah Anderberg and Patty Taylor (CCSESA) were also part of the virtual convening. Participating counties were: Amador COE, Butte COE, Humboldt COE, Imperial COE, Mariposa COE, Mono COE, Nevada COE, and Tulare COE. Hats off to all the counties that participated in this cohort that was supported by a grant from the Stuart Foundation.

Aaron Bryan Selected Administrator of the Year – 2020 Pillar Award

Aaron Bryan

Aaron Bryan was selected as Administrator of the Year by Fresno County Superintendent of Schools (FCSS). He serves as Arts Manager for the office of the FCSS and also serves as Co-Lead for Region 7 as part of the CCSESA Arts Initiative and the CISC Arts Subcommittee. As described by the FCSS, “Aaron is unfailing both personable and professional in all of his interactions with colleagues, the districts, and the public. In addition to his technical expertise in teaching the arts to students and teachers, he excels in his interpersonal skills. He is always, kind, always accessible, and never leaves a room without  making sure everyone is belly laughing. Not only does he run a top notch department and has a growing fan base of teachers and administrators across Fresno County, he has established his reputation among arts educators and advocates across the state and with very influential funders. Every summer, Aaron leads two outstanding programs, the Fresno County Youth Choir and the Stages Theatre program. Aaron guides and inspires students to be the “next generation” of professional artists.” Please join us in congratulating Aaron!

Please also see a new public service announcement featuring Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, Jim Yovino. Click here to to view the PSA.

Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Jim Yovino

Welcome the New Coordinator for the Arts at the Santa Clara County Office of Education

Sofia Fojas

Sofia Fojas is a leader for cultural equity and social justice in the arts and is the new Coordinator for Arts for the Santa Clara County Office of Education in San Jose. She was born in Honolulu and grew up in San Jose as a child of immigrants. A classroom music teacher and high school music director for 20 years, she taught orchestra, band, IB Music, and mariachi. In the last 6 years, she has served as a district arts leader in San Francisco and Elk Grove school districts. Ms. Fojas started her musical career as a violinist in the pit orchestra of the San Jose Children’s Musical Theater and continues to play violin and viola with SF Bay Area choirs and orchestras. Ms. Fojas is also a member-at-large on the Board of Trustees for the National Guild for Community Arts. Please join us in welcoming Sofia in her new role. Sofia will serve as CCSESA Region 5 Arts Lead for the CCSESA Statewide Arts Initiative (serving Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, and San Benito counties) as a member of the CISC Arts Subcommittee.


The CREATE CA web page is up: CREATE AT HOME. This new web page, #CreateAtHome is here! In line with the CREATE CA public will campaign, CREATE CA has developed a page on its website to bring you and yours some of the best free resources to create at home. Split into six categories, the resource include some of the most engaging collections and activities, so that the public, especially parents have resources easily accessible. Check it out! Every week, CREATE CA will add a few more resources and highlight favorites on createca.org and on social media. Make sure to share your own with #CreateAtHome!  


The mission of ART=OPPORTUNITY is to ensure that every child has access to learn in, with and through the arts. They do this by providing various resources throughout the year such as free access to research that supports arts education, leadership training, literacy residencies, summits, workshops, and so much more! 

Take a look at the research-based and open source “Why Art” cards are in English and in Spanish. They are updated twice a year with current vetted research citations. ARTOPP can customize the cards for your organization! The work of ARTOPP (our nickname), centers on 4 major initiatives: Literacy residency, Research, Arts Integration and Literacy PD Bootcamps, and Creative Youth Development. Please explore the website for downloadable cards, posters, and ideas as well as see exciting videos of work in the community.

UCLArts & Healing – HOPE
(Healing Online for People Everywhere)

UCLArts & Healing is offering a free, online series called HOPE (Healing Online for People Everywhere) to enable our global community to build resilience through the arts over the next few months. Please share this remarkable opportunity with those you serve. 

From balcony singing in Italy and China to my neighbors coalescing in their own driveways to celebrate birthdays on the block with musical instruments and other noisemakers, many of us have learned firsthand—in these past few weeks—just how vital the arts are for connection and resilience. In light of this, we will also be offering inaugural online versions of our popular training in Social Emotional Arts on a Shoestring as well as our popular workshop on Creative Rituals for Processing Grief and Celebrating Life. Stay tuned.

Ping Ho shares “As the grandparent of two young children sheltering with us at home during this time of upheaval, I can imagine what many families are going through. It takes four adults on rotation in our home to take care of two children, feed the family, and enable each adult to work. There are times when it seems as if our granddaughters’ singular goal is to get under one another’s skin. Thankfully, I have found that pushing and shoving can become hugging and loving when making art together for one another.”

Announcing Two New CCSESA Arts Posters

We join communities across CA in celebrating the importance of arts education. As county offices, school districts, community arts organizations spotlight the importance of arts learning for California’s diverse students we ask you to join in the movement to increase access to the arts. Help us in advocating for arts education for every child in every school in California! To view and/or download two new CCSESA Arts advocacy posters use the two links below:

Poster #1 click here                        Poster #2: click here

These posters point to the importance of the new California Arts Standards – see language on the back of each poster.

Workshops & Convenings

Please note that while many of the listed events and professional learning opportunities are cancelled, some are currently still open for registration while organizers monitor current health announcements.

April 30, 2020
Creative Education Zoom Symposium ONLINE
Humboldt County Office of Education

June 15-18, 2020
Social Emotional Learning for the Creative Teacher
Fresno County Superintendent of Schools – Fresno, CA

September 9-10, 2020 * * SAVE THE DATE
2020 Art Education Partnership Annual Convening
San Diego, CA

September 29, 2020 (date change from March 31)
ArtsLift Conference 2020
UCR Arts – Riverside, CA

June 16-17, 2021 (date change from 2020)
Eastern Sierra Summer Arts Institute
Cerro Coso Community College – Ridgecrest, CA

CCSESA Regional and County Arts Leads

To Contact our Regional and County Arts Leads, click here.
To find out more about the CCSESA Statewide Arts Initiative, click here.

Resource Links

The following resources may be helpful for educators, parents, and community members during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Arts Lessons – CCSESA Statewide Arts Initiative

Arts Resources for Educators compiled by County and Regional Arts Leads

Arts Standards Webinar Series

CCSESA Letters of recommendation relating to COVID-19

Create at Home (see above article for more details)

Creativity at the Core Online Resources

Kennedy Center ArtsEdge Resources

The Kennedy Center: Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems; Tour the Kennedy Center with The Pigeon

Kid’s Guide to the New Virus

The Smithsonian: Free Smithsonian STEM Games and Simulations; Meet the Animals of the National Zoo; 3D Exhibits and Virtual Tours; Smithsonian Magazine Ten Museums You Can Virtually Visit; The Museum of Natural History Virtual Tour; Digital Smithsonian American Art Museum; Distance Learning Resources

Supporting Children’s Emotional Wellbeing

US Department of Education Coronavirus Site

WESTAF: An online searchable database of public art installed in collections across the United States

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