The first meeting of the Windsor Arts Now Community took place on May 15 at the Windsor High School Library. Windsor High School teacher Allison Frenzel and Windsor Unified School District Trustee Bill Adams discussed the definition of arts education and the goals of the Arts Now Community. Ashley Holmberg shared a synopsis of the April 19 Kick-off Breakfast.

The discussion at the breakfast centered around two questions: Why are the arts important for all students in Windsor at every step throughout their school journey and how can we work together (community members, arts organizations, schools, parents and students) toward comprehensive, continual and sustainable arts education for our students?

The group present at the breakfast determined that the arts are crucial for all students in Windsor at every step of their academic journey because they “provide a creative platform that builds support and confidence by expanding transferable skills and promoting inclusion, diversity and community through creativity.”

They also believe that “as a community, we work together to play an active role in creating a comprehensive, continual and sustainable arts culture for young people” and that the Arts Now Community can “reinforce creativity by leveraging community resources like local government, businesses, organizations, artists, musicians, teachers, parents and students - all unified to create a cultural shift that emphasizes and honors the importance of arts integration by fostering opportunities to learn in a creative, innovative, inclusive and progressive environment.”

The primary goal of Arts Now is to change the conversation around the arts in the school environment. “The arts is not one more thing to do,” the group said in a statement.  “It's not even just enrichment. It is the incorporation of the arts into curriculum that teaches two things at once and actually makes efficient use of time. It’s intervention. It’s 21st century skills.”

The group also outlined the importance of making “art allies” in the community and creating good lines of communication between the school and the community. They also pondered the value of a district-wide professional development art day.

Committees were formed in the areas of mission, communication and planning. Attendees at this meeting included: Robert (Bob) Bullwinkel, Big Idea Consulting; Lauren Kushins, Art and Soul Music; Ray Gargano, Luther Burbank Center; Olivia Lemen, Town of Windsor; Brian Williams, Principal, Windsor Middle School; Grace Curtin, VP, Windsor High School; Courtney Rohan, Teacher, Windsor High School; Ashley Holmberg, Violinist and Arts Advocate; Donna Hartline, Teacher, Mattie Washburn Elementary School; Heather Cullen, Windsor Performing Arts Academy and WUSD teacher; Allison Frenzel, Teacher, Windsor High School; Bill Adams, WUSD School Board Trustee; Joella Olsen, Music Volunteer; Tamah Hulett, Band Instructor, Cali Calmecac Language Academy; Steve Jorgensen, WUSD Superintendent; Eric Heitz, WUSD School Board Trustee; Julian Cohen, Town of Windsor Public Arts Advisory Committee; Heidi Aarts Michels, Teacher, Windsor Creek and Esther Lemus, WUSD School Board President.

The next meeting of the Windsor Arts Now Community is Thursday, June 15, 4:30 p.m. at the Windsor Unified School District Office, 9291 Old Redwood Highway, Building 500.

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