Hello to new and loyal followers! Starting Arts  is excited to announce a new and exciting fundraiser: we will be having, a Dance-A-Thon on November 2nd! That’s right, kids of all ages can come get their groove on as well as learn new dance techniques from talented and professional instructors. From 9am-5pm in our studios, we will have non-stop entertainment for dancers AND spectators! Dance to live bands and DJs throughout the day…plus BIG prizes and yummy snacks to keep you dancing. Think of it as a cross between a Gilmore Girls episode (see video below) and a walk-a-thon, how could it get better? Believe it or not it does! With surprises throughout the entire event you’ll wish you were dancing into the night! Register now and start fundraising!

Register Now!

Dreaming in Rhythm

JohnKlossJohn Kloss shared his amazing tapping talent with the audience as a guest performer this past Saturday during Bright Lights Big Dreams, Bay Area Youth Talent Search. John was thrilled to be involved with the event as he works with his own non-proft organization Stepology working to “enhance the understanding and appreciation of tap”.

John is also working on another big project that you can help with. Dreaming in Rhythm is a an “all or nothing” campaign fundraiser through USA Projects. The goal is to raise $12,199 by March 3 to “cover bare-bones expenses for artist/creator/performers, sets/supplies, lighting/audio equipment, and costumes.” Dreaming in Rhythm premieres August 17, 2013 in San Francisco at the Marines’ Memorial Theatre in conjunction with the annual Bay Area Tap Festival. Visit the site to donate now.

Here is a video with John explaining the event himself. JKloss_DreamingRhythm_video

Way behind the scenes with Robyn Winslow

317263_10151282590027718_59150639_nWe have an elf at Starting Arts. Actually a team of elves! Our scene shop has been buzzing recently with set builds for Fame and Alice and Wonderland. Once Mike Wozniak flexes his set construction muscles prepping the “canvases”, Robyn Winslow shows off her amazing talents making brick textures, topiaries and silvery moons that take you from a theatre in San Jose to Wonderland, a New York High School and beyond.

Take a peek at the gallery below and if you’d like to see these sets in person, check out the Upcoming Shows page for ticket information and show details. Two shows are happening this week!


Presented by Burnett Middle School
850 North 2nd Street in San Jose
December 6 & 7 at 6:30 pm


Presented by James Franklin Smith Elementary School
2220 Woodbury Lane in San Jose
December 6, 7  at 6:30 pm and Dec 8 at 1:30 and 6:30.


MarCom Awards

Starting Arts, in partnership with Dawnrunner Productions, is happy to announce that the following projects received the prestigious MarCom Awards!

Gold Award

The Arts: Brings Kids Back to Life– Starting Arts Education Commercial

Honorable Mention

The Darkest Matter– Official Movie Trailer from our summer film camp

What are the MarCom Awards?

The MarCom Awards is an internationally creative competition that recognizes outstanding achievement by marketing and communication professionals.  Entries come from corporate marketing and communication departments, advertising agencies, PR firms, design shops, production companies and freelancers.  The competition has grown to perhaps the largest of its kind in the world.  A look at the winners shows a range in size from individual communicators to media conglomerates and Fortune 500 companies.  The competition is so well respected in the industry that national public relations organizations, local ad clubs, and local business communicator chapters are entrants.

From all of us at Starting Arts and Dawnrunner Production– we are very excited to be able to share this news, and are proud to be ranked among the prestigious and distinguished fellow MarCom winners!

Take a peek at the winning projects…

School Board Candidate Voter Guide

At Starting Arts we want to provide up to date information on arts education in the community. The California Alliance for Arts Education has conducted a School Board Candidate Voter Guide on arts education. This is a great opportunity for you to see if your local candidates support arts education.

– Ann Watts
Executive Director, Starting Arts

Thanks to the hard work of our network of local advocates and partner organizations, the California Alliance for Arts Education is pleased to bring voters the information they need to identify candidates who will stand up for arts education. Local school board candidates were invited to respond to four questions about funding, policy and their personal experience with the arts. Scroll down this page to read the responses we received from candidates in over sixty local races. To learn more about the project, click here. Read, share, vote!

11/06/12: Alameda Unified School District

11/06/12: Albany Unified School District

11/06/12: Alum Rock Union Elementary School District

11/06/12: Anaheim City School District

11/06/12: Anaheim Union High School District

11/06/12: Berkeley Unified School District

11/06/12: Cambrian School District

11/06/12: Campbell Union High School District

11/06/12: Capistrano Unified School District

11/06/12: Capitola City Council

11/06/12: Castro Valley Unified School District

11/06/12: Centralia School District

11/06/12: Cypress School District

11/06/12: Dublin Unified School District

11/06/12: East Side Union High School District

11/06/12: Escondido Union School District

11/06/12: Fountain Valley School District

11/06/12: Franklin-McKinley School District

11/06/12: Fremont Unified School District

11/06/12: Fresno Unified School District, Area 2

11/06/12: Fresno Unified School District, Area 6

11/06/12: Fullerton Joint Union, High School District

11/06/12: Garden Grove Unified School District

11/06/12: Grossmont Union High School District

11/06/12: Hayward Unified School District

11/06/12: Huntington Beach City School District

11/06/12: Huntington Beach Union, High School District

11/06/12: Irvine Unified School District

11/06/12: La Habra City School District

11/06/12: La Mesa Spring Valley School District

11/06/12: Laguna Beach Unified School District

11/06/12: Los Gatos Saratoga Joint Union High School District

11/06/12: Lowell Joint School District

11/06/12: Magnolia Elementary School District

11/06/12: Manchester Union Elementary School District

11/06/12: Milpitas Unified School District

11/06/12: Moreland Elementary School District

11/06/12: Mountain View Whisman School District

11/06/12: New Haven Unified School District

11/06/12: Oakland Unified School District 3

11/06/12: Oakland Unified School District 5

11/06/12: Oakland Unified School District 7

11/06/12: Ocean View School District

11/06/12: Orange Unified School District

11/06/12: Pajaro Valley Unified School District, Area 6

11/06/12: Saddleback Valley Unified School District

11/06/12: San Diego Unified School District

11/06/12: San Jose Unified School District

11/06/12: San Lorenzo Unified School District

11/06/12: San Marcos Unified School District

11/06/12: Santa Ana Unified School District

11/06/12: Santa Clara Unified School District

11/06/12: Santa Cruz City Council

11/06/12: Santa Cruz City School District, Area 1

11/06/12: Santa Cruz County Supervisor

11/06/12: Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District

11/06/12: Scotts Valley Unified School District

11/06/12: State Assembly District 11

11/06/12: State Assembly District 13

11/06/12: State Assembly District 15

11/06/12: State Assembly District 20

11/06/12: State Senate District 1

11/06/12: State Senate District 13

11/06/12: State Senate District 19

11/06/12: State Senate District 23

11/06/12: State Senate District 25

11/06/12: State Senate District 27

11/06/12: State Senate District 33

11/06/12: State Senate District 9

11/06/12: Sweetwater Union High School District, Seat 2

11/06/12: Sweetwater Union High School District, Seat 4

11/06/12: Tustin Unified School District

11/06/12: Union Elementary School District

11/06/12: Westminster School District

Reality shows aren’t all bad! (Warning – Scary Images)

I have been excited for a show called Halloween Wars on Food Network, where a cake designer, sculptor, and sugar artist team up to compete for a $50,000 prize. I will admit that my interest is heightened by the fact that an old high school friend of mine and amazing sculpture artist, Andy Bergholtz, is in the competition and is getting to show his very awesome talent on a national stage!

In my opinion, I think these reality shows are amazing advocacy tools. The artists featured in them are often struggling to receive recognition for their amazing talents, and showing them competing together is true entertainment! With the proliferation of singing competitions, dancing competitions, and even the megahit sitcom like Glee, the Arts are finally in a position of mass appeal equal to or possibly surpassing dating and physical competition shows, a real triumph!

If you haven’t already checked out the shows below, make an effort to set your DVR or even try to grab episodes from the internet. More than likely you’ve heard of a few of them, but perhaps some will be a new and welcomed discovery.


American Idol on Fox
The Voice on NBC
Sing Off on NBC


Hot Set on SyFy
Face Off  on SyFy

Visual Arts

Project Runway on Lifetime
Halloween Wars on Food Network
Fashion Star on NBC


Dancing with the Stars on ABC
So You Think You Can Dance on Fox

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Preparing Kids for Live Arts Events

When I was in 6th grade, my school took a field trip to the Center for Performing Arts in downtown San Jose to see a performance. I remember feeling like this was the first time I had truly been given the responsibility of being a respectful audience member; I was expected to know better than to talk or eat or put my feet up on the chair in front of me during a performance. And something as simple as knowing when to clap went a long way. I was in a row full of middle school kids, so if you clapped when nobody else in the audience was clapping, it brought on a chorus of laughter at your expense. Luckily, my parents had been taking me to theater productions, concerts, The Nutcracker, and other live events for years. I knew what to expect and what was expected of me and that made me feel proud.

Live arts events can be a really positive experience for kids. When a child knows how to behave and what to expect it takes away the child’s anxiety about trying something new and let’s them soak up the culture in a carefree and exciting way; it makes the experience more enjoyable for the child, the parent, and the stranger sitting next to them who paid $100 for his seat and doesn’t want to be distracted by a texting 12 year old.

If you’re nervous about taking your child to their first live arts event, The Kennedy Center has put together some great tips on what to do before, during, and after the event that will make it a well-rounded, enriching experience.

Advice for First-Time Theater Goers

A Parents’ Field Guide to Museums

A Parents’ Field Guide to the Ballet

A Parents’ Field Guide to the Symphony

Arts Encourage Positive Behaviors and Characteristics

Parenting can be a very dynamic task filled with copious amounts of problem solving, care taking, reflection, trial and error and most of all, lots and lots of social modeling. Most desire well-adjusted, positive children who can communicate, cooperate, and create. Certain positive behaviors are difficult for parents to foster alone. Interactions outside of the home with role models, educators, coaches, and peers are just as influential (or sometimes more influential) than parents. Enter the Arts… Dance, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts can provide a rich source for parents to foster positive behaviors and characteristics.

These include but are not limited to: Pride, Focus, Finesse, Passion, Dexterity, Tolerance, Inspiration, Confidence, Commitment, Spatial Acuity, Physical Health, Improved Memory, Collaborative Skills, Healthy Risk-Taking, Problem-Solving Abilities, and Communication Proficiency.

Related Sources worth investigating more:

10 Lessons the Arts Teach from the National Art Education Association.

10 Ways Art is Fundamental to Education by Jen Van’t Hul of The Artful Parent. Article on page 39.

Do Schools Kill Creativity?

As educators and parents we are all deeply concerned about the state of our educational systems. Huge funding cuts, elimination of the arts, increase in furlough days, ever burgeoning number of students per class and the list goes on.

Where do we start? How can we help our children? I want to share a terrific video by Sir Ken Robinson on YouTube that is both educational and humorous. He asks the question: Do Schools Kill Creativity?

I believe Robinson makes several strong points:

1.    Creativity is needed to prepare our children for a future society that we don’t even know and can’t predict.

2.    All students have talent. As educators it is our responsibility to help them discover it.

3.    Creativity is as important in education as literacy.

4.    You must be prepared to make mistakes or you will not be able to come up with anything original.

Arts education is the gateway for children to keep their creativity alive and well. Arts education provides children with the tools to prepare themselves to be successful in an unknown future.

Ann Watts,
SA Executive Director

VA Friday – Spaces for Encouraging Creativity

One key to encouraging creativity with kids (and adults) is to provide an accessible, welcoming place for creativity. This is easier said than done when space is limited, or there is no good place for “messes” to happen aside from the kitchen. Here are a few ideas to create this type of environment in your home.

Have a Multi-Functional Table

Having a table that is easily cleanable, that you don’t mind getting stained or damaged, and that has functionality is important for a creative space. The Norberg drop leaf table at IKEA is quite possibly the best option for a creative table if floor space is limited. The fold-away feature also allows space for other Arts activities like dancing, acting, and playing instruments or making music.

Norberg Table in action in a creative play space.

Organize art supplies

Sort material by type in to bins, cups and/or pockets . Recycling or re-purposing is always a great option to save money and be green.

Can Organizer: from HGTV

Shoe Organizer for Art Supplies

Facilitate and Guide

And finally, don’t be shy about your reluctance to create. Most of the time, kids will create on their own, and the adult just needs to provide supervision, materials, and encouragement.  Read more about facilitating creativity in this fabulous post by TinkerLab with 50 tips on making art with children. This post is a wonderful collection of answers from parents and experts to the following questions:

1) What do you wish you had known about making art with children?

2) What tips do you have for parents who are just starting out?

While you’re at it, learn more about Rachelle and gather more great advice on TinkerLab.

%d bloggers like this: