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Maureen Johannigman

Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child

by Maureen Johannigman Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hi! My name is Maureen Johannigman and I am excited to be the guest blogger for the Bolz Center Blog this entry! With just one semester completed, I already feel that my capacity to analyze and provide recommendations to a wide variety of business situations, both for-profit and non, has vastly expanded. This is exactly what I wanted from my MBA experience and I could not be happier with my decision to leave the nonprofit arts world to return to graduate school.  With the completion of my MBA, I hope to be working with organizations to ensure resources are being used most effectively and are making the greatest possible impact on the communities they serve.

One way that I have a chance to actually do this while in school is through the exceptional applied learning opportunities, specifically the project assistantship, which all Bolz students are ensured. Through a joint partnership between the Overture Center for the Arts, the City of Madison Arts Commission, and the Madison Metropolitan School District, I serve as the Program Assistant for Any Given Child Madison, an initiative of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The primary goal of the Kennedy Center's Any Given Child program is to assist Madison in developing a plan for expanded arts education during the school day to ensure access and equity for all students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Under the guidance and expertise of the Kennedy Center’s Education Department staff and consultants, the first year of the project focuses on collecting data to analyze the current access and equality of arts education in the Madison public schools in order to make informed decisions in the years to come. In my position, I support the efforts of the Community Arts Team, comprised of representatives from various arts and community organizations and local businesses, as well as philanthropists and local elected officials. I have created a series of surveys, directed the communication efforts, and presented the findings to the Community Arts Team and the Kennedy Center consultants. This information will be used then to develop a plan that specifically addresses Madison’s barriers to serving all students equally, and this plan will be implemented throughout the next three years.

I have found the project to be incredibly rewarding so far. Being new to Madison, I have had the chance to get to know this city on a much deeper level from my first days on campus. I have had the chance to get to know this city’s arts partners and education landscape and to understand each organization’s perspective in this large city-wide initiative. This has allowed me to successfully act as an intermediary and to make specific changes that ensure that Any Given Child can fulfill many of stakeholder’s issues and support the future of Madison’s children. I have also been able to put my new skills, like data analysis and strategy, which I have gained in school, to work immediately. Being able to be a part of a project that is hopefully going to make a difference in the lives of thousands of students is exactly they way I want to combine my business acumen with passion for making an impact.

As U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “The arts significantly boost student achievement, reduce discipline problems, and increase the odds students will go on to graduate from college." As First Lady Michelle Obama sums up, both she and the President believe "strongly that arts education is essential for building innovative thinkers who will be our nation’s leaders for tomorrow.” I am so honored to be able to help “Ensure the Arts for Any Given Child” during my time here in Madison.