Author: Kimberly Olsen

The Roundtable Announces “Empire State Creates: Teaching Artist-Led Activities for Everyone” Grant Opportunity funded by New York State Council on the Arts

Text in white against a royal blue background reads, "Empire State Creates: Teaching Artist-Led Activities for Everyone. $1500 Grants for the Creation of Asynchronous learning resources. Deadline to apply: May 21, 2021. Image also features the Roundtable and NYSCA logos.

CONTACT: Kimberly Olsen,

New York, NY – In partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts, the NYS Arts in Education Roundtable is proud to announce a new grant opportunity for teaching artists. “Empire State Creates: Teaching Artist-Led Activities for Everyone” is a pilot program seeking to support teaching artists and offer continued arts learning opportunities for New Yorkers of all ages through the development of asynchronous arts learning materials.

Empire State Creates will provide $1,500 grants to 15 independent New York State-based teaching artists to create 4-5 asynchronous arts learning resources for distribution in community settings including but not limited to students (3K – 12th grade), veterans, older adults (creative aging), people experiencing incarceration/Re-entry, people with disabilities, people from the LGBTQ+ Community, and multilingual learners. This project is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

“NYSCA is thrilled to partner with the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable to support both teaching artists and arts learners across New York. Teaching artists promote the power of arts to transform the mind and encourage lifelong learning,” said Mara Manus, NYSCA Executive Director. “This exciting opportunity will produce meaningful resources for asynchronous learning and aid teaching artists in their professional development after a tremendously challenging year.”

“We at the Roundtable believe Teaching artists are superheroes, with the unique power to facilitate arts experiences as both highly-specialized educators and artists,” says Kimberly Olsen, NYC Arts in Education Roundtable Executive Director. “We are thrilled to partner with NYSCA on this pilot project in hopes that we may further spotlight New York’s talented teaching artists and the vital services they provide in schools and communities.” 

These asynchronous arts learning materials may be video-based (no longer than 15 minutes each) or non-video based activities that connect to New York State Arts Learning Standards. Priority in selection will be given to content that embodies or is aligned with culturally responsive-sustaining pedagogy and social-emotional learning. Teaching artists are encouraged to watch a recording of the Empire State Creates Information Session, which took place on Wednesday, April 28 at 5pm.

Click here for PDF version of this press release.

About the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable
The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable improves, advances, and advocates for arts education in New York City. NYCAIER is a community of cultural organizations and educators that shares resources, provides professional development, and advocates for the needs of our constituents and the communities they serve. Founded in 1992, NYCAIER builds our efforts around the value that arts education is a right for all NYC students. NYCAIER produces a major annual arts in education conference, Face to Face; monthly professional development programs;  in addition to ongoing advocacy and communications efforts for cultural organizations and teaching artists in every discipline. For more information please visit:

About the New York State Council on the Arts
The New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) is dedicated to preserving and expanding the rich and diverse cultural resources that are and will become the heritage of New York’s citizens.

At NYSCA, our efforts are guided by our belief in the fundamental importance of arts and cultural expression in people’s lives and a commitment to serving our three constituencies: artists, arts and cultural organizations, and the public. We believe that:

Artists are at the center of creative endeavor. Therefore, we are committed to providing artists with opportunities for artistic development and the public presentation of their work.

Strong arts and cultural organizations are vital to connecting the arts to people’s lives. We are committed to assisting a wide range of arts and cultural organizations – small and large, new and established – to achieve their artistic, programmatic, educational, community, and organizational goals.

Every citizen of New York State can have a meaningful connection to creativity and every community has a right to cultural self-determination. The Council is also committed to making the arts accessible to all the citizens of New York State. We aim to support worthy artistic and cultural activities that serve traditionally underserved communities or populations. These are the economically disadvantaged, people with disabilities, rural populations, and those who may experience discrimination on the basis of age, gender, ethnicity, culture, or sexual orientation. We are committed to fostering public understanding and enjoyment of arts and culture through support of arts education, public participation, and lifelong learning programs in schools and community settings for children and adults.

For more information please visit:



Published April 13, 2021

Press Release from:



NEW YORK, NY 10007


NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter and Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) Commissioner Bill Chong today announced Summer Rising, the City’s free, summer plan for any child in grades K-12 who wants to participate. For the first time ever, the City will use the Community Schools strategy to integrate the New York City Department of Education’s (NYCDOE’s) academic supports and DYCD’s school-based enrichment programming to create a comprehensive summer program during the most critical summer for New York City students. Summer Rising will be student-centered, experiential, academically rigorous and culturally responsive and sustaining.        

Applications for in-person K-8 programs will open on Monday, April 26, and families can sign up through the discover DYCD website. Kindergarten and elementary school students will participate in a five-day a week program for seven weeks, providing critical childcare services for families as they return to the workplace. Students with 12-month IEPs will participate in a five-day a week program for six weeks. Middle school students will participate in a four-day a week program for six weeks, and high school students will participate in a five week program with tailored scheduling to meet their needs. In addition, high school students will have the opportunity to engage in the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) and participate in the Public Schools Athletic League. Schools will begin outreach to families of high school students in the coming weeks to confirm participation. Students attending for promotion purposes will be in the same program as students participating for enrichment.  

“Our kids have been through so much, and they need our support as we build a recovery for all of us,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This is a free program for all New York City students, combining academics and cultural enrichment for the best summer yet.”  

“This summer is pivotal for our school communities, and we have created a summer experience unlike anything we have ever done before to bring our students back stronger than ever. Summer Rising will be a holistic experience that combines the power of strong academic supports, social emotional learning and enrichment programming,” said Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter. “Through this innovative partnership with DYCD and our trusted community partners, and thanks to our heroic principals, teachers and staff, we’ll be able to serve any New York City student who wants to attend in-person so they can receive the comprehensive supports they need during this critical time.”  

“Summer Rising is truly the best of both worlds: bringing together for the first time the strengths of DYCD-funded summer enrichment initiatives and DOE’s academic programs into a singular experience for young people, particularly those from communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. DYCD and our network of community providers are excited to join DOE in keeping classrooms open this summer for safe learning, childcare, connection, and fun,” said DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong.    

Summer Rising will address immediate academic and social emotional needs of children and youth across the City. Planned and operated collaboratively by school principals and trusted community-based organizations (CBOs), programs for students in grades K-8 will be available citywide including tailored support for those who need academic support and students with disabilities. These programs will provide a bridge to next school year and allow students to re-connect with one another and with their schools, to ensure continued learning, and provide avenues for recreation, exploration, and fun. High school students will have access to academic and social emotional supports designed locally to meet the unique needs of older students.    

Summer locations will be available in every borough, with nearly half of all DOE school buildings serving students citywide. All programs will follow rigorous health and safety protocols and have access to testing, nursing support and a telehealth call center. In addition, Situation Room policies and protocols will be followed.    

All K-8 students participating in programs will have access to academic classes, enrichment programming including field trips, arts activities and outdoor recreation, and will engage in daily social emotional learning activities.      

All programs will be free, in-person, and run in four time frames:    

·       Students in grades K-5 will participate in summer programming from July 6 to August 20. Students will engage five days a week, receiving academic support, engaging in social emotional learning activities, and participating in enrichment programming.     

·       Students with 12-month IEP services will participate in summer programming from July 2 to August 13, five days a week. They will receive instruction and related services based on their IEPs, as well as enrichment programming.    

·       Students in grades 6-8 will participate in summer programming from July 6 to August 12. Students will engage four days a week, receiving academic support, engaging in social emotional learning activities, and participating in enrichment programming.    

·       Students in grades 9-12 who have a Course in Progress, or who need to retake a course they failed in a prior term, will participate in academic instruction from July 6 to August 13. High school students will also have the opportunity to accelerate learning, and access social emotional supports and arts programming. Similar to prior years, high school students will continue to have the opportunity to participate in the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).    

There will be remote programming available for interested families whose children are mandated for summer learning or have a 12-month IEP. Program offerings for high school students will depend on school community need and may include a mix of in-person and remote options.   

Consistent with years prior, schools will notify families by June if their student is required to participate in summer learning and will share additional details with families about how they can enroll. These students will participate together in the same Summer Rising programs as those students not mandated to attend.  

In line with previous policy and practice, grade promotion decisions are based on a holistic review of a student’s progress toward meeting the standards for their grade level. Teachers will review multiple pieces of student work in English language arts and math to make these decisions. State test scores will not be a factor in whether a student is promoted. If a school requires a student to attend summer learning, their promotion to the next grade is contingent on demonstrating sufficient progress in their summer learning.

“It is crucial that we connect every child from every zip code with summer enrichment programming that not only addresses COVID-19 academic setbacks, but that supports the whole child. Our children deserve summer programs that meet the needs of all students and that are centered on providing children and their families with wraparound support services including social and emotional supports and childcare, coupled with fun, active learning instruction emphasizing the arts, music, recreation, and field trips. Summer Rising will remove barriers to learning to enable meaningful connections, and an ability to meet the holistic needs of children and their families,” said Council Member Mark Treyger, Chair of the Committee on Education.  


COVID-19 Impact Survey: Help Us Advocate for Arts Education in NYC

Text: Arts Are Essential.

Published on April 5, 2021

As the main convening body for NYC’s arts in education community, the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable is committed to serving our membership and field at-large through advocacy with government officials and policymakers. To help us support the field of arts education in NYC, we kindly request member and non-members organizations complete our COVID-19 Impact Survey. Your response will help us:

  • Advocate for funding for arts education in the New York City FY 2022 budget;
  • Communicate with funders, City Council Members, and key stakeholders on the state of arts education in NYC;
  • Measure the impact of COVID-19 on the capacity of arts organizations to provide effective and meaningful arts education programming;
  • Provide transparency for the field via a comprehensive report to be released by Summer 2021.

Please submit ONE survey response per organization (your organization may remain anonymous). This survey should take approximately 30-35 minutes to complete. We recommend having the following information accessible when completing this survey:

  • Size of Teaching Artist Roster (2019-2020 & 2020-2021)
  • Estimated Number of Partner Schools (2020-2021)
  • Number of Students Served (2019-2020 & 2020-2021)
  • Funding Breakdown for Arts Education Programs (2019-2020 & 2020-2021)

Thank you for your time and consideration! Your responses are greatly valued and will help the Roundtable advocate for our field. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Kimberly Olsen at with any questions.

Please submit your survey response by Friday, April 23, 2021.

Create your own user feedback survey

Live Testimony to Committee on Education (March 23, 2021)

Several boys smiling and pointing to the sky

Published on March 23, 2021

An abbreviated version of the following testimony was delivered by Kimberly Olsen, Executive Director


Thank you Chair Treyger and the Committee on Education for your leadership and commitment to arts education. My name is Kimberly Olsen, and I come to you as the Executive Director of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable.

The Roundtable is a service organization who builds its efforts around the values that arts are essential and that arts education is a right for all NYC students. Our 120+ member organizations have worked in long-standing partnership with the DOE to ensure that every child has access to quality arts learning.

As our city begins to rebuild and envision a post-pandemic era, it’s imperative that we invest in arts education as part of the city’s recovery process. The long term impact of COVID-19 on students and schools will take years to understand. However, the trauma, systemic racism, and lost instructional times are stark realities that students now face every day as they enter the classroom. The need for investment and equity in arts education access comes when the need for arts in our schools has never been more clear.

Studies show that participation in arts education translate to the development of social-emotional learning skills, including self-management, self-discipline, and relationship building. Student participation in the arts also leads to higher levels of social tolerance and civic engagement.

Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, arts are listed as a core arts subject and a part of a well-rounded education. Even before the pandemic, principals consistently cited budget constraints as the chief obstacle to providing arts education at their schools. While schools receive Arts Supplemental Funding through Fair Student Funding each year (SCHOOL ALLOCATION MEMORANDUM NO. 02, FY 2021), as of 2007, principals are not required to spend these funds directly on arts education. Without targeted funding in place, many arts programs have remained bare bones or been eliminated entirely as more money is needed to make up for other budget shortfalls.

We understand the tremendous financial impact of COVID-19, yet the lack of investment in Arts Education has been recurrent. Prior to the pandemic, 67% of principals noted funding for the arts is generally insufficient according the Arts in Schools Report Raw Data. Now in the current school year:

  • 22% certified arts teachers are spending more than half their time teaching in other subject areas to accommodate remote learning
  • 70% of funding for arts education services has been cut, directly impacting arts partnerships that support Students with Disabilities and Multilingual Learners

New York City is missing the opportunity to invest in authentic ways to build long-term social emotional competencies of youth living through these traumatic times. The city is missing the chance to instill in our youth the power of imagination and creativity, which are needed in not only art-based professions but in a myriad of careers including engineers, educators, health care professionals, and computer software designers. And the NYC DOE is failing to engage community partners and teaching artists primed to expand student opportunity and advance equitable access to arts learning. 

New York City has a rich array of cultural resources, including cultural institutions and teaching artists that unfortunately only play an important role in the lives and education of some of our students. As students re-enter the school community, these 449+ organizations are ready to partner with schools to nurture the creation of a welcoming school environment where students can express themselves in a safe, positive way. Beyond budget implications, persistent payment delays and a current freeze on contract renewals are impeding program delivery, curriculum development, and professional development. Organizations that submitted MTAC contracts in 2019 are left in the dark about the status of their now-expiring contracts and grow increasingly concerned about the impact this will have on payment for services rendered. 

This school year, and every subsequent year, the arts will be key to re-igniting students’ learning in the post-COVID-19 era and preparing them for success and joy in a complicated 21st century world. With that in mind, we believe the city must:

  • Restore the 70% cut to arts education services, which directly supports partnerships between schools and cultural organizations;
  • Change the Arts Supplemental Funding thru Fair Student Funding SAM from a recommendation to a requirement;
  • Prioritize funding the Office of Arts & Special Projects Strategic Arts Plan to close the equity gap and address high-quality arts instruction for all students.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


My Dearest Arts Organization, Are You Listening?

NYC Arts in Education Roundtable logo in black and orange.

Published on March 23, 2021


Dear Friends,

This week GuildNotes published My Dearest Arts Organization, Are You Listening? a letter created by teaching artists to reflect on some of the challenges that they’ve faced during the multiple pandemics which have stricken the world.  The letter has been called a “breakup letter” because while teaching artists love the work, they often feel caught in a toxic relationship. In a time when equity and inclusion have become paramount, what does it mean when teaching artists want out of the field, when they are at the heart of the work?

We invite you to read the letter and consider:

  • What do I hear being said in the letter?
  • What resonates with me?
  • What can I do to change the power dynamic expressed?
  • Are teaching artists a priority in my organization?
  • Does my organization allow for honest critical feedback from TAs?
  • Does my organization have an accountability plan for feedback?
  • What do I want to know more about?

There is a follow-up checklist derived from the perspective of teaching artists as a guide to create a vibrant arts ecosystem that is equitable for all. We invite you to fill out the checklist and consider:

  • Which boxes can my organization check? Why/Why not?
  • What does my organization need to check every box?
  • What do I want to know more about?

We invite you to join a conversation where you can discuss your individual and organizational response to this article.  Together we can work to reimagine and rebuild this arts ecosystem so that it holds everyone.

In the fall leaders from multiple agencies* will collaborate on a series to address specific ways to carry out the checklist recommendations.

In solidarity,

Your colleagues at *Teaching Artists Guild, Teaching Artists of the Mid-Atlantic, National Guild for Community Arts Education, Lincoln Center Education, NYC Arts in Education Roundtable, New 42, and Community-Word Project

In Solidarity with our AAPI Communities

Published on March 18, 2021


Dear Arts Education Community,

Violence is being done in New York City and around the country to our Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander neighbors, from children to adults to elders. We recognize that these acts stem from our systems of white supremacy, which is embedded in our country’s founding. The NYC Arts in Education Roundtable is compelled to speak out on behalf of all these innocent victims.  

The Roundtable stands for equity in learning and creative expression, and for the right of all our artists and organizations to thrive. As artists and educators we condemn the senseless harm of anti-Asian violence and harassment, and the misinformation motivating recent attacks.  

All of us need to stand together for healing and to act against repression. We urge artists and educators to speak up against anti-Asian attacks.  For those looking to learn more, better understand how to be an ally, and help the AAPI community fight Anti-Asian Racism, we offer the following resources:

Information & Additional Reading

Toolkits & Allyship Resources

If you’re able, please join us in learning from and donating to the following organizations who are working towards racial justice:

Thank you to the Roundtable’s Non-Black POC Affinity Group who helped gather many of these resources.  The Roundtable will be holding space for communal care and support for AAPI arts educators and accomplices who desire to work towards systemic change. Registration information and event details will be shared next week. 


Sobha Kavanakudiyil, Board Co-Chair
Jennifer DiBella, Board Co-Chair
Gary Padmore, Board Vice Chair
Ted Wiprud, Acting Board Treasurer & Chair Emeritus
Erika Atkins, Board Secretary
Kimberly Olsen, Executive Director
NYC Arts in Education Roundtable


by Meghan Grover
Published on March 16, 2021

How do I hold a systemic analysis and approach when each system I am critical of is peopled, in
part, by the same flawed and complex individuals that I love?
This question always leads me to
If I can see the ways I am perpetuating systemic oppressions, if I can see where I learned
the behavior and how hard it is to unlearn it, I start to have more humility as I see the messiness of the
communities I am part of, the world I live in  -adrienne maree brown, We Will Not Cancel Us


February 2011

I live in Chagrin Falls, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. 

I enjoy playing in creeks, watching Grey’s Anatomy, and going to football or basketball games every Friday night.

I want to be on Broadway.

I go to a public school in Chesterland. Like Chagrin Falls, it is almost 100% white. 

I’ve been raised Christian, like my mom. My dad is Jewish. I don’t really talk about that. 

My family is “comfortable” financially, which I think means I have more money than other people?

I am very, um, sometimes, attracted to… girls… no! Stop. That’s not allowed here! I LIKE BOYS ONLY!!!! 

I get A’s in school. I do wish school were more challenging but… I don’t know… I feel good when I get perfect grades? When I’m perfect. 

My theater teachers have changed my life. They make me feel like anything is possible. I can help people through art. Art helps us see that we are all one, all connected. Theater makes the human condition universal and we can all relate to each other. 

And even though I get anxious and depressed so much that my stomach hurts

And I am always in a state of competition and convinced everyone hates me? 

And boys in my school are rating me on a scale of 1-10, which I know is a natural thing boys do, but still?

And I’m starving myself because I need to look as skinny and disciplined as possible. 


I giggle. 

I’m enthusiastic! 🙂

I perform joy with perfection.
I want to change the world with theater and make other
people happy. 

November 2016

I live in New York City after graduating with a BFA in Acting. 

I cried all day after the announcement of Trump’s victory. I knew there were individual racists but not like so bad that Trump could win? 

I am a teaching artist now, and I want to make a difference in the world. I travel all over New York City, and I make original theater with young people. These are my first times being the only white person in a room. In some of the schools where I work, there are classrooms of 40 students with stressed and exhausted teachers. There are few resources for programming, supplies, and extracurricular activities. 

Today is a special day at an after-school middle school program that I have spent hours planning for. We are creating commercials. 

Three young people jump up with enthusiasm to go first! We give them a 3-2-1-Action, and they are dancing in a park, laughing and singing. They play sounds of sirens. They stop. They look at each other with fear. They grab a bottle and pretend to spray their faces with it. It makes them smile and relax. They say, “Our faces are light now. Cops won’t get us. Buy skin bleach, stay safe.” 

No one claps. The students all look at me, their white teacher, for something. Some support? Some answer?  I am silent.

A student watching cries. He says, “I will never change my identity!” Other students comfort him and their bodies tense.


And I just want to make things right but things aren’t right. 

They are not “universal.” 

And I hate myself both for not being a perfect teacher and for my need to be perfect making me want silence.

I cry on the J train and a cop asks me if I’m okay. 

May 2020

There’s a pandemic. I’ve been sheltered-in-place in Crown Heights since March. 

People are alone, isolated. Suffering. And even the people who do have wealth and safety and healthcare, a lot of them are still sad. This sadness was here before the pandemic, I think. It was just hidden beneath the distractions of our jobs, our new materials and technology, our busyness: smiles and enthusiasm.

Since the beginning of sheltering-in-place, I have been paying more attention and joining activist organizations and mutual aid efforts. It took all my jobs being cancelled to do this… but I did. And I feel… focused… I have started to feel closer to identities that I used to hide: my Judaism, my queerness, my access to wealth. I have started working with other upper-middle class folx on wealth redistribution and am having hard conversations with my family about it, and it feels… powerful, complex… imperfect. 

But now I feel panic. 

In March, Breonna Taylor, a young Black woman, was murdered by the police in Louisville. I didn’t find out about her murder until George Floyd, a Black man, was also murdered by the police in Minneapolis this May. 

Protests are happening all over the country.

When the police charge at us with shields and batons and guns because someone threw a water bottle? 

I shake.
I run!
I get in a cab!

I cry for my ignorance that has allowed me to perpetuate these systems for my entire life. I cry for my inability to keep my white body between police and Black and Brown people.

I cry for the fact that I left and am now crying white tears.

Back home, people are boarding up their businesses because of a planned protest. The protest is cancelled because, uh oh, violence could happen! Nearby, about five young people hold a Black Lives Matter protest. In response, there is a large Blue Lives Matter protest.

I have challenging, infuriating conversations with people from home about this, hearing about how Black Lives Matter is a
terrorist organization. I shut a lot of people out. I cancel them. I shame them. 

I don’t feel like I did in the beginning of the pandemic, where I could sit in imperfection. 

I want to stop crying and just make things better now. I want bad people out! 

I post a lot of anti-racist articles online with lots of other white people! It starts to feel like a performance. 


A moment now 

I’m still in Crown Heights physically, but I’m virtually in the midwest, making art with people on zoom. 

Before the pandemic as a teaching artist, I collaborated mostly with Black and Brown young people, with people with developmental disabilities, with senior citizens, and with people who live in rural towns. But I have not been a teaching artist with white, upper-middle class, able-bodied, neurotypical suburban people like me.


I make the excuse that there are not theater programs where I grew up that examine politics and social justice. I only ever did eurocentric, conventional theater processes where I memorized my script and performed without interrogating the pieces on a systemic level.

I also have not wanted to work with privileged people. 

They already have enough opportunities. And they make me angry and emotional, and I don’t like that. 

They remind me of who I was (…and am!). 

I think of myself in 2011: a young woman who wanted to change the world with theater and yet had no idea what that meant! And despite all my privileges, I felt deeply unhappy and anxious, as did lots of other privileged people around me. I was not able to recognize how this system affects all of us, even those who benefit the most. There’s so much pain and competition and scarcity.  And playing pretend. 

How do I leverage my upper-middle class whiteness to move other white people to be in solidarity with and listen to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color? 

How can white people heal, not to overshadow, but to join the collective liberation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color?
Part of healing is giving up power.

I’ve reconnected with high school teachers from my hometown.

In collaboration with classmates at CUNY, I have been creating virtual projects with my teachers and their students. We created a ‘Theatre in Education’ 5-day program for high school juniors and seniors based on the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. I am also working on a theater devising project for midwest high school students to imagine and enact the future they want. 

In both projects, the young people have expressed excitement about the chance to discuss difficult issues and their potential change in the world. They’ve also expressed hopelessness about what they can do, which makes me feel eager to build spaces where they feel they can transform themselves, one another, and this world. 

It feels amazing, difficult, and terrifying to connect with people where I grew up; to be an insider in a community for the first time as a teaching artist. 

Although my work so far in Ohio has felt mostly positive and inspiring, I challenge myself to keep going when it does not feel so good. I want to support spaces with people who will share views that I consider hateful. And work through that pain as we all learn together, as we heal together. 

I make mistakes.

But I keep learning. 

And I keep adapting. And I keep GOING and showing up! And sometimes not showing up but then showing up again. 

This is going to be a lifelong painful glorious journey. 

Of learning,
of messing up,
of learning,
of messing up,
of learning

I cry tears that drive me,
not halt me in guilt and self-pity.
Tears of fury, empathy, solidarity, love. 

Scarcity falls
Fear falls
Chagrin falls

About Meghan

Meghan Grover (she/her/they/them) is a teaching artist, performer, and director with a passion for devised theater, process dramas, and community-based work. Meghan is the co-creator and facilitator of ‘Devising Our Future,’ which creates original theater with high school students that centers their dialogue, ideas, and actions toward a future of social justice. They are also the co-creator and facilitator of the ‘Defrost Project,’ which focuses on community-based work in rural Minnesota. Meghan loves making and performing process dramas for people of all ages too… she describes process dramas as being like ‘Social Justice Dungeons and Dragons.’ Meghan has worked with Convent of the Sacred Heart, Park Avenue Youth Theater, Trusty Sidekick Theater Company, NYC Children’s Theater, Bluelaces Theater Company, AMIOS, Hook & Eye Theater Company, and more. They graduated from the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program and are currently getting their MA in Applied Theatre at CUNY.

Parent University: Update from the Office of Arts & Special Projects

Updates from OASP, NYC Department of Education. Pictured: NYC Department of Education and Office of Arts and Special Projects logos.

Dear Arts Partners, 

We are excited to let you know about a new resource from the NYCDOE called Parent University! 

Launched in November 2020, Parent University is a learning management system that offers a centralized catalog of courses, live events, resources and activities to help the DOE and community connect with families and support students. The platform offers all New York City parents and family members access to live and on-demand courses and resources across multiple discipline areas and grade bands. It also serves as an outlet for the DOE and community partners to share events, information, and updates with families. 

 Parent University is accessible on all devices and integrated with Google translate. As of January 2021, Parent University has seen over 45k users and 132K visits. 

We need your help! We are currently building our course catalog for the spring semester and are interested in learning about the FREE family-facing trainings and events you offer. 

If you want to know more about this opportunity or are interested in submitting a live or pre-recorded course to be hosted on the Parent University platform, please contact Laura Agrusti at 

Also, please help with the promotion of Parent University by sharing the information below with your contact lists and social media. 

Additionally, please share your upcoming events and resources for inclusion in our family and family facing staff newsletter which is sent on Friday afternoons. Please feel free to share anything you would like to publicize to Shona Gibson by Wednesdays for inclusion in that week’s communication.   

We look forward to collaborating with you as we continue to create a unique and powerful engagement experience for NYC’s parent and family community.  

Thank you, 

The NYCDOE Parent University Team 


Parent University( seeks to educate and empower all families from early childhood through adulthood, with free courses, resources, events, and activities. Parents can register for free trainings on a wide range of topics, including adult education, student social-emotional learning, and special education.    

We currently offer 250+ pre-recorded, on-demand, and live, web-based courses and they cover a wide range of categories including:   

  • Adult and Continuing Education 
  • Arts  
  • Early Childhood Education   
  • Enrollment    
  • Fitness  
  • Health and Wellness  
  • Multilingual Learners   
  • Parent Leadership    
  • Remote Learning and Technology    
  • School Buildings and Operations    
  • Special Education    

To take a tour of Parent University visit this short tutorial or read the press release from our official launch. Visit Parent University today at!  


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Live Testimony to Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, & International Intergroup Relations (March 9, 2021)

Published on March 12, 2021

Delivered by Kimberly Olsen, Executive Director


Thank you Chair Van Bramer, Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations, and Commissioner Casals and staff at DCLA for your leadership and commitment to arts education. My name is Kimberly Olsen. It’s a pleasure to hear from our colleagues in the public library system, as I began my career as a teaching artist teaching devised theater to middle schoolers at the Steinway branch of the Queens Public Library. I am now the Executive Director of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable.

The Roundtable is a service organization who builds its efforts around the values that arts are essential and that arts education is a right for all NYC students. Our 120+ member organizations have worked in long-standing partnership with the DOE to ensure that every child has access to quality arts learning.

As our city begins to rebuild and envision a post-pandemic era, I am here to highlight the importance of investing in arts education as part of the city’s recovery process. The long term effects of COVID-19 on students and schools will take years to understand. However, the trauma, systemic racism, and learning loss related to COVID-19 are stark realities that students are currently facing every day as they enter the classroom. The need for investment and equity in arts education access comes when the need for arts in our schools has never been more clear.

New York City is missing the opportunity to invest in authentic ways to build social emotional competencies of youth living through these traumatic times. The city is missing the chance to instill in our youth the power of imagination and creativity, which are needed in not only art-based professions but in a myriad of careers including engineers, educators, health care professionals, and computer software designers. And the NYC DOE is failing to engage a workforce of thousands of artists primed to expand student opportunity and advance equitable access to arts learning (through cultural partnerships). This school year, and every subsequent year, the arts will be key to re-igniting students’ learning in the post-COVID-19 era and preparing them for success and joy in a complicated 21st century world.

To rebuild the cultural workforce and sustain arts education programs, we believe the city must restore 70% cuts to arts education services at the NYC DOE and restore cuts CASA programs in the FY22 budget.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Click here for a PDF version of NYCAIER’s Live Testimony.

Click here to view the full live Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations Hearing.

Shape the Future Leadership of the Roundtable (in under 10 minutes!)

Posted March 11, 2021

The NYC Arts in Education Roundtable invites your ideas for candidates to serve on the Roundtable Board of Directors. Board members take responsibility for the fiduciary health of the organization, the hiring of executive staff, determining the strategic direction of the organization, and maintaining a focus on the mission. We strive to see that our board of up to 28 represents the disciplines, geography, organization types, races, genders, and abilities of our diverse field.

Please share one, or up to three names of people with deep understanding of our field, and ideally with prior experience with the Roundtable. You may self-nominate. To position your candidate for full consideration for election in June 2020, please complete this survey by March 31, 2021.