I want to give a big shout out to the US Department of Education (USDOE) for sponsoring rotating art exhibits inside their headquarters in Washington DC. I was lucky enough to be part of arts advocacy day on March 5, 2019 sponsored by Americans For The Arts (AFTA) and this is how I found myself sitting in the US DOE. Jeff Poulin from AFTA had arranged for us to talk to the USDOE communications and outreach director Juliette Rizzo.
Displaying Student Work
“Communications and Outreach and the Office of Innovation and Improvement, features visual art created by students in U.S. and international schools. The program provides students and teachers an opportunity to display creative work from the classroom in a highly public place that honors their work as an effective path to learning and knowledge for all. The works also provide Department employees and visitors with both a beautiful environment and the means to be in touch with the Department’s principal customers—students. (USDOE)
The program features two exhibits at all times throughout the year: The winners of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are exhibited for a year beginning every August, and another exhibit, rotated every two to three months, accommodates the many educators who want to exhibit their students’ work. Exhibits are currently booked through 2021. To schedule a visit to the exhibits, or to learn more about the exhibiting opportunity, contact Juliette Rizzo at email@example.com or at 202-401-1078.”
Strong Outreach Is Human Connection
Juliette Rizzo not only talked to us about the art and outreach of the US DOE but she also took an interest in everyone in the room as she solicited our stories. Some of us were beginning our course of study in the arts, some were teaching artists and some were there in their roles of administrators in arts based programs. Most importantly was the way Juliette helped us look at the art displayed in the halls. As we looked at the art, she rolled back and forth in her wheelchair and engaged each of us in the art. Asking questions, taking an interest in us, thinking about our answers and asking further questions. How great! The USDOE has chosen a very strong outreach person who is very capable of forging human connection especially with students! Our country’s education system is better for it.