Community Thread: The Politics of Arts Education

WJCT’s “Community Thread” invites the community to join in one big conversation about the topics affecting us most. Building on WJCT’s former “First Coast Forum” concept, “Community Thread” is a TV show and radio stories that respond directly to audience-submitted questions.

Each quarter, the public is invited to submit questions on a new topic by email to or on Twitter using the hashtag #WJCTThread. Members of the public are also invited to attend the “Community Thread” TV show taping and ask questions directly to a panel of experts.

Our news team will also sift through the questions and provide answers to many of them in radio stories, giving credit to the person who asked the question. This way, the conversation thread continues all year.

On Thursday, August 4, WJCT’s “Community Thread” will discuss “The Politics of Arts Education”.


Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – STEM, has become an important part of the conversation in education, as technological innovations become increasingly important to help America compete in a global and knowledge-based economy. The idea of adding arts to the equation (STEAM) has been gaining momentum, as advocates believe that sparking students’ imagination and creativity is crucial to the innovation economy. STEM supporters argue that including arts could dilute the core STEM focus. Arts educators counter that STEAM isn’t about sacrificing time spent on STEM subjects, but rather integrating creative thinking into the curriculum. This conversation will examine current and pending state and district policies, and what they mean for students and the future of our local and state economy.

Cultural Equity in Arts Education

According to Americans for the Arts, Cultural Equity embodies the values, policies and practices that ensure that all people— including but not limited to those who have been historically underrepresented based on race/ethnicity, age, ability, sexual orientation, gender, socioeconomic status, geography, citizenship status, or religion— are represented in the development of arts policy. How has the Northeast Florida community traditionally approached these issues in arts education, and what initiatives are underway to change the conversation?

The program will air Thursday, August, 18 at 8pm on WJCT Public Television.

Confirmed Panelists:

  • Kimberly Hyatt – President & CEO, Cathedral Arts Project
  • Robert Copeland – Executive Director, Northeast Florida Regional Stem2 Hub, Inc
  • Gwendolyn Owens – Director of Development, Don’t Miss A Beat, Inc.
  • Jeff Smith – Director of Arts Education, Duval Schools

Cultural Equity in Arts Education Panelists:

  • Terrance Patterson – Executive & Artistic Director at the Ritz Chamber Music Society, Inc.
  • Henry Rinne – College of Fine Arts Dean, Jacksonville University
  • Marq Mervin – Graphic Designer and CG Artist

What are your thoughts or questions about the politics of arts education? Be part of our studio audience and share your voice!

  • All guests must arrive at 6:30 and must be seated by 6:45 or they will not be allowed into the studio.
  • Tickets are free, but space is limited.
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This program is underwritten by the Ann McDonald Baker Family Foundation.


Thursday, August 4, 2016
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


WJCT Studios
100 Festival Park Avenue
Jacksonville, Florida 32202

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