San Mateo County Arts Newsletter
September 2004


2004 Jack Drago Youth Art Scholarship

Congratulations are in order for talented young dancer Reina Victoria, who has been named as the recipient of South San Francisco’s 2004 Jack Drago Youth Art Scholarship. Ballet is her main form of dance, although she is versed in many others. Previously, she was recognized as 2003 Dancer of the Year at the American Dance awards in Santa Rosa.

Reina Victoria also teaches dance to children. She looks forward to a career in dance performance, but also plans to continue teaching.


NEA Reports “Reading at Risk”

The National Endowment for the Arts has recently released a comprehensive survey entitled Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America. According to NEA Chairman Dana Gioia, it “presents a bleak assessment of the decline of reading’s role in the nation’s culture.”

The survey was based on a sample size of more than 17,000 adults and a wide demographic range, including diversity by age, race, ethnicity, region, education, gender, and income.

Gioia condenses the results to indicate that “literary reading in America is not only declining rapidly among all groups, but the rate of decline has accelerated, especially among the young.”

Recognizing the shift away from reading and toward electronic media such as radio, recordings, and television, Gioia notes that while “the electronic media offer the considerable advantages of diversity and access, [but] print culture affords irreplaceable forms of focused attention and contemplation that make complex communications and insights possible.”

What are the long-term implications of the results of this study? According to Gioia, this decline in reading “parallels a larger retreat from participation in civic and cultural life,” which will affect all the arts—as well as social activities such as volunteerism, philanthropy, and even political engagement.”

He warns that advanced literacy “depends on a great many educational, cultural, and economic factors” and that in losing this skill, “our nation becomes less informed, active, and independent minded. These are not qualities that a free, innovative, or productive society can afford to lose.”

The NEA’s website is at


California Authors Collaborate

Narrative travel and adventure stories by 27 California authors and journalists have been gathered into the new publication My California: Journeys by Great Writers published by and Angel City Press. Proceeds from its sale will benefit the California Arts Council and school writing programs throughout the state, which were suspended in 2003 due to massive budget cutbacks.

The writers, who all donated their work, include Michael Chabon, Thomas Steinbeck, Dana Gioia, Matt Warshaw, Patt Morrison, T. Jefferson Parker, Edward Humes, Mark Arax, Deanne Stillman, Ruben Martinez, Percival Everett, Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Mary Mackey, Gerald Haslam, Aimee Liu, D.J. Waldie, Hector Tobar, Firoozeh Dumas, devorah major, Carolyn See, Chryss Yost, Anh Do, Derek M. Powazek, Daniel Weintraub, David Kipen, and Veronique de Turenne. The book was edited by Donna Wares.

My California is $16.95. More information and a link to purchase My California are available at  or at


A Guide for Administrators

An updated publication from the National Art Education Association addresses fundamental issues central to the administration of elementary art education in American schools. An important policy resource, Elementary Art Programs: A Guide for Administrators (No. 248) answers questions about key standards concerning content, materials, instruction, and art teacher preparation. Included in the 24-page publication are sample floor plans and photographs of a variety of storage units, sinks, tables, and more. It is $15 ($10 for NAEA members).

An order form is available online at or call (800) 299-8321.


Newsletter Archive:

August 2004

July 2004

June 2004

May 2004