Supporting and Encouraging Parent Advocacy for Arts Education

Recorded On: 06/23/2020

Tuesday, June 23, 2020
1:45 p.m. EDT

About this Session

Parents are crucial advocates for arts education at all levels, but particularly locally. This is particularly true for the next two years, as education systems across the United States prepare for major economic hardship, including having to let teachers go. In this session, explore a newly-unveiled advocacy guide for parents created with the National PTA, talk about the mobilization power of parents, and think through how you can best use parents for arts advocacy in your community in a moment when arts educators may be in danger.

Learning Objectives
  • Learn how to mobilize parents as advocates for arts education.
  • Explore a written advocacy guide for parents created in conjunction with the National PTA.
  • Get familiar with the likely challenges coming for arts educators and how parents can help.


Kelly Fey Bolender, Americans for the Arts
Kymberly Cruz, Pittsburgh Public Schools
Katie Sprouse, Virginia PTA

This session is a part of the 2020 Annual Convention and Public Art & Civic Design Conference

Kelly Fey Bolender

Arts Education Program Manager

Americans for the Arts

Kelly Fey Bolender currently serves as Arts Education Program Manager for Americans for the Arts. Formerly, she held the position of Associate Director of Education at the Boch Center in Boston, MA. While serving as Associate Director, she led the Boch Center’s flagship arts-based youth leadership and employment programs, including the nationally-recognized City Spotlights Summer Leadership Program and Teen Leadership Council. Additionally at the Boch Center, she developed and facilitated arts-based literacy curriculum for the Target Arts In-School Residency Program and the Dudley Library Arts Festival. She also worked extensively in college and career readiness training for high school students, developing innovative programming for the Boch Center and the Universities at Shady Grove.

Kelly centers her work on inclusivity and expanding access in the arts. Her original research exploring best practices for inclusivity and representation of marginalized populations in theatre for young audiences (TYA) in the United States is featured in the award-winning anthology of Latinx TYA, Palabras del Cielo: An Exploration of Latin@ Theatre for Young Audiences.

She served on the Board of Directors for the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) and the New England Theatre Conference. She earned a Master’s in Theatre Education with a concentration in Theatre and Community from Emerson College, a Bachelor's degree in Media and Communication Studies from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a certification in the Advancing Youth Development curriculum for youth workers.

Twitter: @ArtsEdKelly


Kymberly Cruz

Senior Program Officer, Arts Education, Pittsburgh Public Schools

Dr. Kymberly M. Cruz is the Senior Program Officer for Arts Education for Pittsburgh Public Schools who’s responsible for driving the mission and vision for the district’s arts department.  She directs the strategic implementation of goals and associated initiatives that are rooted in quality, access, and equity. She believes all children should have an unconditional quality arts education experience, period. 

With nearly 23 years in arts education and leadership, Kymberly leverages her experience in collaboration and strategic planning to promote arts learning with an unwavering commitment to her core values.  She was awarded Teacher of the Year in 2013—an award that recognizes excellence in teaching by honoring teachers who have made outstanding academic contributions to children voted on by peers. 

Kymberly holds a Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning from Georgia State University. She serves on the Arts Education Advisory Council for the Americans for the Arts.

Katie Sprouse

Reflections Chair, Virginia PTA

Katie Sprouse is the Reflections Chairperson for the Virginia PTA, the State branch of the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer child advocacy association. She has over 10 years of Arts in Education leadership experience at all levels of PTA within the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Katie began her “other” career in 2007 as a midnight shift 911 dispatcher. Over the last 13 years, she has served the citizens and public safety user agencies within the Central Virginia region, achieving the rank of Senior Communications Officer. She has earned several certifications, including Department of Criminal Justice Services General Instructor and Communications Training Officer. 

A mother of two children and one fur baby, Katie is a dedicated and passionate advocate for children and their right to receiving a quality public education, to include fine arts education in any/all forms, no matter their demographics, ethnicity, or socio-economic standing. In addition to her passion for child welfare and arts education, Katie is passionate about animal welfare. She is currently serving as the President of the Board of Directors for the Veterinary Emergency Treatment Fund (VET-Fund), a non-profit providing funding for emergency veterinary treatment for animals.

Katie serves her local community through membership on the Community Equity Advisory Committee and the Return to Learning Advisory Board with her local school board office. Katie also represents the Virginia PTA on the board of the Virginia Coalition for Fine Arts Education. The VCFAE’s mission is to bring together arts education stakeholders to promote and advocate for sequential, high quality arts programs for all children in the Commonwealth taught by highly qualified arts educators. 

  • Registration Closed


Supporting and Encouraging Parent Advocacy for Arts Education
Supporting and Encouraging Parent Advocacy for Arts Education CAPTIONED
Captioned Archive Recording You must register to access.