Credibility with school administrators is the first thing to establish in an arts-promoting organization, says Pat Benedict of Weston, Mass. She's a founding member of the West Suburban Creative Arts Council (WSCAC), with members in some 60 towns around Boston. It's a good idea to present a written plan to the principal or superintendent, she adds. The plan should:
Alert administrators to the need for and value of enrichment programs.
Tell about some high-quality programs in the area - ones you have seen, or ones that have proven successful.
Suggest ways to raise funds, either within the school or out in the community.
``Don't expect the school to do all the work,'' Mrs. Benedict says. Do expect to write letters, make phone calls, and arrange details yourself.
Previewing performers in a school setting is critical, says Donna Neff, another WSCAC member. That, plus the need to hold morning meetings every few months, tends to exclude most working women from active membership, she says.
Performers' fees can run up to $600 or more, making it necessary to apply to local and state organizations for funds. (WSCAC assists members in writing grant proposals and guides them to resources in libraries and city halls.) But many programs can be had for little or no cost. Guest speakers are often just a phone call away, says WSCAC president Diane Munini. ``It's not as expensive as people may think.''
For more information, write: West Suburban Creative Arts Council, 56 Emerson Road, Winchester, MA 01890.