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Collective Impact Video Released

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Jan 14, 2014

A recording of the live webcast, “More Than the Sum of Its Parts: Collaboration & Sustainability in Arts Education,” is now available online, free of charge. This presentation is an exploration of how arts organizations in communities across America are increasing access to, multiplying the benefits of, and sustaining quality arts education through large-scale, cross-sector collaborations focused on collective impact. The video provides insights into how organizations across the country are making arts education a civic priority while keeping young people and creative arts learning at the center of their missions. 

“More Than the Sum of Its Parts” was presented by Big Thought President/CEO Gigi Antoni and moderated by National Guild Associate Director Ken Cole at OPERA America’s National Opera Center in New York City on April 26, 2013. The presentation is based on the book, More Than the Sum of Its Parts: Collaboration & Sustainability in Arts Education, co-authored by Thomas Wolf and Gigi Antoni. 
“Over the past two decades, the National Guild has identified best practices and models for arts education partnerships that have powerful, long-term effects on students, faculty, institutions, and communities,” said National Guild Executive Director Jonathan Herman. “’More Than the Sum of Its Parts’ illustrates how collaboration can increase equitable access to arts learning and deepen impact, while also helping organizations gain access to greater expertise, credibility, and funding.” 
“This is an incredible moment in time, when the fields of education, the arts, politics, business, and more are coming together in ways that I haven’t seen in twenty-five years,” said Antoni. “Big Thought is proud to share what we’ve learned through our diverse partnerships, and I’m hopeful that other nonprofits and civic organizations of every stripe can benefit from hearing tangible lessons about collective impact, then return to their communities to strike while the education iron is hot.”
"Partnership and collaboration are building blocks of opera and cornerstones of opera education initiatives," stated Leah D. Wilson, director of learning and engagement at OPERA America. "We were delighted to host this event at our National Opera Center, a facility designed to foster these qualities. The collective impact strategies shared with our mutual fields demonstrate the significant benefits of collaboration."
The recording of the live webcast is available, free of charge, here.
The book, More Than the Sum of Its Parts: Collaboration & Sustainability in Arts Education, may be downloaded free of charge on our website here, or at and Printed copies may be purchased for $25 at or through the National Guild office at (212) 268-3337 ext. 16.  The book is jointly published by Big Thought and the National Guild for Community Arts Education.
About the Presenting Organizations 
Every day in communities across Dallas, Big Thought plays an essential role in providing children with innovative and effective learning programs to help them succeed in the 21st century. We combine creative instruction with community resources to develop programs that help young people expand their curiosity, think critically and solve problems—skills they need to thrive in the modern workforce. Through our many partnerships, Big Thought provides access to high-quality learning opportunities to more than 100,000 children annually. Learn more at
Founded in 1937, the National Guild for Community Arts Education supports and advances lifelong learning opportunities in the arts. We foster the creation and development of community arts education organizations by providing research and information resources, professional development, networking opportunities, funding, and advocacy on behalf of the field. Our more than 450 member institutions include community schools of the arts; arts centers; and arts education divisions of performing arts institutions, universities, museums, and other institutions. They are located in urban, suburban, and rural communities in 45 states. Collectively, our members offer arts instruction to more than 2.5 million students each year, employ more than 20,000 teaching artists, and reach some 8 million more Americans through performances and exhibitions. In addition to providing instruction within their own facilities, most members collaborate with other organizations—including social services agencies, public schools, and healthcare providers—to provide arts education in their communities. Learn more at
OPERA America leads and serves the entire opera community, supporting the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera. Founded in 1970, OPERA America’s worldwide membership network includes nearly 200 Company Members, 300 Associate and Business Members, 2,000 Individual Members and more than 10,000 subscribers to the association’s electronic news service. The National Opera Center, located in New York City, offers a wide range of artistic and administrative services in a purpose-built facility dedicated to increasing the level of excellence, creativity and effectiveness across the field. Learn more at
About the Authors
Gigi Antoni is president and CEO of Big Thought, one of the nation’s leading nonprofits devoted to closing the opportunity gap in education through creative learning. Gigi leads the organization in developing groundbreaking partnerships, including Thriving Minds, a citywide initiative that joins the City of Dallas, the Dallas Independent School District and more than 100 other organizations, with Big Thought as managing partner. She was also instrumental in forming a partnership with the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee to implement SLANT 45, one of the largest communitywide service-learning programs for children in U.S. and NFL history. In July 2011, The White House named Gigi a “Champion of Change” which recognizes community members doing outstanding work in their fields. Gigi has worked for more than 20 years in the arts-education field as an administrator, educator, community developer and performing artist. She joined Big Thought in 1990 and was named president and CEO in 1995. 
Dr. Thomas Wolf’s career spans over four decades and encompasses the fields of philanthropy, education, and the arts. A principal with WolfBrown (an international consulting firm he helped establish in 1983), he also served as the founding director of the New England Foundation for the Arts. He became involved in arts education as a performer, then as an administrator, later as a board member, and finally as a consultant. Wolf holds a doctorate in education from Harvard University and has taught at Harvard and Boston University. He has also served as an elementary school principal and a high school music teacher. His many books include Managing a Nonprofit Organization (now in its fourth edition), Presenting Performances, And the Band Stopped Playing (with Nancy Glaze), and two books on the arts and education written with his wife, Dr. Dennie Palmer Wolf: The Arts Go to School and Academic Preparation in the Arts. 

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.