Arts and Education Policy Activist

Matthew is a local arts activist and avid supporter of the arts in Alexandria and the Washington DC metro area. He currently serves as Chair of the Alexandria Commission for the Arts, a City Council appointed Commission that advocates for the arts in Alexandria, guides City arts-based projects and gives out hundreds of thousands in grants to local arts organizations each year and manages the City’s public art fund.

As Chair of the Commission for Arts, Matthew serves as a liaison between the City and organizations including the Torpedo Factory, a mainstay of the Alexandria Waterfront and historic building turned arts space and Visit Alexandria, Alexandria’s tourist arm. Recognizing the direct correlation between tourist and visual and performing arts is one way Matthew advocates for arts funding. Importance must also be placed on education, and ensuring each child is given equal access to the arts in school. The Commission works with Alexandria City Public Schools and other schools in Alexandria to increase arts programs and bridge gaps between artists and school systems. Programs include the Alexandria All-City High School Visual Art Exhibition, debuted this year, and providing grants to local nonprofit arts organizations to perform and offer workshops to local schools and their students – including Alexandria Symphony Orchestra’s El Sistema program and QuinTango’s soccer and music program. More information on the Commission can be found here.

Matthew was on the Communications Team of The Education Trust during the summer of 2016, a nonprofit education advocacy group in Washington, DC. While there, he wrote blogs on K12 and Higher Education policy, managed social media and websites, drafted media toolkits and press releases, and tracked important news, media requests, and supporter information via SalesForce, Cision and SalsaLabs.

Here are some blogs Matthew has written for The Equity Line, the blog of The Education Trust:

What Students Have to Gain From the Arts, August 15, 2016
Letting Students Take the Lead, August 24, 2016

Matthew also wrote the blog Bringing the Whole School to Life with Music in May 2017 for Innovate My School, a community of readers and writers of ideas and practices in schools.

Additionally, Matthew is an Influence Leader for the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and on the Advocacy Leadership Force of the National Association for Music Education, where he offers his perspective as a Title I elementary educator and elementary general music teacher in education policy and future initiatives. He has completed the Foundation for Excellence in Education Communications Boot Camp and TeachPlus’ Policy 101 program.

 

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Matthew frequents policy events in Alexandria to advocate for increased arts and arts education funding and involvement by local, state and federal government. Pictured here with U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and activist Shayna Daitch.