Fact Sheet: Learning In The Arts
Since its inception in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts has not only maintained support for arts education programs in and outside of school, but has provided leadership in the federal sector and among arts, education, business, and government organizations to develop and sustain an agenda for arts education improvement. The agency has led efforts to make the arts a part of the core education for all pre-K through grade 12 students and to increase opportunities outside of school settings for other arts learning. In 2002, the Arts Endowment consolidated its various arts education grant programs, leadership initiatives, and partnership efforts into a focused Arts Learning initiative.
Arts Learning Direct Grants
Arts Learning grants are awarded competitively to nonprofit organizations, including arts and cultural organizations, school districts, youth service, and other community groups for specific projects. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2003, grant applicants will focus their projects in one or more of the following areas:
Early Childhood: Projects provide arts learning activities for young children who are not yet of kindergarten age, and professional development for teachers, artists, and others who work with them.
School-based: Projects involve children and youth in grades K-12 and are directly connected to the curriculum and instructional program of schools.
Community-based: Projects occur outside of the regular school day and year in a variety of settings, offered by arts organizations or other community-based, non-arts organizations in partnership with artists and arts groups.
The Arts Endowment partners with other federal agencies and advisory committees on projects related to arts learning. By working with these federal entities, the Arts Endowment furthers the impact of federal dollars.
President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities: Since its beginning in 1998, the Coming Up Taller Awards program has annually honored 10 outstanding arts and humanities programs that provide underserved young people with learning opportunities and chances to explore their creativity.
Department of Education: The agency's partnerships with the Department of Education include co-funding programs and providing advice and coordination for other programs for which the department provides sole funding. Joint initiatives include the Arts Education Partnership, a consortium of more than 140 national organizations committed to promoting arts education in elementary and secondary schools. Department grant programs coordinated with the Arts Endowment includes the Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program, Cultural Partnerships for At-risk Children and Youth Program, Media Literary Initiative, and the Professional Development for Music Educators Program.
Department of Justice: The agency has partnered with the Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention on several projects to bring the arts to underserved youth including the Arts Programs for Youth in Detention and Corrections, Partnership for Conflict Resolution Education in the Arts, and the Youth Arts Development Project.
Department of Housing and Urban Development: Creative Communities represents a partnership with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Arts Endowment, and the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts to foster the development of arts instruction for children and youth living in public housing.
The Arts Endowment awards funds through Partnership Agreements with state arts agencies in part to foster collaboration among the education, arts and private sectors in each state and U.S. jurisdiction. Forty percent of the Arts Endowment's annual grantmaking funds are distributed through these Partnership Agreements, of which one component focuses on arts education. In Fiscal Year 2002, the arts education component of the state partnership agreements totaled $2.88 million.
The Arts Endowment regularly works directly with nonprofit organizations through cooperative agreements to implement specific arts learning projects. An example is:
Arts for Learning (A4L) is an innovative initiative based on the idea that all students can meet - and exceed - learning goals while at the same time develop a lifelong affinity for the arts. Supported through an Arts Endowment Challenge America Leadership Initiative and led by Young Audiences, Inc., the initiative presents Web-based information from a range of arts disciplines and organizations to teachers and others who can integrate the arts into the curricula.
In the 1980s, the Arts Endowment focused attention on arts education research, collecting and reporting statistical information on the conditions of arts teaching and learning in the nation's schools. One of the most important reports on the condition of arts education was the congressionally mandated Toward Civilization, published in 1988 that revealed the nationwide lack of basic arts education in American schools. The recommendations from this report have provided a road map in arts education research for not only the Arts Endowment, but for the Department of Education and other partners in the public and private sectors. Other arts education publications include:
Schools, Communities, and the Arts: A Research Compendium (1995) shows the benefits of making arts education an integral part of the school curriculum.
Effects of Arts Education on Participation in the Arts (1995) examines the effects of arts education in determining subsequent arts participation.
Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development (2002) published by the Arts Education Partnership with support from the Arts Endowment details the relationship between learning in dance, drama, music, multiple arts, and visual arts, and the development of fundamental academic and social skills.
Arts Education in American Elementary and Secondary Schools: 1999-2000 (2002) is the latest report on the state of arts teaching and learning administered by the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency