Connect to Local and State Arts Resources
Connect to Local Arts Resources
Only seven percent of total education funding in the United States comes from the Federal government. The most important decisions for your schools are made in your state government and your school district. Increasingly, decisions are being made right at the school level.
Any arts education staff your school or school district already employs, such as certified arts teachers or a district arts coordinator, would appreciate knowing of your support and can help you to assess how seriously your district believes in the arts. If you have no such staff available, that's your first indicator that something is missing.
Your Local Arts Agency—usually a private nonprofit arts organization, but sometimes a branch of your local government (especially in larger cities)—may have someone on staff who specializes in arts education and could help you understand the arts education landscape, both in your school district and in the broader community. They can tell you about offerings for children and youth during afterschool and weekend hours—or, perhaps, through already established partnerships with schools.
Connect to State Arts Resources
There are three key arts education resources at the state level:
- the arts specialist(s) at your state department of education;
- the arts in education (AIE) specialist at your state arts agency; and
- the state Alliance for Arts Education (in 46 states), whose primary purpose is to advocate for arts education.
These professionals can help you understand how arts education policy is developed both in your state legislature and state department of education. The state department of education staff person may be prohibited by law from asking you to lobby in any particular way, so you may want to start with your state arts agency or state Alliance for Arts Education.
State arts agencies and state departments of education often fund model local projects, so their arts education specialists may be able to help you find good programs to learn from or possibly let you know how to apply for funds to support your own good idea. The state Alliance for Arts Education would appreciate knowing you are a supporter and that you are willing to help in some way.
Finally, additional resources including grassroots advocacy tools, research summaries that bolster community-based efforts, messages on the importance of music and the arts as part of learning, and strong arguments that cutting arts programs actually cost schools more in the long term can be found by visiting SupportMusic.com.