The Chicago Public Schools (CPS), one of the largest school systems in the country, recently unveiled a first-of-its kind analysis of arts education offerings, staffing, partnerships, and funding in CPS during the 2012-13 school year. This report found that elementary students on average received 99 minutes of arts education per week. As part of the district’s arts guidelines, elementary schools should provide at least 120 minutes per week. But, according to the self-reported data, only 40 percent of CPS elementary schools offered that much arts education. Additionally, the report found that 95 percent of elementary/middle schools, and 88 percent of high schools, had at least one part- or full-time arts instructor. That means there are some schools that have no arts instruction by a certified arts teacher.
The CPS report also found that over 400 arts organizations had active partnerships with CPS schools to provide arts programming to students either before, during, or after school. Some of these partnerships included one-time events like field trips or performances while others included active ongoing art instruction and education with students.
It’s understandable why CPS had so many problems fitting arts education into the day. Education goals in the United States are an ever-changing cocktail of math, science, language, arts, and more. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), the focus of the last decade, has now evolved into STEAM, with the addition of arts into the education focus. For some schools, this change is a tough drink to swallow, just one more thing to fund with dwindling budgets. Below are some school grants for art opportunities that we selected to help with this new focus on arts education. Some of these are just for schools/educators while some grants could be used by non-profit organizations to create a partnership with a school.
NAEF has five different grant programs that support a wide variety of arts education and instruction programs. If you want to apply for these grants, plan ahead. The deadline for the 2015 funding has already passed. Look for applications for 2016 to be due in October 2015. The grants available include:
Ruth Halvorsen Professional Development Grants are awarded to projects focused on understanding, implementation, and issues specifically relating to the National Visual Arts Standards and support the improvement of the teaching of art. Grants total up to $2,500.
Mary McMullan Grants fund projects that promote art education in all levels of schooling. Grants total up to $2,500.
NAEA Research Grants support research that advances art education. The maximum amount for these grants is $10,000.
SHIP Grants are given to educators for equipment and instructional curriculum resources. Grants total $500.
Teacher Incentive Grants cover a wide array of subjects that promote the teaching of art. These can include but are not limited to curriculum materials, student instruction materials, and student assessment materials.
Art Works provides funds for projects that support arts in K-12 classrooms as well as educators in those classrooms. There are three types of grants under this program, and grants fund all artistic disciplines. It is anticipated applications will be accepted in February and July. The three categories include the following:
Direct Learning Grants fund projects that increase student knowledge and skills in the arts by engaging students to professional artists and arts educators.
Professional Development Grants are for projects that assist educators and/or civic leaders in their arts education and development.
Collective Impact Grants hope to ensure that all students across entire schools, school districts, and/or states participate in the arts over time. These projects are larger in scope and qualifying projects should have the potential to be shared with other communities.
Schools serving low-income students can apply for funds from this foundation to help with musical instrument repair and the acquisition of new instruments. Schools must serve a population of at least 65% that participate in the National Lunch Program. Private schools that do not participate in the National Lunch Program must serve a minimum of 65% of students that attend at no cost due to low income status. Additionally, schools must have an established instrumental music program that has been offered during the regular school day for a minimum of three consecutive years. Application deadlines will be announced this month.
Crayola sponsors this grant program to fund elementary school programs that construct creative leadership team building in arts education. Eligible projects will need to form a collaborative team to plan unique ways to infuse art throughout the school. In order to apply, principals of the applying school must be members of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Each grant-winning school (up to 20 grants awarded) receives $2,500 and Crayola products valued at $1,000. Applications are due June 22, 2015. Every application submitted prior to June 8, 2015 will receive a free Crayola product Classpack.
Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver