Funding for Arts EducationA lack of funding and resources is the most common concern facing school districts. This section is designed to help you identify available funding opportunities. While funding does exist at the national, state, and local levels for arts programs in public schools, it should be noted that various grants piecemealed together will not lead to quality, sequential arts education. It is imperative that school boards work toward a sustainable plan for arts education in their districts by allocating a percentage of the operating budget to arts education.
- The U.S. Department of Education
Information on accessing federal funding for arts education is available through No Subject Left Behind: A Guide to Arts Education Opportunities in the No Child Left Behind Act 2001. This document serves as a guide for state and local arts and education leaders to learn more about the federal No Child Left Behind Act and the multiple opportunities for arts education. Updated in 2004, it provides a brief overview of the legislation, including where to find specific references to the arts, descriptions of individual programs with arts specific examples that have received funding, and links to websites for additional information.
- The National Endowment for the Arts
Federal funding for arts education—or arts learning, as they refer to it—is also available through the National Endowment for the Arts. 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 at the state and local levels. To learn more about funding opportunities, refer to Learning Through The Arts: A Guide to the National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Education.
In the past, other federal agencies that have funded arts education initiatives have included the Department of Justice, Department of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
State FundingTo inquire about state resources for arts education, contact your state arts agency. Often, state arts agencies have strong working relationships with their state departments of education. As a result, they may know of funding opportunities available through the state department of education for programming and professional development. Each state arts agency has an arts education manager; contact information can be found by visiting your state arts agency’s website.
- The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) represents the nation's state and jurisdictional arts agencies. As part of NASAA's mission, it aims to improve the environment for arts education leadership at the state level.
- The Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network includes 37+ state alliance organizations that support arts education. Contact your state alliance to learn about additional resources in your area.
Local FundingFunding for arts education may be available through one or more of the local arts agencies in your service area. To learn more about the resources in your community, visit the Americans for the Arts Online Field Directory. Other resources—both funding and in-kind—may be available through area businesses and local foundations.
Additional Funding ResourcesGrantmakers in the Arts is a nonprofit membership organization comprised of private, family, and community foundations; corporate foundations and giving programs; and nonprofits that make arts grants.
The Foundation Center lists information about funders, allows users to search for grants and funding opportunities, and provides guidance and training for grantseekers.