Congress acknowledged the important role of the arts in national service programs when it passed the Serve America Act in 2009. Under the legislation’s newly formed Education Corps, the placement of skilled artists in the community became eligible for funding.
However, using the arts as a strategy for addressing critical community issues was not included as an area of focus or even referenced in the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS)'s five-year plan (2011-2015). Annual funds to CNCS are provided through the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill.
Support for the arts through a dedicated Artist Corps—as well as continued inclusion of the arts in all national service programs and national days of service—would provide an opportunity for creative skills to be utilized in engaging with communities across the country.
Recent data reports that 1.6 million people in the United States volunteer for arts and culture organizations, while 7.1 million volunteer artistic services for non-arts/culture groups.
Focus Forward Towards Solutions
- Find more details in the National Service and the Arts Statement of Concern in the 2017 Congressional Arts Handbook.
- Key Senate and House Committees for CNCS funding.
- Example of service through the arts: MusicianCorps