Monday, May 14, 2018
Oklahomans for the Arts (OFTA) hosts its “Oklahoma Arts Day” annually at the Oklahoma State Capitol. On April 11, 2018, Oklahoma Arts Day occurred during the Oklahoma teacher walkout. Partnering with Oklahoma A+ Schools, Oklahoma Art Education Association, and the Oklahoma Alliance for Arts Education, hundreds of arts and arts education advocates came to promote arts education funding within the bigger picture of the walkout.
Education funding for the arts was cut significantly this year, with 300 fewer arts classes and 815 fewer music classes in elementary schools. OFTA and its partners helped shed light on another layer of the education system that suffers when general education funding is cut. OFTA Executive Director Julia Kirt said, “Across the state, music, visual arts, dance, drama, and media make a big difference for kids. Really, it’s not a complete education if it doesn’t include the arts; so really, we want to make sure we’re bringing that to the forefront today.”
Signed by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin on April 30, the state’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget includes a $2.9 billion appropriation for education including $353 million to fund teacher pay raises. In addition, the budget was the first in several years that maintained stable funding for the Oklahoma Arts Council.
Phot credit: Oklahomans for the Arts