U.S. Department of Education Awards $17 Million in Arts Education Projects

By Ruth Ryder, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education

Today, the U.S. Department of Education awarded $17 million to 27 grants representing 15 states through the Assistance for Arts Education (AAE) program. These grants were made to national nonprofit organizations, local school districts, colleges and universities, and other arts organizations to enrich the academic experience of and promote arts education for students, including disadvantaged students and students who are children with disabilities. The Arts play critical role in a child’s education. They allow students to become creative thinkers, to connect, design and apply their learnings which in turn prepares our children for the future workforce with the skills and capacity to think outside the box with creative solutions.  

Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, the arts and music have been added as subjects to the definition of a well-rounded education. There are national arts standards that have been established for the disciplines of Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts which include creating, observing, analyzing, presenting, interpreting, connecting all of which are seen every day in the classroom across subjects.   

Under the AAE program, projects must include professional development for arts educators, teachers, and principals; development and dissemination of accessible instructional materials and arts-based educational programming, including online resources, in multiple arts disciplines; and community and national outreach activities that strengthen and expand partnerships among schools, local educational agencies (LEAs), communities, or centers for the arts, including national centers for the arts. In addition to these required activities, 15 AAE projects will include arts therapy in their projects to improve cognitive and sensory-motor functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, and/or reduce and resolve conflicts and distress.

More information about this program can be found at: https://oese.ed.gov/offices/office-of-discretionary-grants-support-services/well-rounded-education-programs/assistance-for-arts-education/. Below is a list of the new AAE awards listed by state, name of grantee, and award amount for FY 2021. 

STATE FY 21 Grantee Award Amount 
Alaska Hoonah City Schools $500,812.00  
California Dramatic Results $1,580,125.00  
California Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, Inc. $364,193.00  
California Humboldt County Office of Education $432,153.00  
California LA Promise Fund $674,852.00  
California Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma-Marin $459,800.00  
California Konocti Unified School District $430,100.00  
California Tulare County Office of Education $279,915.00  
California Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA) $221,300.00  
Georgia ArtsNow, Inc. $429,886.00  
Kansas Arts Partners, Inc $199,211.00  
Kansas University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc. $277,576.00  
Kentucky Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services, Inc. $1,370,748.00  
Kentucky Kentucky Educational Development Corporation $730,568.00  
Maryland Arts Every Day, Inc.  $262,400.00  
Minnesota Minnesota Department of Education $570,101.00  
Nebraska Board of Regents, Univ of Nebraska, Univ Nebraska-Lincoln $279,331.00  
New York Partnership with Children Inc. $363,422.00  
New York Patchogue Arts Council Inc. $257,387.00  
New York Young Audiences, Inc. $888,941.00  
New YorkCenter for Educational Innovation $1,200,000.00  
Ohio Cleveland Play House $965,447.00  
South Carolina Arts Schools Network $1,436,519.00  
South Carolina Winthrop University $488,674.00  
Tennessee The University of Tennessee $253,159.00  
Texas Texas A&M University-San Antonio $767,159.00  
Virginia National Art Education Association $1,493,057.00