By Ann Brown, Director of Arts Education –
Each year the Tennessee Arts Commission devotes approximately 20 percent of its budget to Arts Education grants. This funding supports projects in schools, community nonprofit organizations and government agencies. Participants include children learning in and through the arts, life-long learners exploring new art forms and teachers gaining skills to improve instruction. Activities are in the form of in-depth artist residencies, exposure-based performances and exhibitions and extensive teacher training conferences.
The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) recently released the State Arts Agency Fact Sheet breaking down the ways in which state arts agencies, including the Tennessee Arts Commission, support arts education. We are like many other states in that we not only award grants, but also provide services such as tailored professional development, host a Teaching Artist Roster connecting schools with 180+ artists and contribute to research. What sets us apart is our reach.
The fact sheet illustrates state arts agency arts education grant awards for fiscal year 2013. Each blue dot represents at least one, but often times more than one, grant award recipient. Tennessee is saturated in blue, showing that across the 95 counties arts education projects are made possible, in part, by the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Arts Education grants. These blue dots represent 515 distinct arts education projects and 165,800 directly participating individuals.
What is more striking is to reflect on the number of educators and artists who make this reach conceivable and the outcomes these individuals achieve each year. As we continue to cultivate learning throughout the state, we would like to recognize the thousands of arts educators who value the arts as integral to learning by reaching into the hearts and minds of Tennessee’s citizens through high quality arts education. Let’s keep reaching.