New Year brings new outlook for the arts

2016 promises to be a great year for the arts.

2016 promises to be a great year for the arts.

The stage is set for 2016 to be a great year for the arts. In case you missed Americans for the Arts’ fabulous recap of 2015 arts policy wins, we pulled together a few highlights for North Carolinians:

 

N.C. Public Funding for the Arts saw an increase for the first time in eight years. Over the next two years, Grassroots Arts programs will receive an additional $300,000, and A+ Schools will receive $715,000.

 

The National Endowment for the Arts just received a federal funding increase of almost $2 million instead being leveled for the fifth year in a row.

 

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) finally replaced the testing-heavy and narrow-focused No Child Left Behind Act in our schools! Where No Child Left Behind often systematically pushed the arts aside, ESSA brings the Arts into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Programs—now recognized as STEAM on a national platform.

 

It seeks to provide all students with a “Well-Rounded Education,” the definition of which includes the arts. It keeps arts eligible for Title I funds, the primary source of federal funding for schools, and includes specialized funding opportunities through “Assistance for Arts Education”

 

So what?

 

These developments in policy and funding signal that the government is starting to see the arts as a priority, we’ve made progress in building relationships with policy-makers, and legislators will likely be willing to talk to us about additional measures in the upcoming short session.

 

We at Arts North Carolina think that all of this warrants optimism that now is the time to make moves to ensure arts education in our state and to ensure significant, stable funding for arts opportunities for all. Stay tuned, and Happy New Year!

 

-Submitted by Arts North Carolina

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