As Pennsylvania's General Assembly is in the midst of advancing a state budget that will impact students, adults, and families in powerful ways, we are excited to see the arts and arts education come to the forefront of many budget and policy discussions in the media, the not-for-profit sector, school board meetings, and here inside the capitol.
Many school districts and cultural organizations, however, have been making tough decisions about the arts (among other things) that have or will negatively impact students and most of us in some way. Although we hope to not experience even deeper cuts to state agencies like the Council on the Arts, insufficient investment in the basic education line item will present a severe challenge for schools across Pennsylvania if the Governor's proposed 2012-2013 budget were to be enacted--this on top of the nearly $900 million cut made that has impacted the current school year. Never, unfortunately, has the unacceptable and often dramatic inequity concerning opportunities to learn in and through the arts in Pennsylvania's communities been quite so remarkable.
Despite this bleak situation for arts education, the news of unanticipated increases in state revenue is creating a genuine opportunity for our legislature to work towards a restoration of the major cuts they made last summer. The Senate's recently approved budget bill made some modest improvements for K-12 education funding, and now attention has shifted to the House of Representatives. There is hope!
Clearly, as advocates for arts education in our schools and communities--and as advocates for children--we must take action immediately to let our elected House members know how important it is to support the momentum made by the Senate--and to build on it! Too many learners are already suffering because of lost opportunities to learn in and through the arts due to insufficient state funding.
What's more, we must be engaging now in crucial conversations within our local communities and school districts in order to raise awareness among decision-makers about the detrimental personal and social effects of learning and living without the arts.
Please be in touch if you have questions about how EPLC can support your current and/or long term advocacy efforts. Stay tuned to
aei-pa.org for ongoing updates from the Arts and Education Initiative (AEI), including information about the state budget and opportunities to participate in new arts education advocacy projects.
Director, Arts and Education Initiative
P.S. Did you know that you can read past editions of the AEI Note online by visiting aei-pa.org?
AEI and EPLC News
Regional Arts and Education Community Forums
AEI was in Philadelphia this Tuesday evening for our fourth AEI Community Forum since the AEI report release. Thank you to the University of the Arts, which hosted our event, and to our other sponsoring partners, the Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership, ArtsRising, and the School District of Philadelphia. Upcoming dates of Community Forums will be listed on the AEI website. We are making plans for Forums at a number of other spots across the Commonwealth.
New Statewide Arts Education Advocacy Collaborative
Building on the AEI report released on March 14, EPLC has been working with other organizations to establish a new advocacy collaboration--but not another organization--to support effective arts education policies at the state and school district levels. The Pennsylvania Arts Education Network (PAEN) will soon have a newsletter, website and Facebook page, and we will soon begin to host monthly statewide conference calls to help keep arts education advocates informed about key policy issues and events. Network participants will help to develop unified messages and strategies to strengthen arts education advocacy in our state. Look for more details about the Network in the next several weeks.
Save the Date: 2012 Arts and Education Symposium Please mark your calendars and plan on joining us--as well as arts and education leaders from across Pennsylvania and the nation--for the 2012 Arts and Education Symposium, which will take place again this fall in Harrisburg. Thursday, October 11 will be a day filled with compelling speakers and panel presentations, as well as unparalleled discussion and networking opportunities
for both budding and senior advocates and professionals. Learn about the latest arts research, data, policies and trends in myriad schools and communities, and find ways to engage with public policymakers at the state and local levels. Say tuned to aei-pa.org
in the coming months for updates on Symposium content and registration information.
Arts Leaders, Apply Now to 2012-2013 Class of EPFP
The Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) is a nationally recognized professional development program for individuals whose work record reflects strong leadership abilities and a concern for issues important to children and education in Pennsylvania.
Participants develop a broadened understanding of education policy issues and the policymaking process, expand their network of professional colleagues, and hone their skills in communications and leadership. As well as attending dynamic monthly seminars in Harrisburg during the ten-month period, Fellows complete a group policy project, travel to Washington D.C., conduct legislative visits, and participate in an additional, regional leadership forum with Fellows from several other states. Applicants are full-time professionals from an array of organizations at the local, state, and national levels with at least a bachelor's degree (or its equivalent) and a strong commitment to learn. Find out more about the program and how to apply on EPLC's website
Arts Education Bill Introduced into PA House
State Representative Tony Payton, Jr., from Philadelphia, is the prime sponsor of HB 2389, which was introduced and referred to the education committee on Wednesday, May 16. The bill would establish a statewide academic scholarship program to be known as the "Reliable Educational Assistance for College Hopefuls Scholarship for Arts and Culture."
How to Talk with Legislators about PA Revenue
During a webinar last week, The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) shared a helpful set of suggestions for discussing pressing public issues with state policymakers in terms that will get their immediate attention during this tense budget season in Harrisburg. PBPC urges advocates to articulate what we know from our personal experiences insomuch as they relate to the economy. Helpful tips include how to address with legislators Pennsylvania's current rosier-than-expected revenue situation. Read more from the webinar online, and be sure to apply these suggestions as you advocate over the next few weeks for the arts and arts education.
New Arts Report from National Governors Association
Do you need more advocacy ammo as you talk with your policymakers during this budget season about the positive economic and social effects of supporting quality arts education in Pennsylvania's communities? The National Governors Association (NGA) shares in a new report called New Engines of Growth how state policies supporting the arts and culture can foster, for the long term, a healthy innovation-based economy.
Arts and Education News
Save the Date: PAEA 2012 Conference, October 5-7
The Pennsylvania Art Education Association (PAEA) has chosen "design" and its "creative process" in visual art education as the theme for its annual conference this year. October 5-7, art educators from across the state will convene at the Hilton Hotel in Harrisburg. Those of us serving elementary through university audiences are invited, and attendees will participate in workshops, networking opportunities, and hear from important keynote speakers about "design education." Find more information on the web, including how to submit a proposal to lead a workshop or presentation at the conference.
Philadelphia Young Artists' Summer Exhibition
On May 17, the School District of Philadelphia hosted the opening reception for a citywide youth art exhibition, including work from over 150 participating schools representing SDP Young Artists from grades K-12. Upwards of 1,500 works of visual art--including items as diverse as textiles, murals, graphics and illustrations--align with the show's theme, "Art...Making a Difference." Visit the works displayed at 440 North Broad Street for free, Monday through Friday between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm, and Saturday between noon and 4:00 pm. An awards ceremony will be held on the evening of Wednesday, June 13.
Youth Arts Enrichment Grants in Philadelphia
Mayor Nutter and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund (PCF) proudly announced this month the four cultural organizations that will each receive $25,000 from PCF to support youth programming. Four AEI Study Group members served among the volunteer peer panelists this year, including Moira Baylson from the City of Philadelphia offices, Dennis Creedon from the School District of Philadelphia, Varissa McMickens of ArtsRising, and Pearl Schaeffer from the Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership. Thank you to all who make programs like this possible in Pennsylvania!
Americans for the Arts' Convention, June 8-10
The nation's leading not-for-profit organization committed to the advancement of the arts and arts education will convene this year in San Antonio, Texas for its annual convention. Americans for the Arts is expecting over 1100 guests from around the country and beyond to attend the presentations and workshops, and to consider what we mean by "the new normal" when we talk about the arts and arts education in American organizations, communities, and governments. Register online.