10 State Teams Join Pilot Program to Strengthen Arts Through State Policy

LANSING, Mich. – August 21, 2014 – Michigan was selected to join Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, as part of 10 state teams administering a three-year pilot program to strengthen arts education by advancing state policy.

Announced at the National Conference of State Legislatures’ legislative summit in Minneapolis, the 10 states entering the pilot program are:

Arizona California Michigan New Jersey Oklahoma
Arkansas Massachusetts Minnesota North Carolina Wyoming

“A well-rounded education that includes arts education is a critical component in developing the creative thinking skills necessary to prepare students to succeed in a 21st century economy,” said Sarah Triplett, director of public policy for ArtServe Michigan, Michigan’s leading statewide arts and cultural advocacy organization.

“This pilot program will not only provide indispensable tools to clarify and strengthen arts education policy in Michigan, but it is also a tremendous opportunity to work with strong state and national partners to develop a national strategy. As mounting research illustrates, arts education boosts literacy, advances math achievement, develops critical thinking and improves school culture. ArtServe plans to engage businesses, nonprofit organizations, community leaders and elected officials to maximize the impact of this endeavor,” she continued.

“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome the team from Michigan into our new initiative to boost arts education. Because education reforms are primarily tackled at the state and local level, this new partnership is critical to collectively strengthen the arts in education policy in our country,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “This cohort of 10 states includes team leaders from state agencies, state legislators, advocates and the education policy community–all working together to advance policies to ensure that all America’s students can have equal access to an arts education.”

Through Americans for the Arts, the team from Michigan will receive customized coaching and technical assistance throughout the three-year pilot, via web-based tools and site visits. Additionally, the Michigan team will receive a direct grant of $10,000 each year of the three-year pilot program to support identified goals.

Through the three-year engagement, the Michigan team will work towards specific objectives, resources and outcomes that they seek to impact. Michigan’s pilot program will focus on reconvening the Michigan Arts Education Roundtable and its partners including the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA), Michigan Department of Education (MDE), Michigan Youth Arts Association, and more than 16 statewide organizations to develop and advance a policy agenda to increase support and investment in arts education for Michigan’s students K thru 12. The consortium guided the implementation of the Michigan Arts Education Survey in 2012, with baseline results on the presence of arts education in Michigan schools forming a critical foundation for efforts to cultivate awareness, commitment and investment in the value of arts education for Michigan’s children and in equipping today’s students to be the innovative leaders and talented workforce for the future.

ArtServe Michigan will work alongside team members from around the state on this project, including from the Michigan State Board of Education, Governor’s Office on Strategic Policy, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency’s Education for the Arts and the Michigan Model Arts Education Instruction and Assessment.

All 10 state teams will convene twice per year over the three-year pilot, starting at the Americans for the Arts’ State Arts Action Network’s meeting in New Orleans in November, in conjunction with the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies annual conference.

CONTACT: Kristin Priest Sokul

ArtServe Michigan is a statewide nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to cultivating the creative potential of Michigan’s arts and cultural sector and creative industries to enhance the public health and well-being of Michigan, its people and communities. ArtServe advocates for arts, culture, arts education and the power of the creative economy in Michigan; provides leadership and professional development for artists, creative practitioners, and arts and cultural organizations; and connects arts and cultural leaders and supporters through strategic communications. Contact ArtServe Michigan at 248-912-0760 or visit ArtServeMichigan.org

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City, it has a record of more than 50 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at www.AmericansForTheArts.org.