Urban Arts Education Programming: The Realities of Fully Funded Arts Education in One North Carolina School District

Urban Arts Education Programming: The Realities of Fully Funded Arts Education in One North Carolina School District

Vanessa Smart (Independent Researcher, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2581-3.ch004
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Abstract

This chapter offers a practical analysis of urban arts education funding successes and failures while highlighting one urban district in North Carolina. It stresses the need to approach arts education funding with fervor and dedication to partnership and creative ways to find resources. Policy-makers, grant makers, philanthropists, and community supporters require evidence of successes in the arts in order to continue to sustain their desire to impart legislative and financial support the arts so desperately need. This district, the story it tells, and the literature supports the fact that policy-makers need to balance their view of the arts and how arts education can be appropriately supported and of benefit to students, schools, and communities.
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Introduction

Nationally, the development of arts education programs is a matter of the overall effectiveness of individual art educators working within the dynamics of their local school districts –Thomas Hatfield (2007).

One dominant area of discourse surrounding arts education in urban schools focuses on schools where the arts are a non-existent entity, or arts education as a foundation of student successes in school as well as a means of an escape of sorts from negative influences in their respective neighborhoods (Baker, 2012; Catterall, et. al., 2012; Chappell, et. al., 2013; Costigan, 2013; Freedman, 2003; Maguire et. al., 2012; Quinn & Kahne, 2001; Rolling, 2012; Selig, 2009). This chapter aims to expand the discourse surrounding arts funding at the state, regional, and district levels. By describing the successes and failures of a fully funded district, discourse regarding arts funding and policy will assist school districts, policy makers, grant makers, and other stakeholders better understand the actions and activities that are giving life to or causing a cessation of arts education in urban and suburban school districts. The author provides support for the fact that the art education policy field is broad with many attainable goals and objectives that exist at the Federal, state, and local levels (Colley, 2008). Successes and failures, too, have a significant place in the conversations related to arts education funding, as they provide opportunities for knowledge-building and purposeful, constructive dialogue essential to improving access to the arts, participation in the arts, and arts education policy and funding.

The practical analysis of urban arts education funding successes and failures while highlighting one urban district in North Carolina this chapter offers stresses the need to approach arts education funding with as much fervor and dedication as possible. Policy-makers, grant makers, philanthropists, and community supporters require evidence of successes in the arts in order to continue to sustain their desire to impart legislative and financial support the arts so desperately need. This district, the story it tells, and the literature supports the fact that policy-makers need to balance their view of the arts and how arts education can be appropriately supported and of benefit to students, schools, and communities.

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Background

The creation of arts policies in the United States has been a part of government interest and support for some time. Of note is Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and The Public Works Art Project (WAP), which was created to provide work for artists in need of employment between 1932 and 1935. The program, in turn, became a catalyst for the creation of The National Gallery of Art in 1937. Those significant policies and programs, and others like them, affected the creation and further development of arts agendas and created a foundation for maintaining that the arts are of consequence to the populace. With this governmental support, one may argue that there is a specific cultural and artistic perspective that is encouraged and endorsed by the government, however, that argument is far-fetched as there are as many types of arts as there are groups to support them. Assumptions, values, and knowledge related to the arts shape individuals’ judgments about the significance and meaning of works of art considered to be national treasures, historical events represented by an artistic creation, and the process of creating “traditional” forms of art. Even with these inherent value-based and often cultural assumptions, the arts remain essential and valuable to us all.

It has been well documented that art-related activities are effective in developing a sense of identity and self-esteem, and there is evidence to suggest that peer mentoring and other arts leadership activities help reorient students so that they become more “positively affected towards learning” (Hickman, 2006, p. 334). In addition to fostering an atmosphere of engagement, attention, and exploration, that arts promote growth in self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-identity. Oreck (2004) noted that the effectiveness of arts-based professional and curriculum development should be evaluated in light of the current national movement for high stakes testing and centralized control of curriculum.

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