PMEA Endorses Arts Education for All Act

WASHINGTON, DC [10/15/21] – Congresswomen Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), and Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM) introduced comprehensive legislation to increase access to arts education.

The Arts Education for All Act will support and encourage arts education and programming for our young children, K-12 students, and youth and adults involved in the justice system. It will help to close existing gaps in access to arts education, which has the potential to improve the lifelong health and success of both children and adults.

“The arts are a fundamental part of a well-rounded education, especially now when innovative thinking and creative problem solving are in high demand,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, Chair of the Education and Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services and Co-Chair of the STEAM Caucus. “Providing all students with the opportunity to receive a quality arts education is a matter of equity. Arts education should be available to all students, not just those who have artistic families or the financial resources to pay for an arts education on their own. I envision a better future where everyone can enrich their lives through the arts, and the Arts Education for All Act will help make that a reality.”

“Arts education improves the lives of children, nurtures their creativity, and helps maintain their well-being. Yet the arts are often the first programs to be cut in schools. While I’m grateful for existing federal support for arts education, we should be making programs more accessible and encouraging students and educators to get more involved,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Arts Caucus and Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment, which oversees funding for the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities. “I’m proud to introduce this bill alongside Congresswoman Bonamici to help put the ‘A’ back in STE(A)M, and move full steam ahead on supporting arts programming and education access for all.”

“Art teachers across my district shared stories of the power that arts education has on our youngest children. It opens up a love for learning and allows them to thrive in new and exciting ways. The arts also help us celebrate our cultures, our identities, and communities,” said Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernández. “I’m proud to join Rep. Bonamici on the Arts Education for All Act to give educators the support they need to expand arts programming experiences for children of all ages. It will ensure they can foster a learning environment that promotes creativity, expression, and healing through art.”

The Arts Education for All Act has been endorsed by more than 100 national, state, and local organizations, including the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, Americans for the Arts, National Association of Music Merchants, and Grantmakers in the Arts.

The full list of endorsements can be found here.

“From her direct engagement throughout the arts sector, to successfully including pro-arts amendments in the Every Student Succeeds Act, Rep. Bonamici has once again proven herself to be a champion for arts education,” said Nolen V. Bivens, President and CEO, Americans for the Arts. “Americans for the Arts considers the “Arts Education for All Act” to be the most comprehensive arts education bill ever introduced in Congress and is proud to endorse it. We will work to advance this legislation alongside arts education stakeholders in music, dance, theater, visual, and media arts in order to pursue increased access and equity for all learners.”

“The Arts Education for All Act will help bring the power of arts education to early childhood programs, low-income K12 students and systems-involved youth on a scale we haven’t seen before,” said Eddie Torres, President and CEO of Grantmakers in the Arts. “By empowering childcare, K12 schools, and programs serving systems-involved youth, this bill has the potential to enrich lives and expand educational opportunities for millions,” said Eddie Torres, President and CEO of Grantmakers in the Arts. “The arts community, but most importantly the children of our nation, owe a great deal of thanks to the innovative leadership of Representative Bonamici for introducing this critical legislation.”

A one-page summary of the Arts Education for All Act can be found here. The text of the legislation can be found here.

The legislation is co-sponsored by Representatives Bishop (D-GA), Bowman (D-NY), Cárdenas (D-NY), Cicilline (D-RI), Cohen (D-TN), Cooper (D-TN), Jayapal (D-WA), Jackson Lee (D-TX), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), McGovern (D-MA), Norton (D-DC), Raskin (D-MD), Ross (D-NC), and Titus (D-NV).