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National Endowment for the Arts  
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  Partnership Agreements  

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Additional Information on Arts Education

Through the study of the arts, lifelong skills are gained which help us develop creativity, communicate better, and make informed evaluations of artistic work. All students need to have meaningful arts experiences as part of an education program in which the arts are taught in grades pre-K through 12.

A comprehensive arts education program includes:

  • Curriculum-based learning in all of the arts disciplines – creative writing, dance, design, media arts, music, theater, and visual arts – that is linked to national, state, or local standards, as appropriate, and that meets the developmental needs of all children and youth.
  • Hands-on instruction in the arts that includes the creation, production, and performance of works of art.
  • Instruction that balances skills development with arts history and critical theory.
  • Sequential programs, taught by qualified teachers, and strengthened by regular engagement with artists, artistic works, and arts institutions to sustain, expand, and deepen students’ understanding of and competence in the arts.
  • Interdisciplinary programs to enhance the richness of the arts learning experience.

The arts also can be integrated with other subjects to enable students to make connections across the curriculum.

Partnership Agreement Support for Arts Education

Partnership Agreement support is intended to respond to the objectives, strategies, and programs that each state arts agency develops based on national, state, or local arts education standards, as appropriate, and its state’s needs, opportunities, and resources. While the focus of Arts Endowment support is arts education programs within schools, meaningful co-curricular or extracurricular activities also are important. These can take place as part of an extended school day or other after-school program, during vacation periods, and in cultural organizations. Possible components of a state’s arts education program might include:

  • Artists’ residencies where students and teachers can participate in and learn about specific arts disciplines. Residencies should be planned with teachers and other school and community leaders to be consistent with national, state, or local standards, curricula, and arts education programs. Teacher training, follow-up visits by artists, and assistance with the development of curriculum or lesson units are encouraged as components of residencies.

  • Grants and/or technical assistance to local arts agencies, arts organizations, service organizations, professional associations, and schools for model or demonstration projects, curriculum development, student assessment or program evaluation, public awareness, research, or other efforts in arts education.

  • Training for artists to increase their knowledge and skills concerning the developmental needs of students; school “cultures,” policies, and procedures; and other matters related to their work with students, teachers, and others in pre-K through 12 education.

  • Training for teachers, school administrators, and others to heighten the awareness, knowledge, and skills that are essential to planning, developing, and sustaining arts education programs.

  • Consortia, task forces, or similar groups at the state and local levels which increase communication and awareness, provide program coordination, and/or help develop public policy that is important to achieving the partnership goals for arts education.

Other Arts Endowment Resources

For general background information on the Arts Endowment and application guidelines, refer to our Web site at or call 202/682-5400. In addition to the funding outlined in this guideline booklet, other resources of possible interest include:

Grants for Arts Projects. These guidelines describe the Arts Endowment’s primary funding opportunities for organizations for Fiscal Year 2005. Assistance is available to eligible organizations of all sizes for projects in:

- Dance
– Design
– Folk & Traditional Arts
– Literature
– Local Arts Agencies
– Media Arts: Film/Radio/Television
– Multidisciplinary
– Museums
– Music
– Musical Theater
– Opera
– Presenting
– Theater
– Visual Arts

Within each field or discipline above, organizations may apply through one of the following categories:

  • Access to Artistic Excellence: To foster and preserve excellence in the arts and provide access to the arts for all Americans. This category combines the Artistic Creativity and Preservation and Challenge America: Access to the Arts Standard Review Grant categories that appeared in the FY 2004 Grants for Arts Projects guidelines.

  • Challenge America Fast-Track Review Grants: To support small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations. This category expands the support that was available previously for Challenge America: Access to the Arts Fast-Track Review Grants.

  • Learning in the Arts for Children and Youth: To advance learning in the arts for children and youth.

Under the Grants for Arts Projects guidelines, SAAs and RAOs may serve as fiscal agents or as consortium members and participants including consortium lead applicants; however, all grant funds must be passed on to the sponsored organization or to other consortium members.

The Folk & Traditional Arts Infrastructure Initiative for projects that strengthen the infrastructure of support for the folk & traditional arts. New, expanded, or existing activities that are essential to the support of the folk & traditional arts within a state or region are eligible. SAAs and RAOs are eligible to apply on their own behalf. For information, contact the Folk & Traditional Arts staff at 202/682-5678 or 682-5726.

Standards for Service

The Arts Endowment has set the following standards for serving applicants. We pledge to:

  • Treat you with courtesy and efficiency.
  • Respond to inquiries and correspondence promptly.
  • Provide clear and accurate information about our policies and procedures.
  • Provide timely information about funding opportunities and make guidelines available promptly.
  • Promptly acknowledge the receipt of your application.
  • Ensure that all eligible applications are reviewed thoughtfully and fairly.

We welcome your comments on how we're meeting these standards. Please address them to: Standards for Service Coordinator; Room 628; National Endowment for the Arts; 1100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; Washington, DC 20506-0001; phone: 202/682-5408; e-mail:, attention: Standards for Service Coordinator.

Reporting Burden

The public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated at an average of 32 hours per response including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. The Arts Endowment welcomes any suggestions that you might have on improving the guidelines and making them as easy to use as possible. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to: Office of Guidelines & Panel Operations, Room 516, National Endowment for the Arts, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20506-0001. Note: Applicants are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number.

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