The Note: April 3, 2014

Arts and Education News from the Education Policy and Leadership Center and the PA Arts Education Network


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In This Issue
2014 Arts Education Advocacy Day
2014 Nat'l Arts Advocacy Day
2014 Music Education Advocacy Day
Save the Date: 2014 Symposium
Harrisburg Briefing Call Recording
Upcoming Advocacy Events
Governor's School Alumni Network
FY 14-15 State Budget
Arts and Education Budget
Governor's Schools Legislation
Arts and Culture Caucus
Broader Minded Advocacy Campaign
Arts Ed Brief: Educator Effectiveness
Young Artist Award Deadline Extension
VSA Workshops
Call for AEP Session Proposals
Creative Leadership Grants
Poetry Out Loud State Finals
K-12 Youth Art Month Exhibit
White House Film Festival
ArtPlace America Grant Finalists
Budget Documents

Appropriations Leaders
House Appropriations Majority Chairman
House Appropriations Minority Chairman
Senate Appropriations Majority Chairman
Senate Appropriations Minority Chairman

EPLC Education Summary
Share the Network's  Policy Agenda with your 
State and Local Leaders!
Read and share the Policy Agenda, hereand remember that your voice 
as a constituent is valued!
Please direct information about 
upcoming events, research reports, awards, and all other 
news foinclusion on the Network 
website, Facebook page, calendar, 
or monthly Note to Laura Abbott at


All other matters about the Network, 

the Policy Agenda, and related  advocacy should be directed to 

Ron Cowell at

PA Arts Ed Network Logo White Background
Pennsylvania Arts Education
Network Updates
Advocacy will make a difference!  Thanks to everyone who participated in various arts education advocacy activities during March - in Harrisburg, Washington, D.C., and in communities throughout Pennsylvania.

2014 Arts Education Advocacy Day
The Lower Dauphin High School String Quartet performed during the press conference in the Capitol Media Center.

On March 18, the Pennsylvania Arts Education Network hosted the second annual Arts Education Advocacy Day at the State Capitol.  


Please click here to see the event photos, press release, and the six policy issues the Network is urging the Governor and members of the Legislature to act on to support arts education for all students.


Pennsylvania arts education leaders were joined at the Capitol press conference by Legislative Arts and Culture Caucus Co-Chairs Senator Jay Costa, Senator Pat Browne, and Representative Tim Briggs.  Other speakers were Jenny Hershour, Managing Director, Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania; Bill Pendziwiatr, President, Pennsylvania Music Educators Association; Wendy Pires of the Pennsylvania Art Education Association; Holly Boda-Sutton of the Pennsylvania State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, Inc.; Gene Frank, Pennsylvania Representative, American Alliance for Theatre and Education; and Ron Cowell, President, The Education Policy and Leadership Center.


Arts Education Advocacy Day kicked off an advocacy campaign that must continue with force in Harrisburg and local communities.  Legislators need to hear from their constituents what is important and what they should support and prioritize.  The benefit of a Statewide Arts Network, as Ron Cowell pointed out in this Fox 43 news interview, is "When there are too many voices asking for too many different things, legislators aren't quite sure what the priorities are.  In this instance, now the advocates for arts education are speaking with a common voice delivering a very clear message about what the priorities are."

Representatives of the Network distributed to all 253 legislators a packet that included the Network's Policy Agenda and supporting materials.  Use our six agreed upon policy points when you call, write, or visit your own state legislators.
The policy priorities are developed by the Pennsylvania Arts Education Network Steering Committee.

2014 National Arts Advocacy Day

On March 25, hundreds of arts and culture advocates descended on Washington, D.C. to meet with their members of Congress in support of arts policy issues.  The annual event, National Arts Advocacy Day, is organized by Americans for the Arts and co-sponsored by 85+ national arts organizations.

This year we spoke to our Congressmen about the legislative issues of arts education policy and funding, charitable giving and tax reform, and funding for the National Endowments for the Arts.  Click here to view the Congressional Arts Handbook that provides issue briefs, facts and figures, and statements of concern. 

The Pennsylvania delegation was led by state captain Jenny Hershour of  Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania and included advocates from the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Dance/USA Philadelphia, the Education Policy and Leadership Center, and students from the arts management graduate programs at Drexel University and Carnegie Mellon University, and others.

Also in attendance was Pennsylvania high school student Emily Zauzmer, the winner of the Educational Theatre Association's 2014 Democracyworks student essay competition.  The competition asked students to write about what advocacy they have done and what they will do in the near future.  Emily's inspiring essay can be downloaded here.  Emily attends Upper Dublin High School in Montgomery County.

Back home, on the same day, GroundSwell, the Artistic Rebuttal Project, and CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia organized an advocacy phone bank in four Philadelphia regions for arts advocates who were unable to make it to Washington, D.C.  According to Alison Zeidman of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, while 28 Pennsylvania advocates went to Washington, 50 advocated by phone, and 154 sent emails to their U.S. Senators and Representatives.

2014 Music Education Advocacy Day
On March 19, the House of Representatives passed House Resolution 719, sponsored by Representative Ed Pashinski (D-121), which formally designated March 2014 as "Music in Our Schools Month" in Pennsylvania.

To celebrate Music in Our Schools Month, the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association held its third annual Music Education Advocacy Day at the state Capitol on March 26.  Student bands, orchestras, and choirs performed throughout the day, and an afternoon press conference was held in the Main Rotunda.

Mark Despotakis, chair of the PMEA Advancement of Music Education Council, discussed during the press conference the legislative policy requests that members of PMEA and music advocates were making to their state legislators.  Click here to view PMEA's legislative asks and supporting talking points.  The four "asks" are aligned with the Pennsylvania Arts Education Network's policy agenda, which Ron Cowell of EPLC spoke of during his remarks.

Guest speakers included Shannon Kelly, director of advocacy at the National Association for Music Education, and Craig Thatcher from Martin Guitars.  Joan Kemerer, elementary band director at Cambria Heights School District, spoke about the Governor's School for the Arts.  Kemerer is an alumna of the PGSA and wrote her Master's thesis on the history of the PGSA.

During the press conference, Despotakis recognized the 43 Pennsylvania school districts that were recently designated as 2014 Best Communities for Music Education, and the nine individual schools that received SupportMusic Merit Awards.  These designations are awarded by the NAMM Foundation to acknowledge schools and districts for their commitment to and support of music education in schools.  Click here for more information about the Best Communities for Music Education program.

Save the Date: 2014 Arts and Education Symposium
EPLC and the PA Arts Education Network will host a fourth annual Arts and Education Symposium at the State Museum in Harrisburg on Thursday, October 2.  

If you have comments or suggestions for session topics or keynote speakers to consider, please send your thoughts to Laura at
Remember, video recordings of the past three years' keynote speeches and plenary panels, as well as select audio recordings of concurrent sessions, are archived here.

March Harrisburg Briefing Conference Call
A recording is available from the March 20 Harrisburg Briefing statewide conference call.  The Network's March Harrisburg Briefing conference call discussed budget-related issues, including action on the Governor's Schools of Excellence legislation; a report on the March 18 Arts Education Advocacy Day; and a reminder about upcoming advocacy events.  A recording of the call is available here until April 19.

The next Harrisburg Briefing call will be on April 17.  The Statewide Pennsylvania Arts Education Network conference calls are held on the Third Thursday of every month at 4 p.m. to update network members and friends on statewide arts and education activities.  Participants on the call also have an opportunity to share news from their organizations.  The recording is always made available for 30 days for those who are unable to join the live conversation.
Details about how to access the recording and how to participate in future statewide Network conference calls can be found at on the first tab under "Resources."

Upcoming Advocacy Events

Citizens for the Arts in PA will host the 2014 Pennsylvania Arts and Culture Legislative Visits Day at the State Capitol on Tuesday, April 29



Governor's School Alumni Network 

Support is building in Harrisburg and across the state to re-establish the Governor's School for the Arts.  See here a recent editorial in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 


Those who have experienced the Governor's School for the Arts in the past are the most effective advocates to provide a similar opportunity to students in the future.  To support the advocacy effort to re-establish Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts
(PGSA), the Pennsylvania Arts Education Network continues to search for Alumni of the PGSA.  If you, or someone you know, taught at or attended the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts, please complete this form and share with others.  


Thanks to the help from former students and faculty, we have been contacted over the past year by nearly 700 Govies!  In his budget proposal, the Governor expressed willingness to invest in three Governor's schools, the arts not being one of them.  With a strong and growing network of advocates, garnering public and legislative support for the reinstatement of the Governor's School for the Arts will be possible. 


Click here to find out how PGSA alumni can support PGSA restoration.


Policy News
Update on 2014-15 State Budget Proposal

On February 4, Governor Tom Corbett delivered his state budget address to a joint session of the General Assembly.


The House and Senate Appropriations Committees held public hearings on the budget proposal during late February and early March.  Now the leaders of the General Assembly will hear from constituents, hear from rank-and-file members of the Legislature, negotiate with each other and the Governor, and settle on a final budget before the state constitutional deadline of June 30.  Video recordings of completed House and Senate budget hearings are archived on the respective Appropriations Committee websites.


The February episode of the Education Policy and Leadership Center's Focus on Education series on PCN discussed the Governor's proposed education budget.  Click here to watch the episode online.


Highlights of Arts and Education Items in the Governor's Proposed Budget
K-12 Education
  • The Basic Education Subsidy line item is flat-funded at same level as for 2013-2014.
  • A two-part Ready to Learn Block Grant would include $241 million in new Ready to Learn funding that would focus on student achievement and academic success.  The Ready to Learn Block Grant would also include the Accountability Block Grant of recent years and this part would remain funded at its current level of $100 million.  
    • Of the Ready to Learn money, the Governor's Expanding Excellence Program would account for $1 million in competitive grant funds for high-achieving public schools to publish best practices and share their strategies and techniques with other schools.  The remaining $240 million would be used by schools to support programs such as "Ready by 3rd Grade," STEM education, and supplemental instruction.
  • The proposed budget includes $10 million in funding for a new Hybrid Learning Grants line item, which would enable 100 schools to implement a hybrid learning model.
  • Another new line item would provide $350,000 to support three Governor's Schools of Academic Excellence.  This funding is earmarked for the Governor's Schools for agricultural sciences, STEM education, and engineering.  It does not mention the Governor's School for the Arts.
  • Special Education, which has been flat-funded for six consecutive years, would receive an increase of $20 million.
Arts, Museums, and Libraries
The following items would receive an increase in the Governor's proposed budget:
  • Grants to Arts would receive $8.6 million, a proposed increase of $411 thousand, or 5 percent.
  • Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission would receive $20.7 million, a proposed increase of $1.5 million, or 7.5 percent.
  • The Public Library Subsidy would receive $54 million, a proposed increase of $500 thousand, or 0.9 percent.  
  • Library Services for the Visually Impaired and Disabled would maintain level funding, receiving $2.6 million.
The following items would be flat-funded at 2013-2014 levels:
  • Pennsylvania Council on the Arts' administrative budget: $886 thousand
  • Library Services for the Visually Impaired and Disabled$2.6 million
The following items would receive a decrease in the Governor's proposed budget:
  • The State Library would receive $1.9 million, a proposed decrease of $19 thousand, or one percent.  
  • Library Access would receive $2.8 million, a proposed decrease of $250 thousand, or 8.1 percent. 


Governor's Schools of Excellence Legislation Approved by State House
On March 10, Representative Karen Boback (R-117) introduced House Bill 2074, which would establish the Governor's Schools of Excellence Act.
The bill, as originally introduced, provided for the re-establishment of a minimum of three Governor's Schools in the disciplines of agricultural sciences, engineering and technology, and sciences, as proposed by Governor Corbett.  It also provided for the appropriation of $350,000 for the three schools, which reflected the Governor's budget proposal.

On March 19, the House Education Committee reported as amended HB 2074.  Thanks to the advocacy efforts of the Governor's School for the Arts alumni and other arts advocates, House Education Committee Chairman Paul Clymer (R-145) offered an amendment that broadened the bill's language so that the Act would provide for those three disciplines but also "other disciplines determined by the Department."  However, the appropriation level remained in the bill at $350,000.  The amendment was unanimously adopted and the bill unanimously passed the Education Committee by a vote of 22-0.
On March 31, prior to the bill being considered by the House, several Representatives filed a variety of amendments.  Representatives Stan Saylor (R-94), James Roebuck (D-188), and Karen Boback (R-117) each filed amendments that would explicitly add the Arts.

On April 1, the House of Representatives adopted on the floor one amendment sponsored by Representative James Roebuck (D-188) that removes mention of specific disciplines and allows the department to determine all disciplines to be reinstated under the Act.  The amendment also removes the appropriation language from the bill.  The amendment was adopted 200-0

On April 2, the House Appropriations Committee considered the bill and attached a fiscal note.  The House of Representatives then unanimously passed the bill by a vote of 199-0.  HB 2074 now goes to the Senate for consideration.


Legislative Arts and Culture Caucus
The Arts and Culture Caucus held a meeting on March 12.  

To begin, Citizens for the Arts in PA Managing Director Jenny Hershour provided an overview of the Arts and Culture line items in the Governor's budget proposal.  Hershour also discussed the planning of the first Legislator Field Trip, during which members of the Caucus will travel to the Lehigh Valley to meet with arts organizations, business leaders, and local foundations to discuss the importance of arts and culture to the area.

Read more about the budget line items, the upcoming legislator field trip agenda, and other highlights on arts and culture in the Commonwealth in the first edition of the quarterly PA Legislative Arts and Culture Caucus Newsletter.  

First Lady Susan Corbett offered her remarks to the Caucus, recognizing the four co-chairmen for their leadership.  She also took a moment to ask for support for Governor Corbett's proposed budget.

Other guest speakers at the meeting included Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Executive Director Philip Horn, EPLC President Ron Cowell, and the Gamut Theater of Harrisburg Artistic Director Clark Nicholson.  Horn discussed the results from the Pennsylvania Poetry Out Loud Competition.  Cowell previewed the March 18 Arts Education Advocacy Day event and the Network's policy agenda items.  Nicholson shared information about the Gamut Theatre's educational programs and Stage Door Series, and their quest to obtain the funds for a permanent home on North Fourth Street in Harrisburg.

News from the Field
Broader Minded Advocacy Campaign
The National Association for Music Education on February 18 launched "Broader Minded" -- a new advocacy campaign to promote the vital importance of a combined "brain and heart" approach to orchestrating student success.  Click here to read the press release.

The new Broader Minded website features an interactive model that illustrates the intrinsic benefits of music with actual stories submitted by students, parents, and teachers.  Visit the website to share your story, join the broader-minded movement, or request brochures for your school.

In conjunction with the campaign launch, NPR aired a story about NAfME's advocacy efforts titled "Music Education For Creativity, Not A Tool For Test Scores."  Click here to listen to the clip.

In Case You Missed It: Arts Ed Brief on Educator Effectiveness
At the end of last year, the Arts Education Collaborative in Pittsburgh released a new Arts Ed Brief on Educator Effectiveness.  This is the second issue in a series of briefs meant to synthesize information about current issues in education, including possible implications for arts educators.  The brief includes an overview on the history of educator effectiveness in Pennsylvania and how it applies to arts educators.

Opportunities for Students
AEP Young Artist Award Submission Deadline Extension
In September, the Arts Education Partnership (AEP) will bring national leaders in arts, culture, education, government, and philanthropy to Pittsburgh for the 2014 National Forum.  
AEP is looking to highlight and honor a young visual artist in the Pittsburgh area through the 2014 AEP Young Artist Award.  Students between the ages of 12-18 are invited to submit an original work of visual art inspired by what they picture as the future of education in America.
A national review committee will select a finalist whose artwork will be featured as the cover of the program booklet for the AEP 2014 National Forum.  The finalist also garners a monetary prize and takes the spotlight with his/her art teacher during a special award presentation at the Forum. 


The deadline for submissions has been extended to April 30!  Click here to download the complete guidelines and application materials.

Opportunities for Arts Education Professionals and Artists
VSA Workshops
In 2013, with a grant from the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, VSA Pennsylvania partnered with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) and PCA's thirteen Arts in Education partners across the State to provide sixteen professional development workshops focused on including students on the autism spectrum in arts classrooms, workshops, and residencies.

In 2014 VSA Pennsylvania will be offering an encore presentation of the Teaching the Arts to Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder series.  The VSA workshops are designed for music, art, theatre, dance, media arts educators, classroom teachers and teaching artists.  Each workshop will include an overview of the characteristics of Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, and other pervasive Developmental Disabilities; strategies for increasing access to the curriculum for students with ASD, for standards-based visual and performing arts practices pre-K-12, and for behavior management; and best practices in assessment.

Click here for the workshop schedule.  For more information contact Gayle Cluck at 717-812-9255.

Call for AEP Concurrent Session Proposals
The Arts and Education Partnership (AEP) is seeking concurrent session proposals for the 2014 Arts in Education National Forum: Preparing Students for the Next America taking place in Pittsburgh, September 11-12.  AEP invites leaders across the country to share exemplary work supporting the national imperative to prepare all students for the next America.  April 28 is the deadline for session proposals. 

Click here for submission guidelines.

Champion Creatively Alive Children Grant Program
Crayola, in partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), is seeking request proposals for the 2014 Creative Leadership Grants.  The 2014 program will provide up to 20 grants for innovative, creative leadership team building within elementary schools.  Each grant-winning school will receive $2,500 and Crayola products valued at $1,000.

The application process involves forming a collaborative team, and the National Art Education Association encourages their members to partner with their school's principal and colleagues to generate grant proposals.  All proposals must be submitted by a NAESP member.  To receive a "Crayola product Classpack," you must apply by the early bird deadline of June 9.  Applications will be accepted until June 23.

Poetry Out Loud State Finals
Congratulations to Elliot Davidson, a junior at Lewisburg Area High School in Union County, who is the 2014 Poetry Out Loud state champion.
Fourteen regional finalists performed at the Governor's Residence on March 10 for the chance to represent Pennsylvania in the National Finals.  Each student memorized and performed three poems selected from print online poetry anthologies.  The students were judged by a panel of Pennsylvania performers, poets, and cultural and business leaders.  
Davidson will now go on to compete in the national championship April 28 - 30 in Washington, D.C.  As the state winner, Davidson will receive $200 from the Poetry Foundation and an expense-paid trip to the national championship.   Lewisburg Area High School will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books.
The runner up this year was Anna Voelker, a senior at Hampton High School in Allegheny County.  Voelker will be awarded $100, and the Hampton High School library will receive $200.

The twelve other regional finalists were:
  • Ean Ammerman, Grade 12, Sullivan County School District-Sullivan County
  • Lydia Berry, Grade 12, Altoona Area School District, Blair County
  • Catherine Bloom, Grade 12, Carlisle Area School District, Cumberland County
  • KiraJayne Nahree Burkhauser, Grade 10, Hermitage School District, Mercer County
  • Serene DeSeta, Grade 12, Abington Heights School District, Lackawanna County
  • Rachel Krunszyinsky, Grade 12, Greensburg Salem School District-Westmoreland County
  • Joseph Kukula, Grade 12, Blairsville-Saltsburg School District, Indiana County
  • Aaron Preston, Grade 11, Reading School District-Berks County
  • Tatiana Purnell, Grade 11, Mercersburg Academy, Franklin County
  • Pratiti Roy, Grade 12, State College Area School District, Centre County
  • Nirvikar Singh, Grade 10, William Penn Charter SchoolPhiladelphia County
  • Alexa Vaghenas, Grade 10, Stroudsburg Area School District, Monroe County
In total, 10,000 high school-aged students from 110 high schools statewide participated in this year's competition. 

Poetry Out Loud is supported by the program's creators, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.  In Pennsylvania it is hosted by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

PAEA K-12 Youth Art Month Exhibit

The K-12 Youth Art Month Exhibit sponsored by the Pennsylvania Art Education Association is at the Pennsylvania Department of Education in Harrisburg through April 11.  There are 218 artworks representing students K-12 from across the Commonwealth.  The exhibit is open to the public Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.  An artist reception was held on March 22 to honor the students' accomplishments.

One of the YAM artists and his or her artwork will be acknowledged again in Harrisburg on October 2, during our fourth annual Arts and Education Symposium.

White House Film Festival
On February 28, President Obama hosted the first-ever White House Student Film Festival.  Late last year, the White House tasked students with creating short films answering the prompt: What role does technology play in your education?  Of the 2,500 submissions received, the White House chose 16 Official Selections to screen during the Festival.  Click here to watch the 16 official selections as well as the honorable mentions.

ArtPlace America Grant Finalists
On February 27, ArtPlace America announced the 97 projects that have been selected as finalists to be considered for the 2014 grants to support creative placemaking.  

Nine organizations from Pennsylvania were among the finalists.  In total, ArtPlace received 1270 letters of inquiry.
Project Title
Artists Among UsArtsQuestBethlehem
Across the CanalPhiladelphia Chinatown Development CorporationPhiladelphia
Camino de Artes: The 5th Street Arts CorridorNueva Esperanza, Inc.Philadelphia
Pearl StreetAsian Arts InitiativePhiladelphia
PopUp Place: A Collaboration of DesignPhiladelphia and Friends of the Rail ParkPhiladelphia Center for ArchitecturePhiladelphia
Restaurant XTheresa RosePhiladelphia
SPACES: Artists-In-Residency-Program at The Village of Arts and HumanitiesThe Village of Arts and HumanitiesPhiladelphia
Taller Puertorriqueo: Building Community Through ArtTaller Puertorriqueo
Transforming Dilworth Plaza with PulseCenter City District FoundationPhiladelphia


ArtPlace's grantees will be announced in June.  To date, ArtPlace has invested $42.1 million to 134 projects in 80 communities of all sizes across the US.


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