NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced Thursday that a partnership with the Country Music Association (CMA) Foundation to launch a $1 million competitive grant opportunity focused on expanding students’ access to high-quality music and arts education.
Tennessee: State of the Arts is a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership to ensure more students across the state of Tennessee will have access to a quality arts and music education. School districts in Tennessee will have the opportunity to apply for funding to improve or develop their music education programs. The statewide initiative will kick-off with the 2018-19 school year.
“I am grateful to the CMA Foundation for this generous investment that builds upon Tennessee’s deep roots in music history by bolstering music and arts education programs across the state,” Haslam said. “Research shows that music and arts education enhances students’ overall academic performance and improves their attendance and engagement in school, building well- rounded students ready to compete in tomorrow’s workforce.”
In its first year, State of the Arts grants will be awarded to as many as eight districts across the state. The three-year grants will be administered by the Tennessee Department of Education and may fund a range of strategies including, but not limited to:
- Professional development for music teachers;
- Additional arts and music supplies; or
- Materials and equipment used to address equity challenges, or expansion of local arts educational outreach
“We understand the tremendous impact a quality music education can have on a student’s academic achievement and social development, yet we still hear that music programs are underfunded and educators do not have the resources they need to create a thriving program,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA’s CEO. “By partnering with the State of Tennessee and the Department of Education, we will be able to curate a model for a statewide arts initiative that will impact children across the state of Tennessee — ensuring they have access to a quality music education model as we work to bring music to children across the country.”
Martina McBride related that her own education was in a rural setting with little money left for a music program. But now proceeds from the CMAFest will help to raise money for arts in education. Said McBride, “The CMA Music Festival is one of my favorite things ever. It is a chance for us as artists to say ‘thank you’ to the fans.”
The CMA Foundation has invested more than $21 million across all 50 states.
Also on hand was Tennessee’s Education Commissioner, Candice McQueen. She stated that “the time is right for music education as we have put a lot of emphasis over the last decade setting high expectations for all content areas. We want to make sure that we haven’t forgotten that the arts actually support those high expectations.”
She continued, “We are thrilled to have received the $1 million dollars where we can hire a coordinator within the Tennessee Department of Education who is thinking about Arts Education every day. This is a great day for Tennessee.”
McQueen’s comments were fondly received by the music educators in attendance.
More information about State of the Arts can be found here. Grant applications will be made available by the Tennessee Department of Education in July 2018.
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Bethany Bowman is an entertainment writer for the Tennessee Star.