What We're Reading: Pingree, Bonamici, Leger Fernández Introduce Legislation to Increase Access to Arts

In recognition of National Arts in Education Week, U.S. Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), and Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.) reintroduced legislation to increase access to the arts for students. 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.

“Despite the positive impact arts education has on children’s lives and well-being, the arts are often the first programs to be cut in schools. As ranking member of the Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees arts and humanities funding, and as co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Arts Caucus, I am continuously advocating for the arts in Congress. And while I’m grateful for existing federal support for arts education, programs should be more accessible for students and educators to get more involved,” said Congresswoman Pingree. “Fortunately, Mainers recognize that the arts are powerful tools for development and creativity—which is exemplified by our thriving and vibrant communities. Our Arts Education for All Act will help ensure our educators have the resources they need to maintain and expand arts programming so every American child – no matter their zip code or background – has access to an enriched, creative learning experience.”

The Arts Education for All Act will support and encourage arts education and programming for youth and adults in early learning centers, K-12 schools, and juvenile justice facilities by:

  • Improving arts programming in caregiving and early education 
  • Providing support for arts access in K-12 schools 
  • Making professional development for arts educators a priority
  • Increasing the usability and accessibility of data on access to arts education 
  • Integrating the arts in afterschool and summer learning programs 
  • Facilitating arts education in the justice system 
  • Allowing arts education to be used in reentry and recidivism reduction efforts 

A summary of the Arts Education for All Act can be found here.