Earlier this year, we looked at an emerging sales pitch employed by arts organizations vying for foundation dollars. It's simple: In an era of standardized testing madness, the arts help improve test scores.
For example, when Atlanta's Woodruff Arts Center netted a $6.6 million grant from the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation to support Art From the Start, a new three-year program designed to "better connect families and students with the arts center's art and arts education offerings," the center's vice president of advancement Janine Musholt said, "We know that exposure to the arts benefits students in a variety of ways, from improved test scores to a better understanding of the world around them."
Musholt isn't the only one with a matter-of-fact attitude toward the obvious link between arts education and improved test scores. Take the Holliston, MA-based Classics for Kids Foundation. Its mission statement is simple. It believes that playing a stringed instrument "can transform a child, giving them experiences and skills that can help make them more successful in life."
But of course, there's more. The foundation's website notes that studies show that kids who play a stringed instrument enjoy more parental involvement at school, develop better self-discipline, and score higher on standardized tests. And so the foundation acts as a buffer for potential budget cuts by providing schools with matching grants for beautiful new stringed instruments.
The program is open to K-12 schools or nonprofit organizations that believe in the role of fine instruments in their programs and can show evidence of need and commitment to raising matching funds. The foundation is now accepting applications from schools and nonprofit organizations that can show "evidence of need and commitment to raising matching funds." Grants will not exceed 50 percent of the total instrument costs.
The foundation accepts grant applications on a quarterly basis. The next deadline is June 30th. Click here to apply.
And while we're on the topic, also check out how the League of American Orchestras is boosting interest in classical music among kids thanks to a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.