Arts and Education Initiative

A Project of The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC)

In 2010, EPLC began its Arts and Education Initiative (AEI) based on the belief that:

  • All arts experiences provide opportunities for learning and that access to the arts in its many forms is essential to nurturing an educated citizenry in Pennsylvania.
  • PK-12 arts education programs and arts experiences for all youth are essential for their intrinsic value and because they support the broader educational goals of the Commonwealth.
  • Effective public policies can enhance access to the arts for all citizens, assure valuable arts educational experiences for all youth, and raise public awareness of the social and economic value of the arts in communities.

In March 2012, EPLC released a report, Creating Pennsylvania’s Future Through the Arts and Education, which includes a set of recommendations for policymakers and other audiences.  The report was intended to help build in Pennsylvania more awareness and support for the arts and arts education among policymakers, community leaders, and the general public.

The process leading to the Report included discussions by a 32-member Study Group, eight community forums, a Pennsylvania state policy inventory, an online discussion, surveys of several stakeholder groups, and a day-long Symposium in October 2011.

The Report was widely distributed in Pennsylvania and continues to help stimulate and inform discussions about the arts and arts education.  Special presentations were made to state policy leaders, and EPLC hosted regional community forums to promote discussion about the Report and its findings and recommendations. 

EPLC hosted its Annual Arts and Education Symposium each year from 2011 through 2017 at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, with statewide and local arts and education organizations participating every year. 

Stemming from a recommendation included in the Report, EPLC created the Pennsylvania Arts Education Network to help to support the Report’s recommendations.  The Network was a statewide coalition of arts, arts education, and advocacy organizations and individuals committed to working together to strengthen public and policymaker support for Arts Education in Pennsylvania.  Directed by a Steering Committee of influential arts and education organizations across the state, the Pennsylvania Arts Education Network was operated through EPLC.

The Arts and Education Initiative of EPLC was funded with a generous grant from The Heinz Endowments.