Evaluating a Decade of Arts Education Grantmaking

"What was the original goal of the arts education policy and advocacy grantmaking work?" That is one of the questions the education and policy firm, Education First, tackled after the Hewlett Foundation commissioned an evaluation of its arts education grantmaking over the past decade.

The report provides information on the history of the foundation’s arts education policy and advocacy grantmaking, major changes to California’s arts education policy landscape, and conclusions and implications for the program’s grantmaking strategy, among other topics.

The report found that grantees are seeing greater support for the arts in leadership. “We’ve made progress and should recognize that—the needle has moved here.” They also report that support for arts education has been bolstered by California’s Local Control Funding Formula and that “schools and districts are supporting arts more so than they would have in 2007.” However, grantees also noted that quality arts education is a long game, “many districts do not have a stable and strong pipeline of arts educators and arts education champions.” To continue moving the needle, the report continues, “new champions must be identified and trained constantly.”

In its conclusion, the authors point out:

By convening grantees so they could learn from each other, helping them get clear about their work, and aligning their objectives and fostering collaborations, the foundation has helped grantees build momentum and win several successes over the last decade. Indeed, according to one grantee, the foundation’s relationships with its grantees “has been key to this initiative.”

Additional questions explored in the evaluation include:

  • How did the strategies the foundation and its grantees pursued play out, and how did they change or evolve over time?
  • What were major successes and challenges?
  • What impact did the grantmaking have?
  • To read more details and the report, click here.

    The most recent podcast of GIA's Arts Advocacy series features Jessica Mele, program officer in Performing Arts at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Sam Massol, director of advocacy and engagement at the Center for Arts Education, moderated by Eddie Torres, Grantmakers in the Arts president and CEO. Click here to listen.

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