The Arts Education for All Act, PLACE, and HBCUs Arts Education Act

By Zachary Keita, NAfME Advocacy and Public Policy Communications Manager

National Arts in Education Week (September 10-16, 2023) was a time for advocates of all arts disciplines to come together in support of the transformative power of the arts in education and the benefits provided by artistic learning, innovative thinking, and fostering creativity in our youth. To celebrate National Arts in Education Week, there was a flurry of activity in Congress around supporting music and the arts, the activity in September culminated with the introduction of the Arts Education for All Act by Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), which is one of the most comprehensive bills focused on expanding access to the arts. In addition to the Arts Education for All Act, several congressional offices are working to introduce legislation that would further support diversity in the arts, arts educators, and the creative economy. The National Association for Music Education is proud to have played a role in the development of those bills, and we are happy to announce our endorsement of the Arts Education for All Act, the Promote Local Arts and Creative Economy Workforce Act, and the Historically Black Colleges & Universities Arts Education Act.

Arts Education for All Act

Introduced by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), the Arts Education for All Act (H.R. 5463) is one of the most comprehensive arts education bills introduced in the 118th Congress. This legislation seeks to support the arts in early childcare, K-12, and juvenile justice education by further clarifying the eligibility of federal funding streams to support arts education and requiring states to collect data on arts programs that will influence the development of evidence-based strategies to increase access to arts education programs. Specifically, the Arts Education for All Act would:

  • Improve arts programming in caregiving and early education by clarifying that Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funding can be used for arts programming;
  • Provide support for arts access in K-12 schools by expanding Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) state plan requirements to direct states to describe how they will support and encourage arts education to improve student achievement in all subjects, including by creating partnerships with nonprofit arts organizations to promote arts programming in schools;
  • Prioritize professional development for arts educators by amending ESEA to guarantee professional development for arts educators and for other educators about integrating the arts in their instruction;
  • Increase the usability and accessibility of data on access to arts education by directing research activities on arts and arts education at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and reinstating the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in the Arts;
  • Integrate the arts in afterschool and summer learning programs by reinforcing the ability of 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLCs) to work with nonprofit arts organizations to develop and implement arts education programs;
  • Facilitate arts education in the justice system by requiring state plans under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) to describe how the state will coordinate services and activities for juvenile justice and delinquency prevention with arts agencies and arts organizations; and
  • Allows arts education to be used for reentry and recidivism reduction efforts by connecting adults involved in the justice system to educational opportunities and employment after reentry.

Promote Local Arts and Creative Economy Workforce Act (PLACE)

In 2021, the creative economy accounted for $1.016 trillion of the U.S GDP and provided 4.19 million jobs. To modernize the U.S workforce and tap into the potential of the creative economy Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME-01) plan to introduce the PLACE Act. The PLACE Act was developed in recognition of the growing importance of the creative economy and the need to empower workers in that space, especially those from diverse backgrounds. To bolster the creative economy and provide more opportunities to the creative workforce, the PLACE Act would:

  • Establish an interagency council between the Department of Labor and the Department of Education, to encourage the development of the creative economy;
  • Adapt state and local workforce plans, Native American Programs, Dislocated Worker Grants, Corrections Education, Small Business Technical Assistance, Career and Technical Education, Work Study, Economic Adjustment, and Veterans affairs programs under Title 38 to include, promote, and strengthen the creative economy workforce;
  • Encourage the Foreign Commercial Service to stimulate the export of creative economy goods;
  • Ensure that the creative economy is taken into consideration in the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee’s annual governmentwide strategic plan;
  • Promote collaboration between the International Trade Administration and the United States Postal Service on how to better connect microenterprises and small businesses to fast, reliable international shipping services;
  • Provide tailored access to Export-Import Bank services for creative economy businesses;
  • Expand the export promotion of creative products created by American Indian tribes to include products created by American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian owned businesses;
  • Support job creation through creative economy wage-subsidy and apprenticeship grants;
  • Update the tax code to provide robust deductions for artists’ works and the performing artists tax credit; and
  • Allow creative economy workers and businesses the same FEMA disaster benefits as those in other sectors.

Historically Black Colleges & Universities Arts Education Act

The HBCU Arts Education Act, introduced by Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12), recognizes the lack of representation for artists from diverse backgrounds and how the chronic underfunding of HBCUs has contributed to this issue. In an effort to increase the representation of artists from diverse backgrounds, this bill seeks to bolster support for arts, arts education, and cultural studies students at HBCUs. Specifically, this bill would:

  • Provide financial assistance to students in arts, arts education, and cultural programs;
  • Establish outreach programs and development offices for arts, arts education, and cultural departments;
  • Provide comprehensive wrap around services for arts, arts education, and cultural students, including faculty and peer mentorship, work-based learning opportunities, guidance counseling and career advising; and
  • Provide apprenticeships, internships, and fellowship opportunities to arts, arts education, and cultural programs through partnerships with nonprofit organizations.

If enacted, these bills have the potential to change the landscape of arts education in the United States, ensuring that the arts have equal footing in the development of state plans, providing more opportunities in the arts for artists from diverse backgrounds, and making the creative economy a more attractive option and lucrative career path for individuals. NAfME is proud to support the Arts Education for All, PLACE, and HBCU Arts Education act. We look forward to working with members of Congress to pass these important pieces of legislation that seek to strengthen the arts, both in schools and as a career path.

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April 2024 Teaching Music

Published Date

October 25, 2023


  • Advocacy
  • Federal Advocacy & Public Policy


October 25, 2023. © National Association for Music Education (

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