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Your arts program could win $10,000 and an invitation to the White House

By Rachel Clark

Des Moines Public Schools students showed off their artistic talents at their 2016 Lights On Afterschool celebration.

The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities is currently seeking applicants for the 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. According to the Committee, the award is “the nation’s highest honor for out-of-school arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America’s young people, particularly those from underserved communities.”

12 outstanding programs from a wide range of communities across the country will be recognized with a $10,000 grant, an invitation to accept the award at the White House, and a full year of capacity-building and communications support to ensure their programming will benefit youth for years to come.

Who’s eligible?

The short answer: many afterschool programs!

The eligibility criteria specify that applicants must operate as ongoing, regularly-scheduled programs for children and youth outside of the school day, using one or more disciplines of the arts or humanities as the core content of their programs, and must concentrate on underserved children and youth. The programming must involve children and youth as active participants, rather than only as an audience for arts or humanities experiences, and must integrate arts and humanities education with youth development goals.

Additionally, programs must have been operational since January 2013 for a minimum of five years, including 2017, and must be a 501(c)(3) organization, state or local government entity, or federally recognized tribal community or tribe.

How to apply

Review the award’s selection criteria, then fill out the Committee’s online application.

To complete the application, you’ll need basic information about your program, a narrative explaining how your program fits the selection criteria, resumes for at least one and up to three program staff, three letters of recommendation, and three photos of the program in action that were taken in the last three years.

Don’t have time to complete the application in one sitting? It can easily be saved as a draft for completion at a later date. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 5:00PM PST.

Past awardees

If you’re looking for inspiration to craft your program’s narrative for your application, the Committee’s website highlights awardees dating back to 1998.

2016 awardees included:

  • Tribal Youth Ambassadors: 9- to 24-year-old Native youth are mentored by multigenerational instructors at the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center as they “develop educational programs and exhibits that relate the rich history, culture, and contributions of California Indians.”
  • AileyCamp Miami: Each year, this program offers 100 public middle school students the opportunity to explore four types of dance while also providing communication and personal development classes. Students “learn a diverse range of dance forms, while making connections among art, body awareness, and healthful choices.”
  • Subway Sleuths: Created by the New York Transit Museum, this program “enables 7- to 11-year-olds with Autism Spectrum Disorder to explore the Museum and its collections, while making friends, developing social skills they will need in school, and building self-confidence through special educational experiences … Among other activities, students design train stations and subway cars; go on scavenger hunts to locate historical artifacts; and study archival documents, such as photographs and maps.”
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learn more about: Funding Opportunity Arts