There has been much debate over the value of artistic education in schools. Those students who excel in art are motivated to stay in school and search for a productive career if art is shown to be important; indeed, demeaning the value of art and stifling a child’s creativity can be detrimental to a child’s future. Moreover, even those students who are not particularly gifted in art benefit from an art education. An education program that includes art helps develop problem solving and analytic skills, creative thinking and teamwork. It allows students to be more well-rounded individuals, able to observe situations from different perspectives.
Art education grants allow schools to carry out programs to this end. They also allow students to finance an education in the arts. Just as there are many forms of artistic education, so there are many forms of an art education grant. Photography is a major form of art and many education grants exist to further the teaching and studying of photography.
These grants need not be paid back, but the individual or institution seeking grant money must demonstrate why the money is needed and how the money will be put towards the goals of an art education grant. Photography, in this case, must be an integral part of the intended program. For individuals seeking money for post-secondary studies, oftentimes merely sending personal information is enough, though many more specific grants will need some kind of written statement explaining the need for the money. Often, individuals must meet residency, financial and academic needs to be eligible for an education grant and, at times, certain specific programs of study must be undertaken to be eligible for grant money.
In the case of institutions seeking grant money, the process is a bit more complex, involving a number of forms to be filled out and a proposal to be written to request an art education grant. Photography grant proposals must give some background information, the purpose of the grant, the need for the grant, where the grant will be used and for whom (the target population), the strategies to carry out the grant, the personnel employed, methods for evaluating the success of the project, and a budget. Depending on the specific project, then, there may be other, more particular, needs.
An art education grant, photography being the art stressed, can be donated by the federal or state government, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, research institutions, funding institutions, corporations, or private individuals. Grants.gov is an excellent place to start the search, which is a site listing all Federal grants available ($400 billion are available) as is Ed.gov, the home page of the US Department of Education.
Internet searches are helpful, and sites such as finaid.org, collegeanswer.com, and the Michigan State Library website are excellent sources for information regarding an art education grant. Photography grant opportunities can be researched by visiting your regional foundation library, located at most major universities. Your local library will also have books listing grant opportunities, and you can consult with the librarian if you have any questions. These kinds of books will also be available either at your high school counselor’s office or your university’s financial aid office. You can buy these books at book stores.