Arts Education Funding

Learn about local funders for arts education and explore funding strategies for arts education in schools.

Funding Available for Education Relief

JUNE 2021: Unprecedented amounts of funding are being provided to school districts from both federal and state sources to support the challenging task of bringing students back to school and supporting their academic and emotional growth. Although spending timelines stretch several years out, plans are being created for these relief funds now.

CALL to ACTION: Ask your school and school district leaders, “How can I participate in the planning process for allocation of these funds?” “How can the arts be utilized to help our students?” Advocate for state mandated, inclusive, quality arts education for our students.

For example, federal funding for Elementary and Secondary Schools Education Relief (ESSER) will send 90% of $122 billion to schools through state and local agencies. These funds are to be used to improve attendance and student engagement, as well as support social emotional learning and learning loss. These programs will support closing learning gaps and addressing the many various needs that students, teachers, and families are facing as a result of the pandemic. In addition to ESSER, other sources include Senate Bill 117 and Assembly Bill 86 providing funds for In-Person Instruction and Expanded Learning Opportunities.

The Arts Education Alliance (AEA) reached out to all Sonoma County school districts requesting 25% of funds be put to work through the arts for students needs. The arts are a tool that schools can use to support social emotional health, address academic struggles, and improve attendance. We know from research such as the Sonoma County YouthTruth Survey that our students need support more than ever!

If students were not receiving a full and robust arts education, now is an opportunity, like no other, to increase access and quality. For established, rigorous arts programs, now is the time to plan, sustain, and grow those opportunities.

Suggestions made for use of those funds include, but are not limited to:

  • Make COVID-response arts materials available to sustain your arts programs: instrument covers, special masks, individual art kits/equipment, improved rehearsal spaces, devices for internet connectivity/software for instruction/assessment, digital subscriptions, etc.
  • Accelerate learning and SEL support this summer and into the fall with quality arts programming and professional development (PD):  Find programs in the Creative Sonoma Arts Education Program Directory
  • Support PD for Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) teachers to receive additional training and arts integration for K-5 classroom teachers: Consider Create Eastern Sierra Summer Arts Institute and iAspire Arts Integration Training
  • Provide for VAPA Triage to secondary arts programming: Allow arts teachers time to reconnect with students and recruit, pay for additional instruction through adjunct/private lessons teacher, or pay a stipend to a lead teacher to coordinate opportunities
  • Collaborate with other districts by bussing students to sites that have capacity to provide arts teachers/programming/workshops
  • Create a strategic plan to utilize arts in your district’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) with assistance from the AEA

LEARN MORE: (Information below can be applied to any arts program, not just music)

Creative Sonoma Grants and Awards


The Arts Education Alliance awarded consultancy awards to Guerneville and Horicon School Districts. These rural Sonoma County public school districts will receive customized consultation to develop a strategic arts plan to increase access and equity. Learn more HERE.


New grant program for nonprofit arts organizations to support programs that have either county-wide, neighborhood, or youth impact. More information coming in Fall 2021!


From Spring 2018 through December 2019, Creative Sonoma offered free teaching artist residencies to Sonoma County K-12 public schools in response to the October 2017 Wildfires. The residencies were based on best practices of trauma-informed arts instruction to build resilience and encourage empathy. To read more about the program, click HERE

Grant Makers in Education

Other Funding and Support


The Sonoma County Arts Education Alliance (AEA) provides consultations, as well as offers presentations to schools, school boards, parents, and community groups about options to support and sustain arts programming.

Title 1 Funding Strategies: Arts programs can help schools achieve the goals of Title I by facilitating student engagement and learning, strengthening parent involvement, and improving school climate and school wide behavior. 

Get involved with your Local Control Funding Formula.

  • Learn about sustainable funding options for arts in the schools through Local Control Funding Formula and Title 1 Funding in this AEA webinar from June 2020 found HERE.

Return to the main Arts Education page.