By Jim Speirs, Executive Director, Arts South Dakota

A new bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives calls for comprehensive legislation to increase access to arts education. The Arts Education for All Act will support and encourage arts education and programming for children, K-12 students, and youth and adults involved in the justice system. The legislation seeks to close existing gaps in access to arts education, which has the potential to improve the lifelong health and success of both children and adults.

This legislation is the broadest arts education policy bill ever introduced in Congress. It includes key provisions that will support and encourage offering arts education and programming experiences to a wider range of Americans than ever before. Importantly, the bill also includes provisions that would allow for rigorous arts and arts education research to be carried out to find new ways to improve elementary and secondary education in our country. 

The benefits of an arts education have been well established. Studies have proven that arts education increases literacy rates, advances math skills, contributes to better attendance records and generally benefits all aspects of learning. We know that arts education provides a foundation for skills such as problem solving, collaboration and confidence building. Simply put, arts education better prepares students for what lies ahead in life, and it is vital that all South Dakotans have access to creative learning. 

The Arts Education for All Act has been endorsed by Arts South Dakota, along with more than 100 national, state and local organizations, including Americans for the Arts, National Association of Music Merchants, and Grantmakers in the Arts. If you agree that this new act introduced in the House represents a way to expand and enhance arts education opportunities for South Dakotans, please contact Rep. Dusty Johnson and express your views!

Please visit for more about this and other arts advocacy opportunities.