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EdTA approved for first National Endowment for the Arts grant

Thespians singing on stage at the International Thespian Festival

The Educational Theatre Association has been approved for a $36,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant in support of the EdTA Model Curriculum Framework Project. The year-long initiative will pair 10 two-member teams of high school theatre educators and teaching artists who will create a standards-based curriculum framework and instructional units in targeted areas of theatre.  

EdTA’s NEA Art Works matching grant, the first it has been awarded, is part of the more than $25 million in grants that NEA Chairman Jane Chu approved on February 8 in the organization’s first major funding announcement for fiscal 2018. The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.

Chu said, “It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States. These NEA-supported projects, such as the EdTA’s Curriculum Framework Project, are good examples of how the arts prepare our children to succeed.”

EdTA Executive Director Julie Theobald said she was extremely proud that the organization had been selected for the grant. “We’ve come a long way in terms of creditability and stature in the last few years. We’re very grateful that the Endowment has seen fit to recognize our expertise in the field of theatre education.”

EdTA is accepting application for participation in the project February 15 to March 15. Complete guidelines and the application are available here. Applicants do not need to be members of the association.  

According to EdTA Director of Educational Policy, James Palmarini, the project is a key step towards the association’s goal of providing quality professional development for its members and the field of theatre education. “The goal is to expand instructional practice for both classroom educators and teaching artists. They both bring a lot to the table for this project—artistry, pedagogy, and a mutual desire to create the best possible learning opportunities for students engaged in theatre education.”

“Nearly 30 states have adopted new theatre standards in the last two years,” he continued. “To meet those standards, our teachers need a framework that articulates what is important to teach and learn in theatre. The goal of this project is to provide that and to suggest how theatre educators—classroom teachers and teaching artists alike—can measure the effectiveness of their teaching and the learning of students.”

Palmarini, who will manage the project, said that final selection of team members will be completed the first week of April, and that the project group will begin meeting in a series of training webinars the same month and convene in person in mid-July.

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