|Showcasing State Arts Agency Ingenuity|
New Arts Caucus Forming in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania legislature is in the process of forming a bipartisan, bicameral arts and culture caucus in the state's general assembly. Initiated by leaders from both the Democratic and Republican parties, the caucus plans to play a variety of roles:
- Support the drafting and passage of legislation advancing the arts and culture.
- Provide research and analysis on pending legislation.
- Provide periodic briefings on pertinent issues pertaining to the state's arts and culture infrastructure.
- Develop issue-specific talking points and materials for caucus members to use in public and with the media.
Rationale for the formulation of this new caucus cited the economic benefits of the arts to Pennsylvania as well as the impact of the arts on educational achievement. For more information, contact Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Executive Director Philip Horn.
Nebraska Arts Education Standards
The Nebraska Department of Education is developing a new set of standards for arts education in Nebraska schools, thanks to a special grant from the Nebraska Arts Council. The $46,100 award will support discipline-specific writing teams to develop formal student learning standards for dance, media arts, music, theater and visual arts. State chapters of the professional arts education associations will select team captains and members for each discipline. Although Nebraska has had voluntary arts curriculum guidelines in place for many years, this move will formalize standards for arts learning and support the efforts of schools, teachers and arts organizations to provide high-quality arts learning opportunities to all Nebraska students. The standards are expected to be completed by fall 2014. To learn more about this initiative, contact Nebraska Arts Council Director of Programs Marty Skomal.
South Carolina First Novel Competition
The biennial South Carolina First Novel Competition is a unique partnership between the South Carolina Arts Commission and Hub City Press, an award-winning nonprofit independent press in Spartanburg. The contest is a highly competitive, anonymous process that is designed to help launch the careers of exceptional South Carolina writers and put top-quality novels in the hands of readers. Unlike some first-novel contests that recognize already published novels, the South Carolina First Novel Competition calls for unpublished manuscripts and offers the winner a book contract and publication of 1,500 copies of the novel with national distribution. Previous competition winners have received critical and popular acclaim and have gone on to publish additional books. Contest winners (Brian Ray, Matt Matthews and Susan Tekulve) also have benefited from their works being read by the distinguished writers who have served as judges, including Percival Everett, Bret Lott and Josephine Humphreys. The most recent winner, In the Garden of Stone by Susan Tekulve, will be released in May 2013. For additional information, contact Sara June Goldstein at the South Carolina Arts Commission.