Discover Arts Education

Arts Education and Lifelong Learning

The Nebraska Arts Council champions the arts as basic to education and lifelong learning. NAC grant programs promote the arts for all pre-K-12 Nebraska students, support professional development opportunities for teachers and artists, encourage partnerships among arts and educational institutions, and nurture lifelong learning in the arts.

Nebraska’s Fine Arts Learning Standards ensure that K-12 educators and students have clear benchmarks for learning in Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts. Our young people deserve a comprehensive education, including the arts, that will help them navigate a complex world. At the other end of the spectrum, NAC’s Creative Aging in the Arts Program (CAAP) brings creativity and arts learning into the lives of older adults in our state.

2024 ArtsNOW Grants

[1/16/2024] Students across Nebraska will have access to projects in a wide range of arts through special grants awarded this year. The Arts NOW Grants are special one-time grant opportunities that were made possible by funding from the Nebraska Arts Council in partnership with the NDE and will provide $180,000 to 23 school districts impacting 79 schools throughout the state this spring. The projects will serve more than 20,000 students.

“We’re excited to offer support to our Nebraska schools, arts educators, and kids who learn and participate in arts education programs, ” said NDE Fine Arts Education Specialist Cody Talarico. The Arts NOW Grants differ from other arts grants by expanding what projects are available. “This program will allow items to enhance arts instruction that don’t necessarily qualify for our other grant programs,” said NAC program specialist Anne Alston. The Arts NOW Grant program reflects the creativity and innovation of arts educators, as well as the on-going need for arts education funding across the state.

The grant program is flexible and allows for projects in all of the arts subjects including media arts, visual arts, dance, music and theatre. Some of the projects include printmaking in the visual arts classroom, world music drumming, learning lightning design and how to run light boards for theatre, the creation and installation of a school-wide public art mural, the study of world musical genres including instruments from various cultures, and the creation of visual art and collaboration into a theatrical performance creation among others.

Grants ranged from $1,341 to $20,000 with the average award of $7,816 and span all grade levels including elementary, middle, and high schools. Some projects are even across school divisions where high school students will work with middle school students to present to the elementary school.

More information on the grants is available at

ArtsNOW Grants Grantee List

ESSER III funding and arts education

The Nebraska Commissioner of Education, Dr. Matthew Blomstedt, announced in May of 2021 that over $491 million dollars will be distributed to Nebraska school districts. These funds, part of the American Rescue Plan for schools (ESSER III), can support the arts during the school day and in after-school and summer programs. These funds can be used for programs that accelerate learning through evidence-based practices during the school day, as well as extended-year, summer, afterschool, and other out-of-school programs.

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Equity, Racial Justice, and Healing

NAC supports equitable education opportunities for learners throughout the state, along with efforts to actively address racial injustice. Educators seeking ways to promote tolerance and address racism will find useful tools in this list of resources.


for Educators