TDOE and the CMA Foundation Award ‘State of the Arts’ Music Grants from $1 Million Dollar Investment

New Arts Education Grants will Expand Access to High-Quality Music Education in Every Region of the State
Friday, March 01, 2019 | 01:44pm

NASHVILLE—Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn today announced the eight school districts selected to receive grants as part of Tennessee’s ‘State of the Arts’ music grants in partnership with the Country Music Association (CMA) Foundation. This new, competitive grant opportunity is focused on expanding students’ access to high-quality music and arts education statewide and was made possible by a $1 million investment from the CMA Foundation.

“Time and again, research has shown that the impact of arts education goes beyond the four walls of that classroom and ultimately impacts the academic performance of students in all subject areas, ” said Schwinn. “I believe that all of Tennessee’s children should have access to a robust arts program in their neighborhood schools and these grants are helping us get one step closer to that vision.”

“Arts education, especially music, continues to be a driving factor in student success both at school and in their communities, helping to shape our next generation to be collaborative, forward-thinking leaders,” said Tiffany Kerns, executive director, CMA Foundation. “It is critical that music education be included in curriculum as we believe it is vital to a well-rounded education for students today and in the future. This grant program will allow us to evaluate promising practices across the state, and in different regions, to better create a model that can be implemented and tracked for success.”

The newly created ‘State of the Arts’ music grant program will fund initiatives and strategies that will expand students’ access to high-quality music education. Types of strategies include: professional development for music teachers; additional music supplies, materials, and equipment to address equity challenges; or expansion of local music education outreach programs.

The eight ‘State of the Arts’ music grant recipients representing every major region of Tennessee are:

  • Greene County Schools
  • Sevier County Schools
  • Bradley County Schools
  • Warren County Schools
  • Rutherford County Schools
  • Coffee County Schools
  • Gibson County Special School District
  • Shelby County Schools

‘State of the Arts’ music grant recipients were selected through a rigorous and competitive application process. Applications were submitted from across the state — representing rural, suburban, and urban school districts. Those applications were reviewed and scored by a panel of music education and grant experts. Applications were reviewed and scored with a rubric evaluating qualifications, identified needs, impact strategies, and capacity. The review panel identified a number of finalist districts from each CORE region. Application writers/project managers/music teachers from each Finalist districts participated in an interview process to further discuss and explore the district’s goals, needs, strategies, community engagement, and capacity to implement the grant. After the interview, the review panel was consulted for a final decision on award districts to identify districts with proposals that met the key priorities/criteria of the grant, demonstrated need, feasibility of impact strategies, and capacity to implement.

For media inquiries, please contact Chandler Hopper, deputy director of communications, at 615-248-7073 or For more information about the ‘State of the Arts’ music grants, visit the department’s website here.