Where’s the Money Going?

As a student who has been in arts magnet programs for years, the topic of funding has never been interesting to me. I was always too focused on my work to really pay any attention to it, but now after doing research and looking into the topic more, I’ve realized how important funding is.

Just imagine what an arts program would be like if there weren’t enough supplies for the students, or if there weren’t enough teachers, or if there weren’t any opportunities for the students to express themselves outside of school. It’s not like there’s an unlimited amount of these resources to go around, and a lack of money can keep any arts program from being great. If the funding is lacking, then the supplies are very limited, which can really bring the number of projects down to almost none. But if an art program has substantial funding, the teachers can do a lot more interesting and fun projects. 

For arts education programs in the state of Alabama, the funding is part of the state’s education budget. And for the past three years, that funding has increased. It went from $600,000 to $800,000, and now it’s at $1,300,000. Why has the funding increased? I found myself asking. And where’s the money going? To get answers on this, and about arts funding in general, I interviewed two experts on the matter, Andy Meadows with the Alabama State Department of Education and Diana Green with the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

To read the interviews, click the following links:

Andy Meadows
Diana Green
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The Art Studio, in Auburn

Being able to go inside an art studio is great, but seeing your own art in the studio is even better!  There is so much to think about in making a work of art: Why was it made? What story does it have? What inspired the artist to make it? And if you’re interested in making art, there are thing you can pick up in an art studio that you just can’t in an art class at school.

The Art Studio in Auburn was founded by Michelle Motley Giddens, who is passionate about art. The studio offers private classes, for those seeking to perfect a specific skill, and they also offer more general classes. All About Art and Drawing and Painting for kindergarteners through fifth graders, Studio Time for students in grades six and up, and workshops on Saturdays.

In All About Art, which meets on Tuesday at 4:00 P.M, students work with watercolors, fiber, printmaking and more/ The Drawing and Painting classes are held on Wednesdays at 3:30 P.M and offer lessons in the fundamentals of drawing and painting which includes still- life, landscape, and portraiture. (Classes like these will enhance your ideas and make them look better than cut and paste!) Studio Time on Wednesdays at 4:30 P.M. This is drawing and painting as well, but focuses on the students who want to excel and learn specific media and techniques with mastery of concepts. Space is limited for all of these classes. The Art Studio also offers the School Day Out Camp. This camp only allows twelve kids, who get to do independent and hands-on work.

The lady behind all of this, Michelle Motley Giddens, is former middle school teacher who has a BA in communication from Auburn University and also studied art in Cortona, Italy. She lives on a farm outside of Auburn, with her husband and two children. When she was a stay-at-home mom, she continued to make her art showing her works at the local art gallery, but she continued to be asked when she would teach another class. Those first art classes started small, but since then The Art Studio was born!

“When the youngest is in school full-time I plan to expand my classes, offering more classes, adding classes for adults and hiring teachers.” Mrs. Giddens expressed. She currently does this part time. She feels strongly about being at home with her kids, but more classes will come in the future.

For more information about The Art Studio, visit their website.


[Artwork reproduced with permission.]