Los Angeles – Actors’ Equity Association, the national labor union representing more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers in live theatre, has voiced its support for The Arts and Music in Schools Ballot initiative that would generate roughly $900 million in funding each year towards arts education in California public schools. 

"Every child deserves an arts education. A love of the arts and understanding of its craft not only makes us better members of our communities, but can provide the groundwork for a lifelong career,” said Kate Shindle, president of Actors’ Equity Association. “Our governments can and should do more to create these opportunities for students. Crucially, this initiative recognizes the importance of inclusion in public arts funding, and will provide even more money to help students in schools from low income communities, where it is needed most. We are hopeful that Californians will be able to vote to enact this measure come November.”

The Arts and Music in Schools measure seeks to increase funding for arts and music education in all PreK-12 public schools in California. It provides additional funding dedicated to arts and music education equivalent to 1% of the state’s existing K-12 annual investment, generating roughly $900 million in funding each year. The Los Angeles Unified School District Board, representing the largest district in the state recently voted unanimously to endorse the measure.

“The effort will improve the lives of more than 6 million students in public schools across California by making sure they have access to arts and music education at school,” said Austin Beutner, chairman of Californians for Arts and Music in Public Schools and proponent of the ballot initiative. “We’re grateful to have the support of Actors' Equity Association and their members in the effort.”

The initiative is currently collecting signatures on a petition for inclusion on the November 2022 ballot. To Learn More about this effort and sign up for updates and volunteer opportunities, please visit:

Background: Last year, Equity and other arts and entertainment unions thanked the state of California for increasing funding for small live arts employers. 

Equity also recently released a study that examines public arts initiatives and offers recommendations on how they can encourage diversity and inclusion in the programs they support. 

On a national level, Equity supports funding the National Endowment for the Arts at $331 million, or a dollar per capita.

ACTORS' EQUITY ASSOCIATION, founded in 1913, is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers. Equity endeavors to advance the careers of its members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits (health and pension included). Member: AFL-CIO, FIA.  #EquityWorks  

March 2, 2022