How you get your supplies...or your money for supplies is always a hot topic when art teachers get together for any length of time! There are many blessed in our area (Middle TN) with great budgets for art supplies. This is not the case EVERYWHERE...and it varies greatly even within Middle TN. Actually, it varies greatly within our district! (which is a topic for another post?!?!)
So where does money come from?!? Oh how I wish it grew on trees!!! The first place to look is from your school administration. If they hold the purse strings..they are the ones to ask. It might be good to ask around to find out how money is dispensed & the history of funding for classroom teachers & special area teachers before speaking to your principal. You need to make sure you don't have unrealistic expectations for your school...and possibly offend those who control the $$!
The hope would be that the school will give you a per-pupil amount that could fund your program for the year. When I first started teaching in Nashville, we were given $3 a child. That was 18 yrs ago, and was a pretty nice amount. However, the past few years I've received less than $3 a child. That is hard when you think a ream of paper use to cost $9...but now is $14.
Some schools will give their art teacher a lump amount. If the lump amount is large...AWESOME! However, many times that is not the case. Teachers need to pursue other avenues of funding if little or no money is given them. Crowd sourcing sites are abundant. Some are better than others...and you'll need to do some investigating if that is the direction you want to go. You need to find out how your school district handles such things also...because that could come back to bite ya in the butt!! So talk with your school book keeper/secretary. They should be able to tell you the district policies on such things. If website fund raising isn't for you....you may want to go a more traditional! There are many are related school fund raisers out there. Once again...you need to to check with your book keeper...or principal about the ability to do such a thing. I am not allowed to do such fund raising. We have 2 main fund raisers in our school a year...and they are done by the PTO.
Asking parents & community members for supplies...both new or recycled materials is also a way to accumulate things! The problem with this is it is inconsistent. However, if you are in a situation where no money is being given you....you could probably make it work!! If you are working with a limited budget...think of what items you'll be able to receive for little to no cost.....and what items are a must purchase. You have to have the priority items to make your art curriculum work....and hopefully if your school is giving you any funds..it will be enough to cover those (at least!!!).
Get involved in your community!! I've had businesses, individuals, and churches "adopt" me...and they've collected supplies for my program. They might not always be what I'd buy, but something is better than nothing...and I'm always appreciative of people wanting to be a part!!
Grants are few and far between, but possible!! Keep and eye out...and it never hurts to try!
Honestly though...I don't want to have to raise funds for art supplies if possible. I think that a school should want to fund the arts!! If I start raising money for the basic needs...then they will not see a need to support me & what I'm doing with my students!! (I know..ideal thinking!!)