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Revitalizing Arts Education through Community-Wide Coordination

August 22, 200922 August 2009

Arts education

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This report examines examples of “collaboration and coordination among the different providers and influencers of arts education” in six large American cities. The report argues that a context of “pervasive neglect of arts education” in American schools has led to highly uneven access to arts education: “most children are given only a smattering of arts instruction, and some are given none at all”.

The six case study sites are attempting to change this, by working towards increasing access to arts education and improving its quality. Among the sites, some common activities include: research into the state of arts education in schools; establishing a goal of access to arts education for all students; strategic planning; developing a case for arts education; advocacy; finding and leveraging financial resources; as well as “building individual and organizational capacity”.

In all six cases, progress has been made, but the gains are “fragile”. Some key challenges remain, including: finding enough instructional time in a student’s day; space; support from parents, teachers, principals, policymakers and others; teacher training; scarcity of resources; and the marginalization of the arts in public policy.

The report argues that long-term success will depend on “committed and sustained leadership, sufficient resources, and a policy context that allows them to survive”.

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