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Vision and Mission Statement
School Arts Team

Create a School Arts Plan
Collaboration with Arts Educators and School Faculty
Strategically Hire an Arts-Friendly Faculty
Involve Parents and Community
Provide Materials and Designate Arts Spaces in the School
Maintain Relationships with District Leadership
Produce Arts Events
Publicize and Promote Arts Events, Welcome Audiences
Funding, Grants, and Philanthropy
Online Resources for Administrators


Self-Assessment for Arts-Rich Schools
Students Involved in the Arts
Benefits of the Arts
10 Lessons the Arts Teach




Your vision statement should be short and memorable—easy for all stakeholders in your school and community to remember. Your mission statement should grow naturally from your vision. The following components can help you include the arts as you fulfill your vision and/or mission.


The school arts team (or arts committee) collaborates on creating and implementing a school arts plan. The school arts team could include:

  • school administrators
  • arts educators
  • core content specialists
  • parents
  • community representatives

The arts team meets to align the school improvement plan with:

  • curriculum
  • projects
  • performances
  • showcases
  • community activities

This team can work with the local city or state arts council, district arts coordinator, community council, and school PTA, as well as with other organizations who might provide support for key initiatives. The arts team can contribute significantly in identifying sources of supplemental funding, writing grants, and promoting philanthropic giving to support the school arts plan.

Questions You Might Want to Consider


Creating a specific plan for the arts at your school helps to ensure you track the progress in realizing your vision and mission. A school arts plan is created by the school arts team. It could include short-term, midrange, and long-term goals, and should be realistic and measurable, but also malleable. An inventory must be taken of teachers, parents, community members, and businesses to assess the depth and breadth of support for your vision and mission. This plan can be separate from, or included in, the school improvement plan.

The following statements were provided by the principal of one of our partnership schools:

Many Utah elementary schools include arts education in their school improvement plan. Here’s one principal’s strategy. How can this strategy benefit a secondary school?

“We made our school [arts plan] part of the school mission statement. Having it part of the mission statement has made it possible for me to include the arts in the school improvement plan. Having the arts a part of the school improvement plan gives me access to additional funding sources.”

– Kevin Pullan, Fox Hollow Principal

An arts plan includes strategies for improving the quality and quantity of arts education at your school. Strategies like the following might be included:

  • raising money for supplies or for an artist-in-residence program
  • planning a school arts night or coordinating arts events
  • hiring an arts specialist
  • designating and creating a dedicated space for arts instruction
  • providing teachers with opportunities for professional development in arts instruction
Questions You Might Want to Consider


Professional Learning Communities by Art Form

Teachers of the arts benefit from collaborating with other teachers who teach the same subject to establish indicators for student growth and discuss student achievement in the art form. This may require administrators to allocate time in contract hours for singleton arts teachers to attend district-level PLCs.

Cross Content Area Collaboration (In PLCs or individual partnerships)

Teachers of the arts are a great resource to teachers of other subjects where arts integration could enliven instruction, increase engagement, aid motivation, and incorporate performance-based assessment strategies.

Conversely, content area teachers provide meaningful information and resources to improve the content and theme of student art work. The school faculty is a resource of information to help teachers and students make connections and deepen meaning in their art work.

For example: A dance teacher may wish to create a concert centered on the theme of mathematical principles or lessons from history and seek help from teachers of those topics. A visual art assignment could be themed around science concepts students are studying in biology, earth science, chemistry, or physics. A student playing the role of a physicist in a play may need to interview the physics teacher.

Questions You Might Want to Consider


To support your arts vision, mission, and school arts plan, your faculty should include qualified arts educators as well as teachers of other subjects who are open and supportive of arts education and arts integration. The following qualifications are important to consider when hiring arts educators and content teachers at your school.


  • a secondary license in their art form, or a secondary license with a K–12 or secondary endorsement in their preferred art form
  • if candidates with the above qualifications are not in the hiring pool, consider a professional teaching artist seeking alternative route to licensure (ARL)
  • a secondary-licensed teacher who is qualified to pursue a state-approved endorsement plan in the art form


  • background in teaching the art form in secondary schools
  • professional experience creating, producing, presenting, or performing in their art form


  • What do you believe are the strengths of the current standards in your art form?
  • What does it mean to you to be an arts educator?
  • When you think about your typical day as an arts specialist, what tasks do you imagine yourself doing?
  • Explain what you believe to be the most accurate definition of arts integration.
  • If you are a successful arts educator at this school, how will I be able to tell at the end of the school year?
  • How do you see yourself working with professional learning teams?
  • Describe the classroom management strategies specific to teaching your art form?
  • Describe how you will facilitate and assess student learning through the creative process?


A rich arts culture in a school connects the community, staff, parents, and students in meaningful ways. In order to create an arts culture in your school, you may want to consider hiring faculty who are friendly to the arts and excited about collaboration with arts faculty.

Are you aware of any existing faculty who have college majors or minors in an art form, prior experience with arts education, or background or passion for a specific art form who could support the school improvement plan and student learning in artful ways? For example: do you have graphic designers who could help with publicity, creative writers who could tell the school’s stories, or photographers who could document arts events?


  • Describe the background or experiences you have had in the arts.
  • How would you use the arts to enhance your students’ learning?
  • If you could receive professional development in any art form, what art form would you chose and what would the workshop look like?
Questions You Might Want to Consider


Successful arts-rich schools create a culture where parents and community members are highly visible: routinely contributing their talents and skills in support of the school’s vision, mission, and plan for arts education. Their assistance can take many forms: leading or co-teaching arts projects before or after school; participating in planning and carrying out arts events; assuming leadership for fundraising initiatives; writing grants; working with publicity; maintaining arts resources on the school website etc. A parent or community member must be selected to serve as the arts representative on your school community council. (Advocacy materials to share with parents are provided in this resource.)

Questions You Might Want to Consider


Arts-rich schools provide their arts educators, students, and programs with ready access to needed supplies, materials, and space. Arts supplies and equipment need to be a part of your school’s annual budget. But it is also important to look for ancillary sources of materials and supplies that don’t tax your school’s budget. (Ideas for grants and fundraising are at the end of this section of the binder.)


The arts require specific materials which include, but are not limited to the following.

  • Music: instruments, digital music players and recording equipment (including cameras), music stands, amplification devices, uniforms, etc.
  • Dance: digital music players and recording devices (including cameras), stage production equipment, props, costumes, and accessories
  • Theatre: props, costumes and accessories, stage production equipment, movable curtains, digital music players and recording devices, amplification devices, sets and backdrops
  • Visual Arts: paper, drying racks, sinks, aprons, paint, chalk, tape, glue, pencils, erasers, clay, glaze, kilns, digital music players and recording devices
  • Media Arts: digital cameras, computers, boom microphones, recorders, video cameras, video and sound editing software


Arts instruction requires designated spaces that are designed for safety and full student engagement. Students need enough space to participate in both individual and group arts activities, where requisite supplies are readily accessible, where walls can display key curriculum ideas and art work, and where “sound bleed” does not impact adjacent classrooms. Students experience significant cognitive and emotional effects when they enter a space designated for arts experiences. The ideal arts space looks different for each school. Consult specialists in each art form to optimize the spaces in your facility or read about the national standards for arts classroom spaces in the “Opportunity-to-Learn Standards” found at https://www.nationalartsstandards.org/content/resources.

Questions You Might Want to Consider


Closely interfacing with district-level leadership is essential to the success of an arts-rich school.

District Arts Coordinator (DAC)

Meet with your DAC and find out how this individual and the district can support the arts at your school. DACs have information about arts events, training resources, and arts materials for teachers across art forms. Many of them have budgets to support teachers who want to participate in arts training and professional arts education conferences, as well as supplemental funding for busing students on field trips. Your DAC may have experience writing grants (e.g., to bring artists to your school through the Utah Division of Arts and Museums). Some DACs hold monthly meetings with arts representatives from each school. If these meetings occur in your district, send a member of your arts team to attend and subsequently report back to your school about upcoming arts opportunities in your area.

District Curriculum Consultants

Cultivating positive relationships with district-level curriculum consultants in all content areas (e.g., English language arts, math, science, social studies) helps build connections between arts instruction and district goals, curricula, and programs. Close partnerships can be formed to align school and district priorities, thus providing unified support for teachers. Conversations across curricular areas can also reveal enticing possibilities for integrated student learning.

Questions You Might Want to Consider


Showcasing student achievement in the arts—for peers, parents, and the public—is essential to building the culture and traditions of an arts-rich school. Below are a few ways you can assure that art making and art performing are visible and impactful.

Performances: A music, theatre, or dance performance can be presented by students to highlight their achievements in these arts. Performances may occur at a school arts night, during the school day, or at a more formal evening performance for parents and the community. Particular attention should be paid to the aesthetic experience of audiences. The aesthetic impact of a performance could be increased by using interesting and appropriate venues throughout the school (e.g., a classroom emptied of desks, a hallway, a foyer, a playground, etc.).

Exhibitions/Galleries: Students’ art work can be displayed in common areas such as hallways, cafeterias, and display cases, or perhaps a classroom or media center can be transformed for a short time into an art gallery for parents and students to enjoy during a school’s Arts Week or at an evening event such as Back-to-School Night or School Arts Night. Meaningful arts education yields powerful aesthetic artifacts—worth showcasing, worth sharing, and worth celebrating.

Informances: An informance is an informal (and informing) performance or exhibition created by students that focuses on process—thus is educational, entertaining, and casual. It is intended to showcase students’ academic progress in the arts. An informance might involve an art department or individual class performing for another department or class, a class performing for their parents during school hours, or small group performances for feeder schools.

Outreach: Professional arts education organizations and performing companies offer free matinees for students and guest artists to visit your school. Viewing professional work inspires student work and establishes standards of excellence. Receiving instruction from professional artists in the classroom broadens students' perspectives on the art form and creates connections with post-graduation opportunities in the arts. Your district arts coordinator should be able to provide you with more information on these programs and visit popsutah.org.

Questions You Might Want to Consider


In their formative role in shaping the arts culture at their schools, principals can initiate school-wide arts themes, share arts-related books, promote events at staff meetings, select arts topics to be treated in professional development sessions, etc. A looping video display at the entrance to the school might showcase art work and arts performances, inviting visitors to stop and experience a part of the school they might not have seen previously. Transforming school hallways into gallery spaces helps to publicize the arts as well as highlight and honor students’ artistic and creative achievements. An arts page on the school website or in the school yearbook can be similarly informative. Including an arts editor on the yearbook staff could assure documentation of artistic work in all art forms.

The arts are central to our experience as humans. Publicizing and promoting student creativity provides a window into what students know and can do, helping to demonstrate how important the arts are to student learning.

Questions You Might Want to Consider



Administrators let the school and community know how important arts performances and arts events are when they are the individual who welcomes the audience. Provide background knowledge by introducing or describing the performers, discussing the creative process, or addressing the content of the work. Teach or remind the audience about concert etiquette both verbally and by publishing reminders in the performance program. Inform the audience how to appropriately participate. Instruct them to watch the performers for cues and clues as to when laughter and verbal responses can be more gregarious than in most performances.

  • At music concerts, wait for the conductor to turn around before you applaud.
  • At theater and dance performances, watch the performers to signal when the idea has had appropriate time to pause before applauding. In performances when several genres are represented, and each has its own expectations regarding audience etiquette, you may need to provide additional information before certain sections or pieces of the performance. For example, a dance concert can contain both hip-hop and ballet pieces in the same concert and hip-hop culture celebrates the energy of a vocal audience, but contemporary, modern, and ballet performers are shown respect by being an attentive and silent audience.
  • Be sensitive to silent pauses or slowly fading music; clapping over the top of fading music may not be appropriate.
  • Authentic emotional responses are appropriate and are critical in validating a performer's efforts.


Schools often need to seek additional resources to offer exceptional arts-rich experiences to its students. Public and private funding sources are available to help. Writing grant requests and seeking philanthropic support from private donors or businesses do take time, and your school’s arts team can be a crucial support.

Don’t be discouraged if initial grant requests are not funded. In grant writing seek input, feedback, and involvement from stakeholders to secure the funding you need. Remember, one thing is predictable and consistent—100% of unwritten grants receive no funding.



POPS groups are professional arts organizations in Utah that receive funding from the Utah State Legislature to provide performances, workshops, demonstrations, and arts experiences for students in the K–12 schools. (Read details on services offered by POPS in each of the following art-form-specific sections or at popsutah.org.) POPS organizations also provide free and subsidized opportunities for teacher development in arts skills and pedagogy. Performance matinees, museum tours, and field trips are often free as well (however, busing costs may need to be covered by the school). Additionally, inclusive arts programing for students with disabilities is offered by Art Access (accessart.org) and the Inclusive Arts Festival.

UTAH DIVISION OF ARTS AND MUSEUMS (Visit artseducation.utah.gov for more details.)

UDAM encourages partnerships in the classroom between teachers and professional artists to increase active student engagement in the creative process by offering arts learning grants up to $7,000. Teachers are encouraged to partner with artists as a tool for professional development as well. UDAM also offers a Teacher-Initiated Project grant that gives teachers the opportunity to study one-on-one with a professional artist. TIPs provide teachers a chance to develop their skill and passion in the art form of their choice.

UDAM provides a limited number of site-specific professional development workshops in the arts. School faculty determine the discipline and instructional plan and UDAM funds the presenter. UDAM further partners with multiple arts organizations to offer professional development workshops in dance, music, theatre, and visual arts throughout the state.

UDAM maintains a roster of approved teaching artists in dance, music, theater, visual arts, media arts, folk arts, and creative writing. Artists are selected for both artistic and educational excellence. UDAM additionally offers technical assistance in writing grants, developing long-term arts education goals and access to prevailing research in arts education. Advocacy tools produced by UDAM such as the Ten Lessons the Arts Teach, the Arts/Science brochure, and a parent arts education advocacy booklet can be shipped to schools upon request.

Arts Learning Grant
  • provides funding for interactive and comprehensive arts education-based projects where a qualified teaching artist(s) works with a specific community population, organization, or school
  • $2,000–7,000
  • due in March
Teacher-Initiated Project Grant
  • provides opportunities for teachers or administrators to gain knowledge and skills in an artistic discipline of their choice by working one-on-one with an artist
  • up to $500
  • available year-round


  • offers funds for arts programs in Utah schools sponsored by individual PTA units, matching funds that local school PTAs provide for enhancing art programs for elementary and secondary students
  • May be requested to improve an existing arts program or to create a new one—including funds for supplies, musical scores, royalties and rights to scripts, costuming, theatrical props, etc.
  • up to $500 from Utah PTA, additional funds may be available from local PTA
  • due February 1

Your local arts council may be able to support your arts mission

  • West Jordan Arts Council
  • Spanish Fork Arts Council
  • Saratoga Springs Arts Council
  • Riverton Arts Council
  • Pleasant Grove Arts Commission
  • Peteetneet Arts Council in Payson
  • Orem Arts Council
  • Lehi City Arts Council
  • Highland City Arts Council
  • Herriman Arts Council
  • Draper Arts Council
  • Timpanogos Arts Foundation


Please follow your district policy regarding teachers and schools raising funds for the arts. Many districts have foundations that do fundraising for the district. Philanthropy could include donations from foundations, businesses, or individual donors who share your vision, mission, and values. Some philanthropic gifts can be substantial. These relationships often require cultivation, trust building, and time.

Crowdsourcing refers to a funding effort that raises small amounts of money from a large number of people, usually on the internet. The following crowdsource funding sites are specifically designed to help teachers solicit funds to purchase supplies, materials, and/or equipment to support their curricular and cocurricular work. Generally, teachers describe their projects, the intended educational outcomes, and the list of materials and resources they need in order to complete their project successfully. Donors from their community, from across the country, or from around the world can contribute funds to their project.

Questions You Might Want to Consider


National Arts Standards Website
The website for the National Core Arts Standards includes several resources to support administrators and leaders in arts education who are seeking to strengthen or build educational arts programs in their communities and schools. Below is a brief description of the available online resources. Resources can be found at www.nationalartsstandards.org/content/resources.

More Information on the Core Standards for the ArtsNCCAS Conceptual Framework
The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards has provided several documents that describe the development, purpose, intended goals, and theory behind the development and adoption of the National Core Arts Standards. As our state core standards are similarly organized and developed, this resource offers deeper insight into the curriculum that should be taught in educational arts programs and will aid in hiring, assessing, and supporting the arts educators at your school.

The College Board Research Documents www.collegeboard.org
The College Board created resources on this site to illuminate the connections between the core standards in the arts and other areas of education and child development, and provides preparation for post-graduation. The following topics are addressed in their online resources.

  • the connection between the core standards in the arts and the common core
  • the connection between the core standards in the arts and the development of twenty-first century skills (developed in partnership with P21)
  • a description of how the core standards in the arts are connected to college-level expectations in the arts
  • current research and best practices related to arts education and child development

Opportunity-to-Learn Student Standards
The national arts education organizations in dance, drama, music, and visual arts each provide approximately 20–40 pages of in-depth details regarding standards for curriculum planning, staffing, facilities, safety, and resources needed to support strong educational arts programs.

National Arts Education Organizations Advocacy Websites
Additional resources to support educational arts programs can be found at the following websites.