The arts are essential. They teach students innumerable lessons—practice makes perfect, small differences can have large effects, collaboration leads to creativity. The arts also teach children that there a several paths to take when approaching problems and that all problems can have more than one solution.

Research has also shown impressive benefits of arts education on entire school culture—especially student motivation, attitudes, and attendance. Numerous reports discuss the ways that increased access and involvement in arts education encourage students to stay in school, succeed in school, succeed in life, and succeed in work.

And yet, despite the impressive benefits of arts education, not every student has access to these quality learning experiences. Below are some talking points about both the importance of arts education, as well as the decline of arts education in our country.

Want to jump in? Download our e-book Getting Started!

Learn More

Browse our tools and resources to get started in supporting arts education in your community:

  • Arts Education Navigator Series
    This series of e-books is designed to help educators, students, and advocates alike navigate the complex field of arts education. Each e-book in the Navigator series covers a specific topic, ensuring arts education supporters like you are equipped with the knowledge, statistics, and case-making techniques needed to effectively communicate with decision-makers.
  • Arts Education Field Guide
    This duo of a brochure and full report describes the ecosystem of partners, players, and policymakers in the field of arts education. It will help you to find the connections and partnerships that will strengthen arts education in your community.
  • 10 Simple Ways
    What if your child's school doesn't provide classes in art, music, dance, and theater? Check out our 10 simple ways to get more arts into your child’s life!
  • Questions to Ask
    Need to know what questions to ask your education leaders to determine the quality of your school or district's arts program? Use our benchmarks to gauge how serious your school's commitment is to arts education.
  • Family Activities
    We all know that learning begins at home. So much of what kids learn comes from watching their parents and taking part in family activities. We've put together some simple ideas to help your child enjoy the arts.
  • Teaching Artist Companion
    Teaching artists are engaging youth in artmaking to promote positive change in their communities. This companion to Aesthetic Perspectives: Attributes of Excellence in Arts for Change, by Dennie Palmer Wolf and Jeannette Rodríguez Píneda shares how teaching artists and institutions that support them are activating the values in the Aesthetic Perspectives framework.

Take Action

Let your mighty voice be heard! Tell education leaders why you think the arts are an important aspect of students’ lives. Check out these two ways to be a part of the solution:

  • Keep the Arts in Public Schools
    Join this community of people dedicated to supporting the arts as part of a well-rounded education for all students. Share stories, photos, and videos from across the country with other arts supporters and pledge to take action locally with the tools shared on this platform.
  • Arts Action Fund
    Find elected officials, including the president, members of Congress, governors, state legislators, and local officials, and contact them directly through our action center. Send the message to our decision-makers that arts education matters to you!
  • ARTS EDxchange
    Americans for the Arts is home to the International Arts Education Research and Resource Exchange – or ARTS EDxchange – a digital platform fostering engagement and collaboration between arts educators and practitioners from around the world. Open to Americans for the Arts members and non-members alike, ARTS EDxchange is the first international arts education listserv, allowing subscribers the opportunity to share their work with a global audience and access resources on the cutting edge of arts and cultural education.

Show Support

A donation to our cause will help us ensure that other arts supporters like you have all the tools and resources they need in order to effectively convey the importance of arts education to anyone.

Americans for the Arts envisions a country where everyone has access to—and takes part in—high quality and lifelong learning experiences in the arts, both in school and in the community. If you support this vision, please consider a donation to support our ongoing work to reach it.


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Would you like to take on an active role as a member of Americans for the Arts? Or know of a standout arts professional from your community whose ideas could benefit the field? Americans for the Arts wants you! Nomination deadline is Oct. 4, 2019.

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The US House of Representatives formally recognized this year's celebration of National Arts in Education Week during a session on September 11, 2019. Representative Chellie Pingree of Maine, who also serves as co-chair of the bi-partisan Congressional Arts Caucus, offered remarks to mark the occassion.

Aug 19, 2019

The National Assessment Governing Board unexpectedly announced a substantial change to their 10-year schedule for administering the "Nation's Report Card" in various subjects, including the arts. An open response letter, drafted by Americans for the Arts and other organizations, is available for any education/arts education organization to sign-on.

Photo of Dr. Kymberly M. Cruz
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Neuroscience has demonstrated that listening to or playing music has a real effect on brain waves and patterns. This is most directly applicable to music therapy, but what about music education? Current research implies that studying music can help children develop spatial reasoning and listening skills and improve their concentration, but more study is needed to fully understand this relationship.
Nov 18, 2019

For the past decade or so, there’s been a renewed emphasis on arts education. When many schools reduced or did away with extracurricular courses such as band, dance, and visual arts, one effect seen was students less engaged and less likely to hone skills such as critical thinking, collaboration and creativity.

Nov 07, 2019

Implicit bias and other structural impediments mean that we open fewer doors to girls, students of color and kids from low-income and rural communities. When they don’t engage deeply in STEM, we all lose. But the arts have always been a haven for the otherwise marginalized, and arts education connected to STEM can open many possible doors. 

A Shared Endeavor: Arts Education for America’s Students
The inequity of access to quality arts education must be addressed.
A Shared Endeavor

Americans for the Arts recently joined 12 arts and education advocacy groups to release A Shared Endeavor: Arts Education for America’s Students.

This statement articulates the purpose and value of arts education in the balanced curriculum of all students, asserts its place as a core academic subject area, and details how sequential arts learning can be supported by rigorous national standards and assessments.

The model is predicated on the convergence the skills and expertise of several members of the arts education ecosystem: arts educators, community arts organizations and non-arts educators.