Tuesday, June 29, 2010


"Education without the arts would be an impoverished enterprise" Elliot W. Eisner
Arts advocacy is an integral part of our daily teaching; it is as important as everything else we do in our programs. Arts education is a cornerstone of basic education. The process of studying and creating in the arts is at the essence of all learning. By studying the arts, students can develop capacities for critical thinking and problem solving. The arts contribute to intellectual capacities that are different from, but complement traditional subjects, thus making the arts essential to the comprehensive "core curriculum."

The arts are the most glorious manifestation of human existence. The various forms represent what humans have created to express their feelings, values, aspirations, and visions. The presence of a quality visual art program in a school makes it possible for children to learn how to read and understand the images the arts provide. This knowledge helps children learn how to communicate with images in an increasingly visual world. Through the arts, children are exposed to diversity across time and cultures.

Ongoing brain research and multiple intelligence theory provide evidence to support the importance of the arts. The arts can provide a way for teachers to reach all students and at the same time be the connection to all other subjects. One of the most important developments in arts education was the creation of the National Standards for Art Education in 1994. These standards define what knowledge and skills are expected of our youth. Having a clear understanding of what is expected has helped establish the value of and respect for the arts. In 1997, the arts were included in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a tool which should be used to define areas of improvement. The Visual and Performing Arts remain an important part of the Maine Learning Results and the Maine Educational Assessment.

Advocacy demands that arts educators work together to continue to educate fellow teachers, school administrators, parents, and communities about the importance of the arts. Recent research has shown positive relationships between study in the arts and improved test scores, increased school attendance, and higher self confidence in students. However, understanding the creative, historical/cultural, critical, and aesthetic value of art far outweighs any of the other rationales that might be put forth as reasons to teach it. Art should be taught for the sake of understanding art. Advocacy is a never-ending task which benefits the future of arts education.


Maine Art Education Association
P. O. Box 10463
Portland, ME 04104

Maine Arts Commission
25 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0025

Maine Alliance for Arts Education
P. O. Box 872
Augusta, ME 04332-0872

National Art Education Association
1916 Association Drive
Reston, VA 22091-1590

National Endowment for the Arts
Arts in Education Program
1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., #602
Washington, DC 20506

Goals 2000 Art Education Partnership
c/o Council of Chief State School Officers
One Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Suite 700
Washington, DC 20001-1431

National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
1010 Vermont Avenue, N.W., Suite 920
Washington, DC 20005

ASCD Arts in Education Network
333 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17126

New England Foundation for the Arts
330 Congress Street, 6th Floor
Boston, MA 02210-1216

Very Special Arts Maine - Arts For All
P.O. Box 4002
Portland, ME 04101

On the Internet:

List of national and international art advocacy sites:

Getty Institute for Education in the Arts

Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education

Alliance for Arts Education Network

National Arts Leadership Resources

National Art Education Association


• Promoting School Art, Dunn, P., (1987), National Art Education Association.

• Supervision and Administration: Programs, Positions, and Perspectives, Mills, E. A. (Ed.), (1991), National Art Education Association.

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