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Visual and Performing Arts Guidance

Information for implementing and improving visual and performing arts programs including policies, professional learning, and funding opputunities.

Visual and Performing Arts Information

The California Department of Education (CDE) provides leadership, technical assistance, and support for state and local educational agencies (LEA), professional organizations, and collaborating partners to implement high-quality visual and performing arts education programs, kindergarten through grade twelve.

A renewed concentration on the teaching of the arts in California public schools followed the publication of Arts Work: A Call for Arts Education for All California Students. The report contributed to:

The CDE staff provides assistance to school districts and county offices of education in the planning and implementation of comprehensive programs in dance, music, theatre, and visual arts based upon the Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards (pre-kindergarten through grade twelve) and the Visual and Performing Arts Framework (kindergarten through grade twelve).

The CDE staff provides information on arts education developments. They are supported in their efforts to disseminate pertinent information by California Alliance for Arts Education (CAAE) External link opens in new window or tab. and ArtsEd California External link opens in new window or tab. .

Legislation and Policies for Arts Education

There are a number of statutory provisions, policies, and guidelines regarding the teaching of the visual and performing arts. Districts need to be aware of these to continue and build strong arts education programs. These statutory provisions cover such topics as inclusion of the four disciplines of dance, drama and theatre, music, and visual arts in the curriculum; use of hazardous materials; areas of study; and adoption of standards.

Arts Education Legislation

Arts and Music Block Grant

Content Standards and Framework

Professional Learning

Successful implementation of the arts content standards, curriculum development, and instruction depend on teacher preparation and on long-term professional development. As described in the Visual and Performing Arts Framework, ongoing professional development should be planned for all teachers who teach the arts, classroom teachers, and arts specialists and should take place locally and regularly. Effective professional development is long-term and focused on increasing teachers' knowledge of and practice in the arts and their ability to teach the arts. All professional development programs in the arts emphasize the effective implementation of the state content standards, the guidelines presented in the framework, and training on the use of state-adopted K-8 visual and performing arts instructional materials. The California Arts Project, along with the four California arts professional educator associations, are excellent professional development resources.

Art Education Programs

The extensive arts education programs offered by districts throughout the state reflect community interest in the arts and speak to comprehensive standards-based curriculum and instruction. Through CDE and The California Arts Project (TCAP) districts work to examine, define, and implement their arts education programs. CDE and TCAP provide resources and support for this ongoing work.

Funding and Grants

The California Department of Education provided funding opportunities for visual and performing arts for school districts and county offices of education through its Arts Work Visual and Performing Arts Education Grant Program from 1999 through 2004. The goal of this grant program was to provide professional development and help to implement comprehensive, standards-based instruction programs in the visual and performing arts. Please refer to Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Partnerships for other funding sources. The Arts and Music Block Grant funding (2006 - 2012) will provide funding to districts, direct-funded charters and county offices of education in support of visual and performing arts instruction. The funding may be used at the discretion of each local educational agency for other educational purposes.

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Questions: Mary Rice | MRice@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0270 
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