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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, pre-kindergarten through grade twelve.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has partnered with a broad-based statewide coalition of agencies and organizational partners on an education reform movement, CREATE (Core Reforms Engaging Arts to Educate) CA, that views arts education as an essential part of the solution to the problems facing California schools.
The California Department of Education (CDE) is joined in CREATE CA by the California Arts Council (CAC), the California Alliance for Arts Education (CAAE), the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA), and many other groups statewide. It was inspired and launched through our state’s participation in the National Endowment for the Arts' Education Leaders Institute (ELI), which awarded California (through the CAC) one of five grants nationwide to attend an ELI convening in Chicago in May 2011.

These efforts are guided by the California Challenge identified by the ELI team: Ensure each student reaches his or her full potential by broadening California’s educational vision, policy, and practices to promote innovation, economic development, and creativity.

To learn more about CREATE CA's External link opens in new window or tab. current arts education activities, and view the newly released – A Blueprint for Creative Schools, please visit the CREATE CA Web site.

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 the California County Superintendents Arts Initiative, External link opens in new window or tab. and The California Arts Project (TCAP). 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

Content Standards, Framework, and Instructional Materials

Professional Learning

Successful implementation of the arts content standards, curriculum development, and instruction depend on teacher preparation and on long-term professional learning. As described in the Visual and Performing Arts Framework, ongoing professional learning should be planned for all teachers who teach the arts, classroom teachers, and arts specialists and should take place locally and regularly. Effective professional learning is long-term and focused on increasing teachers' knowledge of and practice in the arts and their ability to teach the arts. All professional learning 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 (TCAP), the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA) along with the four California arts professional educator associations, are excellent professional development resources. Newly developed online professional learning modules for the Common Core State State Standards addressing the visual and performing arts, Content Literacy for Technical Subjects External link opens in new window or tab. can be found on the Digital Chalkboard.

Advocacy, Funding, Grants and Awards

The CDE no longer provides grant funding specifically for the arts.  However, the CDE initiative, CREATE CA, works as a partner to network schools, arts organizations and funders, providers, and other supporters.  Please refer to Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Partnerships for other funding sources.

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