Skip to main content

Visual Arts Education in New York City Public Schools: Resources


Link here to download the Blueprint

From the DOE: "The Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in Visual Arts: PreK-12 provides teachers with a path to follow for developing curriculum in visual arts, and provides benchmarks for what children should know, understand, and be able to do in visual arts at critical junctures in their intellectual, physical, and emotional development. In addition, the Blueprint provides school administrators with tools to appropriately supervise visual arts teachers and to recognize and share with parents the potential their children have for achievement in the arts."

Visual References & Online Collections

Misc. Institutional Resources

Studio in a School

"Studio in a School fosters the creative and intellectual development of New York City youth through quality visual arts programs, directed by arts professionals. The organization also collaborates with and develops the ability of those who provide or support arts programming and creative development for youth both in and outside of schools. Studio in a School serves young people by integrating the visual arts into teaching and learning, and provides professional development for artists and teachers."

Arts in Action


Upper West Side Based

"AIAVAP began in 1987: “Angela Tripi-Weiss and other artists originally hatched the idea when funding for the art teacher at her daughter’s school was eliminated. Since then, AIAVAP has grown to provide the school with fine art to 52% of the classes.” (“How to Give your Child an Excellent Public Education” by Susan Mansell) Since Mansell’s publication of this book in 1999, Arts in Action VAP grew to provide quality fine art education to over 1000 students in all 36 classrooms of her daughter’s school as well as many other Upper West Side schools."

New York's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)


New York State Education Department’s (NYSED)’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan notes that the Board of Regents establish a workgroup which will consider an “Opportunity to Learn” or “Access to Specific Learning Opportunities” indicator for either accountability or reporting purposes. This indicator would measure student access to (and/or participation in) a full educational program, which would include the “arts and music” for inclusion in the accountability system – either measured through school reports of hours taught, number of courses offered, number of students enrolled, or student survey results.

Under school improvement, within its outline for New York’s Comprehensive Diagnostic Needs Assessment Process, NYSED lists “access to recommended State arts requirements” as an example of data that may be reviewed in this process. Specifically, this would include the percentage of students who have spent a percentage of weekly time in school allocated to dance, music, theatre and visual arts (for grades 1-3, 20% of time; for grades 4-6, 10% of time, and for grades 7-8, 55 hours per year by a certified arts instructor.) New York will also require schools undertaking a Comprehensive Needs Assessment to “incorporate input from relevant community partners,” which includes arts programs.

Under the Title IV, Part A, Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) program, NYSED states that it will work to ensure that students have access to “non-academic support services,” including licensed creative arts therapists. In addition, NYSED acknowledges that it received feedback advocating for the inclusion of creative arts therapists as Specialized Instructional Support Personnel in the State under ESSA. NYSED states that it will leverage SSAE state activities funds to encourage more schools to provide advanced and/or career-related arts coursework and recognize the arts as a pathway to graduation and career readiness, among other things. Under Title IV, Part B, NYSED states that it will provide Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) professional development to 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) subgrantees.


ESSA requires States to rate schools based on the performance of all groups of students, including on an additional indicator of school quality or student success that is valid, reliable, comparable and Statewide. By leaving open the possibility of including access specific learning opportunities (including the arts) as a future additional indicator in its accountability system, New York could in the future collect statewide data on this indicator and use it to assess how schools are performing in providing a well-rounded and supportive education for students. New York plans to address the arts’ role in education in many ways, including by providing resources for arts integration in schools, arts career pathways, professional development in the arts for 21st CCLC leaders, and creative arts therapists.


These plan components provide an opportunity to shape how your State, school districts and schools implement them.

You can engage your local education agency (LEA) and its leaders and remind them that Federal programs like Title I, as well as 21st CCLC and SSAE can support arts education activities. You may also want to discuss with them how you can be a partner in helping them provide a well-rounded education for students in your community.

If you want to assist in generating arts-integration guidelines or STEAM professional development programs, you can reach out to NYSED. You can obtain contact information for your State Department of Education here.


Resources for Parents

Brooklyn Museum Weekend Art Programs - Scholarships are available 

Continuing Education for Educators

  • MoMA offers online courses designed for K–12 classroom teachers and any other educators who want to learn about modern and contemporary art and develop their pedagogical skills: 
    • Art & Inquiry: Museum Teaching Strategies for your Classroom
    • Art & Activity: Interactive Strategies for Engaging with Art
    • Art & Ideas: Teaching with Themes
    • Coursera courses
  •  There are scholarships available, you can find more information here.