Arts Learning Midterm – Best Practices Rubric

Midterm – Best Practices Rubric

Each response below was supposed to be only two sentences. I found this assignment useful in synthesizing what we’ve read so far. It doesn’t cover everything, but it forced me to condense what I know into a working short hand that’s similar to what you need when you’re trying to apply this type of learning in a work situation.

I. Types of Organizations (that typically engaged in arts education programs and enterprises): 

Organizations include formal institutions of learning, such as K-12 schools, their district offices, and colleges or universities, and community-based non-profits that have a broad, social service functions, such as public health agencies, community centers, parks programs, and prisons. Arts organizations or studios involved in education can focus specifically on education by hosting field trips, teaching classes, or sponsoring teaching artists, or they can focus on producing art and incorporate education as one component of their outreach program (Wester, 2003).

II. Types of Education Programs (what are the typical kinds of arts  education program  what is the typology of the field?):

There are several dimensions upon which to place arts learning programs: stand alone classes vs. arts integration; taught by a teaching artist vs. an arts specialist; making art vs. arts appreciation; single discipline vs. multi-discipline; adults vs. youth; in-school vs. out-of-school; and conservancy, studio-based program vs. ones that are more process-based. An program type are those focused on teachers’ their professional development (Wester, 2003, Zacaras and Howell, 2008).

III. Related to  mission/Education/Audience Development (how are education

programs related to the mission and what does the field say  about how arts  orgs should participate in education….):

If education programs maintain a close relationship to an organization’s mission, they should be able to find their proper place within the arts education system and infrastructure within their community and avoid “mission creep” where education programs simply a way to get grants and subsidize the rest other programming (Wester, 2003, Zacaras and Howell, 2008). Arts organizations also need to be wary of promising that their arts program can address complex social problems that are outside their control (Hager, 2003).

IV. Sustainability (what constitutes sustainability, and what   are the factors that contribute to it?

Sustainability goes beyond a stable funding source to include a community coalition of parents, school leaders, business owners, and local elected officials that will advocate for arts education when money is tight. Several authors have identified factors contributing to sustainability:  leadership (Bodilly et al, 2009), research and evaluation (Wester, 2003, Rabkin et al, 2011), support for teaching artists (Rabkin et al, 2011), more diverse grantmaking by state arts agencies (Zacaras and Howell, 2008), and the ability to link arts to participation in new media (Jenkins and Bertozzi, 2008).

V. Resources (Both Remer and the chapter from Fundamentals discuss the importance of identifying resources in arts education program development and delivery.           What are the recommendations?):     

Bodilly et al (2009) discusses how Dallas’ Big Thought initiative used local funding to leverage funding from national sources and then used this to get additional support from local government while Wester (2003) focused on other types of resources a local arts agency or non-profits could contribute such as meeting or performance space, trips, professional development, and technical assistance. Bodilly et al. also discusses the success that the Los Angeles Arts for All initiative had by organizing funders into a consortium so money can be pooled for greater flexibility and impact.

VI. Partners (what does the literature and field say about partnership development):       

The readings discuss the importance of shared leadership and shared goals within a partnership structure that is creative, flexible, and broad enough to encompass multiple disciplines and sectors and stakeholders, such as parents, businesses, higher education, and education foundations (Wester, 2003, Zacaras and Howell 2008). Wester says that partners must recognize the intrinsic value of the arts as well as their ability to enhance learning and invest in supporting infrastructure, such as documentation, evaluation, and professional development.

VII. Planning   and Implementation Process (what should you be aware of in this? What will funders look for in terms of a well-built  model?):         

Wester (2003) draws on recommendations for the KennedyCenter and discusses that programs need a foundation of informed leadership, a student-centered curriculum, and partnerships that include artists, arts groups, and a wide array of community partners. Within schools, programs must have strong communication between artists, teachers, school administrators, and any outside organization, be based on principles of good teaching, and incorporate thoughtful assessment (Dana Foundation, 2003, Rabkin et al, 2011)

VIII. Teacher Supports/Professional Development (What are the best practices in this)?: 

The Arts Integration Mentorship Project through ColumbiaCollege has been cited by teaching artists for effective professional development that is grounded in learning communities that bring artists and classroom teachers together and focuses on a ladder of training that allows them to customize their trainings depending on the level of experience (Rabkin et al, 2011). Providing a continuum of training opportunities is echoed in the Dana Foundation report Acts of Achievement (2003), where Libby Lai-Bun Chiu from Urban Gateways describe six basic elements of teaching artist training:

  • philosophy of arts education
  • theories and models of arts education
  • teaching methods and the content of instruction
  • collaboration with educators
  • effective assessment
  • knowledge of school culture

IX. Theories of Learning (Impact):    

Rabkin et al. (2011) provide a useful summary of “good teaching” as student-centered, cognitive, and collaborative or social and makes a strong case that arts learning is a good match for this type of engagement. Several other authors make the case for project-based learning (Brice-Heath and Roach, n.d., Jenkins and Bertozzi, 2008, McClaughlin, n.d., Zacaras and Howell, 2008), but I especially appreciated Winer and Hetland’s (2008) study of arts classes that, through effective questioning, develop in students “studio habits of mind,” such as deeply observing, envisioning and self-reflection.

X. Assessment  and Outcomes (how will you demonstrate and provide structures for?):   

Sidestepping the debate about whether the current arts standards are effective (Rabkin et al, 2011, Wester, 2003), I think there is general agreement that one needs to focus on evaluating the creative process and not just the final product. Wester (2003) advocates using existing standards to develop activity-specific rubrics so students can apply feedback to the next round of evaluation while Rabkin et al (2011) suggests that teaching artists can provide insight into developing the fluid process-based evaluation tools such as portfolios.

XI. Populations Served in types of arts learning programs and organizations, and implications:     

The drop in arts learning in schools has been most acute for black and Latino youth whose schools don’t have parents able to pay for arts programs even though their children  arguably benefit the most from the “spiral of success” that arts learning can provide. (Dana Foundation, 2003; Rabkin, et. al, 2011; Rabkin and Hedberg, 2011). Given the changing demographics of the country, it is absolutely essential that arts organizations find new avenues to address the practical and perceptual barriers to participation and cultivate a new diverse coalition of constituents that can advocate effectively for arts education (Bodilly et al, 2009; Dana Foundation, 2003; Lowell, 2004 Rabkin et al, 2011; Zacaras and Lowell, 2008).

XII. Models: (what are some   model  programs, provide examples)

Rabkin et al. (2011) highlighted several model programs working both in and out of schools, including Inner City Arts in Los Angeles and Hubbard Street Dance in Chicago while Zacaras and Howell (2008) came back repeatedly to the arts graduation requirement used in Rhode Island and the arts education index ranking of schools in New Jersey. Also impressive were systemic partnerships to strengthen arts education in large cities, such as the Arts for All program in Los Angeles and the Big Thought program in Dallas (Bodilly et al, 2009).

XIII. Research That Supports: (what is some of the major research – with citations  –

that can support your project  plan?) 

Wester (2003) points out that the lack of research demonstrating the positive impacts of arts learning was a problem in the 1990s that was remedied with the release of the Champions of Change report in 1999 and the release of the Kennedy Center’s A Community Audit for Arts Education, along with other studies showing the cognitive and social gains that come with arts education, both in schools and in community programs (Brice-Heath and Roach, n.d, Burton, et al, 1999, Rabkin et al, 2011, Winner and Hetland, 2008). Longitudinal studies have since shown that early exposure to art leads to greater engagement with art as an adult and that a broad-based art education is more effective than simply focusing on arts production. (Zacaras and Howell, 2008)


Bodilly, S., Augustine, C., Zakaras, L. (2009). Revitalizing Arts Education Through Community–‐Wide Collaboration. RAND: Santa Monica, CA.

Brice-Heath S. and A. Roach.  (n.d.) Imaginative Actuality: Learning in the Arts During the Non-school Hours.  In E. Fiske, Ed. Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning. DC: Arts Education    Partnership, 19-34. Available for download

Burton, J.R. Horowitz, and H, Abeles (1999). “Learning In and Through the Arts: Curriculum Implications.” Champions of ChangeThe Impact of the Arts on Learning.  DC: Arts Education Partnerships, 35-46.  Available fro download from

Dana Foundation. (2003). Acts of Achievement: The Role of Performing Arts Centers in Education. Dana Press: NY. (pp 1–‐26).

Hager, Lori (2003) Partnerships, Politics, and Programs: Ideological Constructions in Federal Youth Arts and Drama

Jenkins, H. and V. Bertozzi. (2008). Artistic Expression in the Age of Participatory Culture: How and Why young People Create. In Steven Tepper and Bill Ivey, (Eds).  Engaging Art: The Next Great Transformation of America’s Cultural Life. pp 171-198.  NY: Routledge.

Lowell, J. (2004). State Arts Agencies: Whose Interests to Serve. RAND: Santa Monica, CA: pps 1–‐29.

McLaughlin, M. (n.d) How Youth Organizations Matter for Youth Development. WashingtonDC: Public Education Network. Available for download from

Rabkin, N. & Hedberg, E. (2011). Arts Education in America: What the Declines Mean for Arts Participation. National Endowment for the Arts: WashingtonDC, Chapter 1.

Rabkin, N., M. Reynolds, E. Hedberg, & J. Shelby. (2011). Teaching Artists and the Future of Education. NORC: University of Chicago. Retrieved from

Wester, M. (2003). Arts Education: Defining, Developing, and Implementing a Successful Program. In Dreezen, C. (ed.) Fundamentals of Arts Management, Arts Extension Service: Amherst, Mass., pp 151‐198.

Winner E. &  Hetland, L. (2008). Art for our Sake: School Arts Classes Matter More than Ever–But Not for the Reasons You Think. Arts Education Policy Review, Vol. 109, No. 5, May/June: p. 29-31.

Zakaras, L. & J. Lowell. (2008). Cultivating Demand for the Arts: Arts Learning, Arts Engagement, and State Arts Polic.

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