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EdTA Awarded Grant to Foster Equity and Inclusion in Arts Education

Black students sit smiling and laughing in a theatre classroom.

"Creating a Community for All Learners" initiative aims to reimagine standards-based arts education

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded a $50,000 grant to EdTA for the groundbreaking project, “Creating A Community For All Learners: Reimagining Standards-based Arts Education for Equity & Inclusion.” This initiative, a joint effort among EdTA and other esteemed members of National Coalition for Arts Standards (NCAS), including the National Arts Education Association (NAEA), National Dance Education Organization (NDEO), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Media Arts Committee (MAC), and Young Audiences Arts for Learning (YA), aims to convene diverse education stakeholders and experts in culturally responsive teaching to develop inclusive practices and revisions to national arts standards.

NEA 2018 Horizontal Logo with url2 scaled

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how NEA grants impact individuals and communities, visit

Addressing Disparities in Arts Education

Data reveals a significant gap between the race and ethnicity of arts educators and their students. Research published on the NEA website shows that 90.69% of arts educators identify as white, while only 46% of public school students identify as white. This calls for an analysis of the standards through a lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), along with the creation of tools and resources that promote culturally responsive arts education.

Reimagining Standards-Based Arts Education

The “Creating A Community For All Learners” initiative seeks to reimagine standards-based arts education by equipping teachers, arts specialists, and teaching artists with the necessary knowledge and practices to meet the needs of diverse student populations. Through a collaborative approach, EdTA and NCAS will convene a panel of experts representing diverse heritages and geographies, as well as a cohort of arts teachers and teaching artists from underserved communities.

The expert panel will undertake a thorough analysis of the existing national arts standards, aiming to identify gaps and areas for improvement in addressing the needs and cultural benchmarks of diverse students. This analysis will result in a comprehensive gap analysis report, outlining guiding principles for culturally responsive teaching along with specific instructional strategies.

Empowering Educators and Refining Practices

Building upon the panel’s work, EdTA and NCCAS curriculum experts will collaborate to develop discipline-specific strategies for culturally responsive teaching. These strategies will be presented in a series of five webinars, which will be made available on the national arts standards website for free public use.

To ensure practical application, the project includes training for the cohort of educators and teaching artists. Each cohort member will develop a lesson plan aligned with national arts standards, integrating culturally responsive teaching methods. They will teach the lesson, reflect on the process, and document their experiences.

At the end of the school year, the cohort will reconvene with the panel of experts for review and final edits. This collaborative process will further enhance the lesson plans and ensure their effectiveness in promoting equity and inclusion in arts education.

National Town Hall and Release of Tools and Resources

To share and publicize the project’s outcomes, EdTA and NCCAS will host a national town hall event through Arts Are Education. This event will serve as a platform to unveil the resulting tools and resources, created through the collaborative efforts of educators, teaching artists, and curriculum experts. It will provide an opportunity to celebrate and promote the importance of equity and inclusion in arts education.

By harnessing the power of collaboration, expertise, and a shared commitment to equity and inclusion, “Creating A Community For All Learners” is poised to make a significant impact on standards-based arts education, ensuring that it resonates with and empowers a diverse student population.


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