Why Arts Integration?

Relevant Literature

What are some sources for research and current thinking about arts integration?

The Case

This article is excerpted from Changing Education Through the Arts: Final Evaluation Report, 2005-2008.

Review of Relevant Research

Arts integration is a teaching strategy in which the arts are integrated with the non-arts curriculum to deepen students’ understanding of both (Isenberg & Jalongo, 2010, Werner & Freeman, 2001).

A body of research explores the effects of arts education within differing frameworks and settings using quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies. While little evidence suggests a clear, direct, causal link between learning through the arts and academic achievement, researchers have begun to look at the unique contributions the arts bring to student learning (Asbury & Rich, 2008; Deasy, 2002; Fiske, 1999; Hetland, Winner, Veenema & Sheridan, 2007; Winner & Hetland, 2000). Shifting the focus from traits measured by traditional testing methods to exploring the dispositions and habits of mind developed through arts-based instruction has led to a reevaluation of the role and benefits of the arts in education.

Impact on Students

Arts integration and arts education, in various formats, have positively and consistently been linked to increased student engagement, motivation, and persistence (Asbury & Rich, 2008; Deasy, 2002; Fiske, 1999; Hetland et al., 2007; Stevenson & Deasy, 2005). Arts learning is participatory and active and requires students to interact with content and materials using both their bodies and minds. This way of learning engages students by offering them many ways to gain understanding and express their knowledge. The arts can engage students who are not typically reached through traditional teaching methods, including those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, reluctant learners, and those with learning disabilities (Deasy, 2002; Fiske, 1999). In fact, children who frequently participate in the arts view themselves as more successful academically than those who infrequently participate in the arts (Burton, Horowtiz, Abeles, 1999).

When the arts are used to create a frame of reference for learning, students can make meaningful connections to one another, to themselves, to their lived world, and to other content areas (Burton et al., 1999; Fiske, 1999; Hetland et al, 2007 Stevenson & Deasy, 2005). Because they become “agents of their own learning,” students are often more willing to take responsibility for and give direction to their own learning experiences (Deasy & Stevenson, 2005). As students experiment with different art forms and processes, they learn to take risks through exploration and to develop flexible thinking skills, envisioning from different vantage points and responding to new possibilities in the creative process (Burton et al., 1999; Deasy & Stevenson, 2005; Eisner, 2002; Fiske, 1999; Hetland et al., 2007).

Benefits for Teachers and Schools

The benefits of arts integration extend beyond students, affecting teachers and schools as well. While a multitude of arts integration models are currently being applied in schools, almost all are built upon the collaborative efforts of classroom teachers and arts specialists (which may include artists in residence, visiting artists, school-based arts teachers, arts coaches, or some combination of these). Such collaborative relationships contribute to increased teacher satisfaction, interest, and success, and lead to the development of a sense of community of practice in the school (Burton et al., 1999; Deasy & Stevenson, 2005; Werner & Freeman, 2001). These teachers are more willing to take risks, both in their curriculum planning and in front of their students. They are innovative in their teaching, willing to experiment, persevere in integrating the arts despite barriers, and approach their classes in a more child-centered rather than adult-centered manner (Burton et al., 1999, Werner & Freeman, 2001).

Transforming the Learning Environment

Transforming a school’s learning environment to include successful and sustained arts-integrated instruction requires participation by the whole school community (Betts, 1995). Supportive administrators, ranging from superintendents to principals, are needed to ensure the continuity and depth of any partnership or program (Borden, 2006; Burton et al., 1999). Principals of arts-rich schools encourage teachers to take risks, to learn new skills, and to make changes in their instruction to support arts integration (Burton et al., 1999). Arts integration teaching methods, as well as the purpose, theory, and benefits of this pedagogy, must be made explicit to teachers through professional development (Betts, 1995; Borden, 2006; Werner & Freeman, 2001). Without these supports, teachers often think of arts integration as something extra and time-consuming that they must do (Werner & Freeman, 2001). With appropriate professional development, support, and collaboration with school based arts specialists and team members, teachers discover that arts-integrated teaching can and does meet existing curriculum standards. Sustained partnerships and professional development opportunities allow teachers to become comfortable making natural connections in the curriculum and turning routine activities into deep knowledge for learners (Werner & Freeman, 2001).

To see citations to the studies mentioned in this article, click on the CREDITS section below.

Arts Integration

Arts Integration

This bibliography identifies a range of resources for learning more about arts integration.

  • Authentic Connections: Interdisciplinary Work in the Arts. Reston, VA: The Consortium of National Arts Education Associations. This brochure seeks to assist and support educators in interdisciplinary work and to clarify how the arts can be taught with integrity through the interdisciplinary content standards. Accessible at http://www.arteducators.org/research/InterArt.pdf (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • The Arts Education Partnership. Creating Quality Integrated and Interdisciplinary Arts Programs, Washington, DC: Arts Education Partnership, 2003. The report offers some reflection on arts integration while examining a diverse group of partnerships and a set of new important tools to aid efforts in improving arts teaching and learning across the classroom. Accessible at http://www.aep-arts.org. (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • Burnaford, Gail with Sally Brown, James Coherty & H. JamesMcLaughlin. Arts Integration Frameworks, Research & Practice: A Literature Review. Washington, DC: Arts Education Partnership, 2007. This book provides an extensive review of the literature written between 1995 and 2007 that identifies issues and trends in the field of arts integration. Accessible at http://aep-arts.org/publications/info.htm?publication_id=33 (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • Burnaford, Gail, Arnold Aprill, and Cynthia Weiss, eds. Renaissance in the Classroom: Arts Integration and Meaningful Learning. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001. This book provides looks at how children learn and provides a framework for including visual arts, dance, drama, and music into other subjects.
  • Burton, Judith M., Robert Horowitz, and Hal Abeles. Learning in and through the arts: The question of transfer. Studies in Art Education, v41(3), p118-57, Spring 2000. This article investigates the cognitive skills developed through arts, such as higher order thinking, that have an effect on learning, thinking, and in subject matter domains. Focuses on the artistic experiences of students who attended the 12 target elementary and middle schools.
  • DeMoss, Karen and Terry Morris. How Arts Integration Supports Student Learning: Students Shed Light on the Connections. Chicago, IL: Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE), 2002. This research study looks at 30 students across ten classes in veteran teacher-artist partnerships to explore the processes and outcomes associated with arts-integrated learning units versus learning processes and outcomes in comparable non-arts units. Accessible at http://www.capeweb.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/support.pdf (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • Donahue, David M. and Jennifer Stuart, eds. Artful Teaching: Integrating the Arts for Understanding Across the Curriculum, K-8. NY: Teachers College Press and the National Art Education Association, 2010. This book provides case studies that show exemplary arts integration practices that provide insights into why and how students learn.
  • Hanna, Judith Lynne. Partnering Dance and Education: IntelligentMoves for Changing Times Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1999. This book provides information for dance educators and specialists, policymakers in grades K-12, and professional dancers regarding using dance to develop students’ minds, emotions, and bodies. Hanna also explores how dance can be used in public education to improve social and academic skills.
  • Ingram, Debra, and Eric Reidell. Arts for Academic Achievement: What does Arts Integration Do for Students? Minneapolis, MN: Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement, 2003. This report summarizes findings on the relationship between arts-integrated instruction and student achievement in the Arts for Academic Achievement (AAA) program. Accessible at http://www.cehd.umn.edu/carei/Reports/AAA/docs/DoforStudents.pdf (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • Irwin, Rita L., Peter Gouzouasis, Kit Grauer and Carl Leggo with Stephanie Springgay. Investigating Curriculum Integration, the Arts, and Diverse Learning Environments. UNESCO Planning Committee for the World Congress on Arts Education, 2006, Lisbon Portugal. This presentation examines how educators conceptualize arts integration across a variety of arts programming models. Accessible at: http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/ files/30192/11415092521irwin_gouzouasis_leggo_springgay_grauer.pdf (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • Isenberg, Joan Packer and Mary Renck Jalongo. Creative thinking and Arts-Based Learning: Preschool through Fourth Grade (5th Edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2009. This book shows future and current early childhood educators how to integrate children's creativity, play and the arts into their curriculum in a way that fosters learning and growth.
  • Rabkin, Nick and Robin Redmond, Eds. Putting the Arts in the Picture: Reframing Education in the 21st Century. Chicago, IL: Columbia College Chicago, 2005. This book examines the role of arts in education, investigating the cognitive benefits of art as an integral part of learning, and the challenges of making the arts an equal partner in school reform and curriculum.
  • RealVisions. Montgomery County Public Schools Arts Integration Model Schools Program 2004-2007. Final Evaluation Report. Berkeley Springs, WV: RealVisions, June 2007. This research report examines arts integration programs in four schools in Montgomery County Maryland. The schools use professional development resources from the Kennedy Center’s Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA) program as well as other resource providers.
  • Weiss, Cynthia and Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein, eds. AIMprint: New Relationships in the Arts and Learning. Chicago: Columbia College Chicago, 2008. This book presents perspectives about a theory of practice for arts integration in the schools. Includes descriptions of classroom practice, examines structures for professional development, essays and interviews with partnering organizations, and samples of arts integrated unit plans.


Arts Integration Strategies

Looking for arts integration strategies? This bibliography offers many sources.

  • Cornett, Claudia. Creating Meaning Through Literature and the Arts: An Integration Resource for Classroom Teachers, 3rd Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2006. This book focuses on a wide range of topics related to the why, what and how of integrating multiple disciplines into classroom instruction.
  • Crawford, Linda. Lively Learning: Using the Arts to Teach the K-8 Curriculum. Greenfield, MA: Northeast Foundation for Children, 2004. This book offers practical suggestions for bringing the arts into the daily life of the classroom by integrating the art forms into reading, writing, social studies, science, and math.
  • Ehrenworth, Mary. Looking to Write: Students Writing Through the Visual Arts. Portsmouth, NH. Heinemann, 2003. The author describes ways to employ the visual arts in the writing workshop with reasons to do it, guides for trying it, images, and worksheets.
  • Ernst, Karen. Picturing Learning: Artists and Writers in the Classroom Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1994. This book describes how a middle-school English teacher integrated reading and writing into an elementary art program.
  • Flynn, Rosalind. Dramatizing the Content with Curriculum-Based Reader’s Theatre, grades 6-12. Newark, DE: International Reading Association, 2007. This book shows teachers how to use Curriculum-Based Readers Theatre (CBRT) to increase students' motivation, active engagement with learning, and reading fluency.
  • Goldberg, Merryl. Arts Integration: Teaching Subject Matter through the Arts in Multicultural Settings, 4th ed. Boston: Pearson Education, 2012. This book explores how to teach about the arts and teach your students through the arts. It provides numerous examples of ways the arts can be integrated throughout the K-8 curriculum.
  • Goldberg, Merryl. Teaching English Language Learners Through the Arts: A Suave Experience. Boston: Pearson Education Inc., 2004. This book describes the ways in which English language learners have excelled in an arts-based program. The book delves into all aspects of classroom practice, as well as professional development practices that support students’ learning through arts-based methods.
  • Kelner, Lenore Blank. The Creative Classroom: A Guide for Using Creative Drama in the Classroom, PreK-6. Portsmouth, NH: 1993. This book provides teachers with a number of creative drama strategies for use in the classroom, on a daily basis and across the curriculum.
  • Kelner, Lenore Blank and Rosalind Flynn. A Dramatic Approach to Reading Comprehension: Strategies and Activities for Classroom Teachers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2006. This book focuses on arts integration and explains the what, how, and why of effective classroom drama as well as how drama increases students' reading comprehension skills.
  • Mantione, Roberta D. and Sabine Smead. Weaving Through Words: Using the Arts to Teach Reading Comprehension. Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association, 2003. This book shares draws on the arts as innovate ways to teach the critical strategies of reading comprehension to elementary school students.
  • McDonald, Nan L. Handbook for K-8 Arts Integration: Purposeful Planning Across the Curriculum. Boston: Pearson Education, 2010. This book is a practical handbook to help teachers create and use standards-based arts activities to teach across the content areas.
  • Nichols, Maria. Comprehension Through Conversation: The Power of Purposeful Talk in the Reading Workshop. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2006. Learning through the arts is often based on constructive conversations. This book helps teachers lay the foundation for helping students develop the critical skills needed to have meaningful, purposeful conversations (which are often a part of arts integration practice).
  • Sklar, Daniel Judah. Playmaking: Children Writing and Performing their Own Plays. NY: Teachers and Writers Collaborative, 1991. Sklar’s personal account of teaching dramatic writing, direction, and performance, to a group of 7th graders in the South Bronx, reveals the planning and execution of his lessons. It deals with real life dynamics in the classroom and strategies for getting everyone participating.
  • Teaching Artist Journal: A Quarterly Forum for Professionals, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC, publishers. 325 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA. By Subscription. This quarterly publication seeks to improve the practices of teaching artists by providing a forum for exchange of ideas.
  • Wilhelm, Jeffrey. Action Strategies for Deepening Comprehension: Role Plays, Text Structure Tableaux, Talking Statues, and Other Enrichment Techniques that Engage Students with the Text. NY: Scholastic, Inc., 2002. This book has many ideas that deepen reading strategies such as activating prior knowledge, inferring, visualizing, making connections, and more.


Research about the Arts and Arts Integration

This bibliography provides a range of sources for examining research about the arts and arts integration.

  • AEP Wire, Arts Education Partnership. Oklahoma A+ Schools: What the Research Tells Us, 2002-2007, Part One: Students and Teachers. (March 2011). Accessible at http://www.aep-arts.org/AEP%20WIRE/AEP%20Wire%20Oklahoma%20A+%20Part1.pdf (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • ________. No Child Left Behind: A Study of Its Impact on Art Education (September 2010) Accessible at http://www.aep-arts.org/AEP%20WIRE/AEP%20Wire%2009-2010%20Sabol%20NCLB.pdf (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • ________. Doing Well and Doing Good by Doing Art (March 9, 2010) Accessible at http://www.aep-arts.org/files/AEPWireDoingWell.pdf (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • ________. NEA Survey of Public Participation in the Arts: Summary of Results and Implications for Arts Learning (January 27, 2010) Accessible at http://www.aep-arts.org/files/NEA_Public_Participation_Report.pdf (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • ArtsEdSearch.org – an online research and policy clearinghouse from the Arts Education Partnership, focusing on student and educator outcomes associated with arts learning in and out of school. The site features user-friendly summaries of high-quality research, and overviews of current research examined through different lenses.
  • Bresler, Liora, Ed. International Handbook of Research in Arts Education, Volume 1. Dordrecht, NL: Springer, 2007. An expansive compilation of research and thinking from scholars and practitioners that spans the artistic disciplines of music, dance, visual arts, and writing, including well-documented reviews and discussions of past and current research.
  • Deasy, Richard J. (ed). Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development, Washington, DC: Arts Education Partnership, 2002. This compendium summarizes and discusses 62 research studies that examine the effects of arts learning on students’ social and academic skills. Accessible at http://www.aep-arts.org.
  • Drake, Susan. Integrated Curriculum: A Chapter of the Curriculum Handbook. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2000. This chapter of the Curriculum Handbook provides an overview of integrated curriculum, examines current trends in education, and offers practical ways to use standards-based, integrated curriculum in the classroom.
  • Fiske, Edward B., ed. Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning. Washington DC: Arts Education Partnership and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, 1999. Seven research studies examining learning in the arts, the relationship to other learning, and the impact on student learning and development. Accessible online at http://www.aep-arts.org/publications/info.htm?publication_id=8 (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • Gazzaniga, Michael with Carolyn Asbury and Barbara Rich eds. Learning, Arts, and the Brain: The Dana Consortium Report on the Arts and Cognition. NY: Dana Foundation, 2008. Coordinated, multi-university scientific research grapples with the question: Are smart people drawn to the arts or does arts training make people smarter? Accessible at http://www.dana.org/uploadedFiles/News_and_Publications/Special_Publications/ Learning,%20Arts%20and%20the%20Brain_ArtsAndCognition_Compl.pdf (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • Golden, S. Profiles in Excellence: Case Studies of Exemplary Arts Education Partnerships. NY: National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts, 2007. This monograph describes three exemplary public school/community school partnerships and identifies criteria for excellence. Accessible at http://www.nationalguild.org/Programs/Information-Resources---Publications/Publications/Partners-in-Arts-Education.aspx
  • Isenberg, Joan and Jennifer McCreadie with Jennifer Durham and Bernadine Pearson. Changing Education Through the Arts: Final Evaluation Report, 2005-2008. April 13, 2009. Fairfax VA: George Mason University, College of Education and Human Development. This evaluation report examines ways in which teachers understanding and implementation of arts integration strategies influence their pedagogical growth as a result of participating in the Kennedy Center’s Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA) program. Accessible here.
  • Kruger, Ann Cale. The Kennedy Center and Schools: Changing Education Through the Arts – Report on Implementation and Achievement, Fairfax County 1999-2004. Georgia State University, 2005. This study examines the impact achieved in the early years of the Kennedy Centers arts integration program. Accessible here.
  • Longley, Laura. ed. Gaining the Arts Advantage: Lessons from School Districts that Value Arts Education Washington, DC: President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities and Arts Education Partnership, 1999. This book includes case studies and profiles of 91 school districts throughout the United States that are recognized for offering arts education throughout their schools. Identifies the critical factors that must be in place to implement and sustain comprehensive arts education. Stresses the essential role of community involvement and partnerships. Accessible online at http://www.aep-arts.org/files/publications/GAAReport.pdf (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • Longley, Laura, ed. Gaining the Arts Advantage: More Lessons from School Districts that Value Arts Education Washington, DC: Arts Education Partnership and the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, 2000. This book summarizes the discussions with representatives from 32 school districts who participated in a meeting to discuss the current status of arts education in their schools. These districts were profiled in the 1999 report, Gaining the Arts Advantage. Accessible online at http://www.aep-arts.org/files/publications/GAAMoreLessons.pdf (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • Nelson, Catherine A., The Arts and Education Reform: Lessons from a 4-year Pilot of the A+ schools Program. Greensboro, NC: Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts, 2001. This report synthesizes the findings of a 4-year evaluation of the A+ Schools Program pilot in 25 North Carolina Schools. Accessible at http://aplus-schools.ncdcr.gov/program-evaluation (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • Rabkin, Nick and E. C. Hedberg. Arts Education in America: What the Declines Mean for Arts Participation. Research Report #52. Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts. 2011. This report examines the implications of the National Endowment’s 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. Accessible at http://www.learninginafterschool.org/documents/Arts%20education%20in%20America_%20What%20the%20declines%20mean%20for%20arts%20participation.pdf (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • RealVisions. Montgomery County Public Schools Arts Integration Model Schools Program 2004-2007, Final Evaluation Report. Berkeley Springs, WV: RealVisions, June 2007. This evaluation report examines a comprehensive arts integration professional development program. The study supported by a three-year Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Grant from the U.S. Department of Education focuses on three model schools. Accessible here.
  • Ruppert, Sandra. Critical Evidence: How the Arts Benefit Student Achievement. Washington DC. National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and the Arts Education Partnership, 2006. This booklet responds to the needs of policymakers, educators, parents and advocates for fact-based, non-technical language documenting the most current and compelling research on the value of arts learning experiences. Accessible at http://www.aep-arts.org/publications/info.htm?publication_id=31 (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • Sabol, F. Robert. No Child Left Behind: A Study of its Impact on Arts Education. Reston VA: National Art Education Association, 2010. This study provides the results of a nationwide study on the impact of the landmark legislation No Child Left Behind on visual art education. Accessible at http://www.arteducators.org/research/NCLB_Proj_Report_2-10.pdf (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • Seidel, Steve, Shari Tishman, Ellen Winner, Lois Hetland, and Patricia Palmer. The Qualities of Quality: Understanding Excellence in Arts Education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Graduate School of Education, Project Zero, 2009. This research examines the challenge of creating and sustaining high quality formal arts learning experiences for K–12 youth, inside and outside of school. The project, funded by the Wallace Foundation, offers a literature review to determine the field's implicit and explicit criteria for quality. Accessible at http://pzpublications.com/414pdf.html (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • Stevenson, L.M. and Richard J. Deasy. Third Space: When Learning Matters. Washington, DC: Arts Education Partnership, 2005. This book is based on a three-year research study that examined the impact of an arts-centered curriculum on school improvement. It describes the process of transformation in 10 elementary, middle and high schools serving economically disadvantaged students in rural and urban regions of the country. Available at http://www.aep-arts.org/ publications/info.htm?publication_id=19 (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • Winner, E. and Lois Hetland. “The Arts and Academic Improvement: What the Evidence Shows.” Journal of Aesthetic Education, 34, (3-4), 149-166, Fall/Winter 2000. This article offers a comprehensive and quantitative study of what the research on academic outcomes of arts education shows. The executive summary is accessible at http://www.arteducators.org/advocacy/HarvardT.pdf (Retrieved 1/3/12)


Why the Arts?: Building the Case

This bibliography provides a range of sources for building a compelling case for the role of arts in education.

  • Arts Education Partnership. What School Leaders Can Do To Increase Arts Education. Washington, DC: Arts Education Partnership, 2011. This brochure-length guide offers three concrete actions school principals can take to increase arts education in their schools. Each action is supported with several low-cost or no-cost strategies that other school leaders have used and found to be effective. Accessible at http://www.aep-arts.org/publications/info.htm?publication_id=36 (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • ___________________. Making a Case for the Arts: How and Why the Arts are Critical to Student Achievement and Better Schools. Washington, DC: Arts Education Partnership, 2006. This brochure highlights the benefits of arts education based on new research published by the Arts Education Partnership. Accessible at http://www.aep-arts.org/publications/info.htm?publication_id=25 (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • ___________________. Why Your Child Needs the Arts Advantage and How You can Gain it. Washington, DC: Arts Education Partnership, 2000. This brochure highlights the findings of the two-year study, “Gaining the Arts Advantage: Lessons from School Districts that Value Arts Education” which identifies interrelating factors that contribute to the creation of strong, district-wide arts education. Accessible at http://www.aep-arts.org/files/publications/WhyYourChildNeedstheArts.pdf  (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • Davis, Jessica Hoffmann. Why Our Schools Need the Arts. NY: Teachers College Press, 2008. This book offers a justification for the benefits achieved by teaching the arts to students.
  • Driver, C.E. “Can the Arts Become Part of the ‘Basics’ of our Public Education?” In Thought Leader Forum on Arts and Education: Assuring Equitable Arts Learning in Urban K-12 Public Schools. Report of conference hosted by Grantmakers in the Arts and Grantmakers for Education. Seattle, WA: Grantmakers in the Arts, 2010. Acccessible at http://www.giarts.org/sites/default/files/2010_thought-leader-forum-on-arts-education.pdf  (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • Eisner, Elliot W. The Arts and the Creation of Mind. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002. Eisner makes the case that the arts are critically important means for developing complex and subtle aspect of the mind. Eisner describes how various forms of thinking are evoked, developed and refined through the arts.
  • Fowler, Charles. Strong Arts, Strong Schools: The Promising Potential and the Shortsighted Desregard of the Arts in American Schooling. NY: Oxford University Press, 1996.
  • Gardner, Howard. Five Minds for the Future. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2006. This book examines five minds that will command a premium in the years ahead: the disciplinary mind, the synthesizing mind, the creating mind, the respectful mind, and the ethical mind.
  • Hetland, Lois, Ellen Winner, Shirley Veenema, and Kimberly M. Sheridan. Studio Thinking: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education. NY: Teachers College Press, 2007. This book provides research on the “habits of mind” that are instilled by studying visual arts.
  • Jensen, Eric. Arts with the Brain in Mind. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2001. This book presents a case, uses research about the brain and learning for making arts a core part of the basic curriculum and thoughtfully integrating them into every subject.
  • McCarthy, Kevin F., Elizabeth H. Ondaaje, Laura Zakaras, and Arthur Brooks. Gifts of the Muse: Reframing the Debate about the Benefits of the Arts. Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2004. The authors underscore the importance of sustained involvement in the arts to the achievement of both instrumental and intrinsic benefits. Accessible at http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG218.html (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools, Washington, DC, May 2011. This report details the powerful role that arts education strategies can play in closing the achievement gap, improving student engagement, and building creativity and nurturing innovative thinking skills. Accessible at www.pcah.gov. (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • Rabkin, Nick. Looking for Mr. Good Argument: The Arts and the Search for a Leg to Stand on in Public Education. In Thought Leader Forum on Arts and Education: Assuring Equitable Arts Learning in Urban K-12 Public Schools. Report of conference hosted by Grantmakers in the Arts and Grantmakers for Education. Seattle, WA: Grantmakers in the Arts, 2010. Accessible at http://www.giarts.org/sites/default/files/2010_thought-leader-forum-on-arts-education.pdf
  • Remer, Jane. Beyond Enrichment: Building Effective Arts Partnerships with Schools and Your Community. New York: American Council for the Arts, 1996. This book makes a case for connections between the schools and cultural agencies to accomplish a rich education in the arts that neither could accomplish alone.
  • Robinson, Ken. Out of our Minds: Learning to be Creative. West Sussex, UK: Capstone Publishing, Ltd. 2011. This extensively revised and updated version of Robinsons’ book Out of our Minds, offers an approach to understanding creativity in education and business.
  • Rich, Barbara, Jane L. Polin, and Stephen J. Marcus (eds). Acts of Achievement: The Role of Performing Art Centers in Education, NY: Dana Press, 2003. This publication provides the first study of K-12 education programs offered by performing arts centers nationwide and showcases 74 performing art center institutions, large and small, partnering with their local schools. Accessible at http://www.dana.org/news/publications/publication.aspx?id=8074 (Retrieved 1/3/12)

The Arts and School Reform

  • Fineberg, Carol. Creating Islands of Excellence: Arts Education as a Partner in School Reform. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2004. This book underscores how the integration of arts-based instruction can create powerful moments in and out of the classroom and offers advice on creating local arts-in-education reform initiatives, establishing arts partnerships, creating and evaluating school conditions that foster the arts, and using the arts as a tool for instruction and assessment.
  • Fineberg, Carol, ed. Planning an Arts-Centered School: A Handbook. NY: Dana Press, 2002. This collection of papers aims to define the variety of teaching frameworks that makes it possible to plan an arts-centered school. It is meant to facilitate the development of a promising infusion of the arts into education throughout the United States. Accessible at http://www.dana.org/news/publications/publication.aspx?id=8076 (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • Nelson, Andrew L. The Art of Collaboration: Promising Practices for Integrating the Arts and School Reform. Washington, DC: Arts Education Partnership, 2008. This publication focuses on the implementation and practice of eight demonstration sites participating in The Ford Foundation’s Integrating the Arts and Education Reform Initiative. Accessible at http://aep-arts.org/publications/info.htm?publication_id=35 (Retrieved 1/3/12)
  • Noblit, George W., H. Cickson Corbett, Bruce L. Wilson, and Monica B. McKinney. Creating and Sustaining Arts-Based School Reform. NY: Routledge, 2009. This book offers explores how the inclusion of the arts into the identify of a school can be key to it’s resilience. Based on the A+ School sProgram, the book offers an example of an arts-based school reform effort.
  • Remer, Jane. Changing Schools through the Arts: How to Build on the Power of an Idea. New York: American Council for the Arts, 1990. This publication establishes a case and offers strategies for establishing a firm place for the arts in schools.
  • Thompson, Mary Jo, with Becca Barniskis. Artful Teaching and Learning: Student Achievement through the Arts. Minneapolis, MN: ARTFUL Teaching & Learning. 2005. This handbook outlines an arts education model for student achievement through the arts. Accessible at http://www.mcae.k12.mn.us/pdr/HANDBOOK6_7.pdf (Retrieved 1/3/12)



“Review of Relevant Research” by Joan Isenberg and Jennifer McCreadie with Jennifer Dunham and Bernadine Pearson
George Mason University

Editors & Producers

Amy Duma
Director, Teacher and School Programs
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Lynne B. Silverstein
Senior Program Consultant
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Kenny Neal
Manager, Digital Education Resources


Source for The Case, Review of Relevant Research:


Changing Education Through the Arts: Final Evaluation Report, 2005-2008 by Joan Isenberg, Professor and Associate Dean, Jennifer McCreadie, Director, Assessment and Program Evaluation with Jennifer Durham, Graduate Research Assistant and Bernadine Pearson, Graduate Research Assistant, George Mason University, College of Education and Human Development, Fairfax, VA, April 13, 2009.


Works Cited

Studies cited in The Case, Review of Relevant Research are provided below.

  • Arts Education Partnership (2001). Teaching Partnerships, Report of a National Forum on Partnerships, Improving Teaching of the Arts. Paper presented November 18- 19, 2001: Lincoln Center, New York: NY.
  • Asbury, C. & Rich, B. (Eds.). (2008). Learning, arts, and the brain: The Dana Consortium report on arts and cognition. New York: Dana Press.
  • Betts, J. (1995). Arts Integration: Semiotic transmediation in the classroom. Presented at the annual meeting of American Educational Research Association; San Francisco, CA, April 18-22.
  • Burton, J., Horowitz, R., & Abeles, H. (1999). Learning in and through the arts: Curriculum implications. (Champions of Change: The Impacts of the Arts on Learning. The Arts Education Partnership and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities), 36-46. Arts Education Partnership, GE Fund, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, President’s Committee of the Arts and Humanities.
  • Burton, J.M., Horowitz, R. & Abeles, H. (2000). Learning in and through the arts: The question of transfer. Studies in Art Education, 41, 228-257.
  • Corbett, D., McKenney, M., Noblit, G. and Wilson, B. (2001). The a+ schools program: school, community, teacher, and student effects. (Report #6 in a series of seven policy reports summarizing the four-year pilot of a+ schools in North Carolina). Kenan Institute for the Arts, Winston-Salem, NC.
  • Deasy, R. (Ed.) (2002) Critical Links: Learning in the arts and student academic and social development. Arts Education Partnership, Washington, DC.
  • Eisner, E. (2002). The arts and the creation of mind. New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • Fiske, E. (Ed.) (1999). Champions of change: The impact of the arts on learning. Washington, DC: The Arts Education Partnership and the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
  • Glaser, B. & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. Chicago: Aldine.
  • Goetz, J.D. & LeCompte, M.D. (1981). Ethnography and qualitative design in educational research. Orlando, FL: Academic Press.
  • Hall & Hord (2006). Implementing change: Patterns, principles, and potholes. Allyn & Bacon.
  • Hetland, L., Winner, E., Veenema, S. & Sheridan, K. (2007). Studio thinking: The real benefits of visual arts education. New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Isenberg, J. & Jalongo, M. (2010). Creative thinking and arts-based learning: Preschool through fourth grade. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall.
  • Mason, C.Y., Thormann, M.S., & Steedly, K.M. (2005). The impact of arts integration: Voice, choice and access. Retrieved June 15, 2006 from http://www.vsarts.org
  • Newmann, F. M., Secada, W. G., & Wehlage, G. G. (1995). A guide to authentic instruction and assessment: Vision, standards, and scoring. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Center for Research
  • Oreck, B. (2004). The artistic and professional development of teachers. Journal of Teacher Education, 55 (1), 55-69.
  • Patton, M.Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (2nd ed.) Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
  • Stevenson, L.M. & Deasy, R.J. (2005). Third Space: When Learning Matters. Washington, D.C.: Council of Chief State School Officers.
  • Stokrocki, M. (1997). Qualitative forms of research methods. In S.D. La Pierre & E. Zimmerman (Eds.). Research methods and methodologies for art education (pp. 33-56). Reston, VA: NAEA.
  • Strauss, A. & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Strauss, A. & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Werner, L. & Freeman, C.J. (2001). Arts for academic achievement: Arts Integration-A vehicle for changing teacher practice. University of Minnesota: Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement, College of Education and Human Development.
  • Winner, E. & Hetland, L. (Eds) (2000). The arts and academic achievement: What the evidence shows: Executive summary. Retrieved May 2, 2006 from www.pz.harvard.edu/research/reapexecsum.html
  • Winner, E., Hetland, L., Veenema, L., Sheridan, K., & Palmer, P. (2006). Studio thinking: How visual arts teaching can promote disciplined habits of mind. In P. Locher, C. Martindale, L. Dorfman, & D. Leontiev (Eds.), New directions in aesthetics, creativity, and the art (pp 189-205). Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing Company.

© 1996-2019 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts  

ArtsEdge is an education program of

The Kennedy Center 

with the support of

The US Department of Education 

ARTSEDGE, part of the Rubenstein Arts Access Program, is generously funded by David Rubenstein.

Additional support is provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Kennedy Center education and related artistic programming is made possible through the generosity of the National Committee
for the Performing Arts and the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts.

The contents of this Web site were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. However, those contents do not
necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal government.
Unless otherwise stated, ArtsEdge materials may be copied, modified and otherwise utilized for non-commercial educational purposes
provided that ArtsEdge and any authors listed in the materials are credited and provided that you permit others to use them in the same manner.

Change Background:

Connect with us!    EMAIL US | YouTube | Facebook | iTunes | MORE!

© 1996-2019 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts  
    Privacy Policy
| Terms and Conditions


You are now leaving the ArtsEdge website. Thank you for visiting!

If you are not automatically transferred, please click the link below:

ArtsEdge and The Kennedy Center are in no way responsible for the content of the destination site, its ongoing availability, links to other site or the legality or accuracy of information on the site or its resources.