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Knowledge From the Field

An Unfinished Canvas: Local Partnerships in Support of Arts Education in California

Published: April 2009

Publisher(s): SRI International

Author(s): Woodworth, Katrina R.; Debbie H. Kim; Dana M. Petersen; Victoria Tse

Funder(s): William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

View Report (66 pages; 1.31MB; PDF)

Area of Focus: Arts Education


Based on case studies of six diverse California communities, the report highlights ways that districts, schools, and arts organizations can build partnerships and increase access to arts education. The report presents findings and lessons learned about partnership goals and design, instruction, teacher capacity building, funding, and assessment and accountability.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

+Most partnerships filled a gap in arts education caused by insufficient funding and created educational opportunities that students would otherwise not have received.

=Nearly all partnerships relied on private sources of funding.

=Evaluation of partnership services was often based on inputs (e.g. attendance, satisfaction) rather than outcomes (e.g. arts learning).

=Partnerships can supplement, but do not substitute, foundational arts education programs offered by schools and districts.

=While partnerships may have lasting effects on participating students, their long-term impact on the capacity of school and districts to provide arts instruction is likely to be limited.

=Arts organizations, schools, and districts may improve the quality and stability of their partnerships by: 1) assessing school and district needs; 2) establishing clear learning goals and assessing progress towards those goals; 3) exploring embedded professional development for classroom teachers; and 4) sharing responsibility for funding.

Focus: California

Subjects/Keywords: Arts Education; Elementary and Secondary Education; Arts Organizations

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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