Arts Education: Arts Organizations & Resources

Local Resources

Arts Council Santa Cruz County
Formerly known as the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz, the Arts Council Santa Cruz County helps keep the arts alive in local schools. Over 10,000 students in Santa Cruz County benefit every year from the Arts Council’s Arts Education Programs. Through their SPECTRA matching grants, Special Initiative programs, and their Mariposa’s Art direct service programs, professional teaching artists are connected with students during the day and after-school. Through the Arts Council’s advocacy initiative, the Santa Cruz Alliance for Arts Education, local community members are empowered to preserve and expand arts education in Santa Cruz County public schools. The Alliance represents a cross section of community interests, including over 30 active members from business, community, higher education institutions, and arts organizations.

Pajaro Valley Arts Council and Gallery (PVAC)
The Pajaro Valley Arts Council’s mission is “Bringing the community together through the Arts.” Featuring local & regional artists, PVAC has presented five to seven visual art exhibits annually for the past 25 years utilizing the Gallery & Satellite Spaces. Educational components are developed for teachers specifically related to the theme, media & artists featured, e.g., Teacher Guides & emails highlighting upcoming exhibits. PVAC works to showcase our diverse local cultures & encourages public participation in the arts. Field Trips are free & they collaborate with teachers to provide guided tours in English or Spanish upon request. ADA Accessible.

Santa Cruz Art League (SCAL)
The Santa Cruz Art League, a non-profit, is one of the oldest art organizations in the West, (94 years old.)
SCAL’s mission statement is “Nurturing our community by fostering excellence in every stage of artistic expression.”
Every May SCAL has a county wide High School Exhibit, including public, private, charter, continuation and home schools. They exhibit up to 700 pieces of art from students. SCAL has a 1600 sq. ft. art gallery, 62 seat theater (The Broadway Playhouse), a classroom and a Lobby Gift Shop. They offer ongoing classes and weekend workshops to the public and hold several lobby shows to support local organizations.

Santa Cruz Symphony
The Santa Cruz Symphony has been deeply committed to music education since the inception of its Youth Education Program in 1966. Over the years the program has expanded, bringing classical music education to larger segments of our community. Today the program has four components: Classical Music Classrooms, Classroom Visits, Youth Concerts, and the annual Family Concert. The Classical Music Classroom program, appropriate for elementary and middle school classes, was initiated in 2012; the 5-year curriculum is available for a modest materials fee. Classroom Visits by members of the orchestra and Youth Concerts are offered free to 4th and 5th grade classes. Discounted tickets are available for youth groups to the Symphony’s regular 10-concert season. Further information is available from Santa Cruz Symphony Office.

Santa Cruz County Youth Symphony (SCCYS)
SCCYS serves young musicians of Santa Cruz County and the surrounding communities, providing the area’s only training orchestra of pre-professional caliber. The mission at the Santa County Youth Symphony is to develop excellence in young musicians and advocate for music in the Santa Cruz County community.

The Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History at the McPherson Center (MAH)
The MAH is a thriving, central gathering place where local residents and visitors come together to experience and actively participate in art, history, ideas, and culture.

Tandy Beal & Company
Tandy Beal & Company is being supported by the SC Arts Council, CAC and many other foundations and individuals to offer ArtSmart – Arts Education Program to students in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties. In the beginning of 2015, ArtSmart reached nearly 10,000 students, teachers and parents with its Guest Artists Performances, Professional Development Workshops and participatory Arts In-Services.

Professional Associations/Organizations/Online Resources (by Arts Discipline)


California Dance Education Association (CDEA)
CDEA is a non-profit professional organization dedicated to the artistic and educational advancement of dance as a discrete art form. The organization is the representative body for linking interests of dance educators, dance artists, dance-related professionals and students, and serves as a liaison and representative to local, regional, state, and national arts organizations.

California Educational Theatre Association (CETA)
CETA is the professional association for theatre educators throughout the state.


California Music Educators Association (CMEA)
The purposes of the association are: to promote access to a sequential music education for all Pre-K through grade 12 students taught by fully qualified music educators; to support and improve existing music programs; to promote quality pre-service and in-service music teacher preparation programs; and, to create a greater awareness of the value of music education through partnerships with other associations and advocacy among state and local agencies.

American Orff-Schulwerk Association (AOSA)
AOSA is an organization dedicated to the creative teaching of music and movement as in the approach developed by the composer Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman. The site has many resources for teachers including on-line videos: membership is required in order to view the complete video library…but it is worth every penny of the membership fee to have access to master teachers giving workshops!

Music: Online Resources

Visual Art

California Arts Education Association (CAEA)
CAEA is the professional organization dedicated to the advancement of art education at all levels in the state of California. CAEA’s purposes are to increase public awareness regarding art education, develop and implement strategies for statewide arts advocacy, inform the membership about current issues in art education, recognize the achievements of art educators and students, advocate an art requirement for graduation from secondary schools, and assist the California State Department of Education with the development and implementation of curriculum materials.

Visual Art: Online Resources

  • Art Education 2.0
    Art Teacher Sharing Site
  • UIC
    Spiral Art Education, Olivia Gude, Univ. of Illinois

Arts Education Organizations/Arts Advocacy

Arts Education Partnership (AEP)
Based in Washington, DC, AEP is a national coalition of arts, education, business, philanthropic and government organizations that demonstrates and promotes the essential role of the arts in the learning and development of every child and in the improvement of America’s schools. Their website provides a rich selection of downloadable arts education resources, including information on arts and the common core state standards.

California Alliance for Arts Education (CAAE)
The CAAE is an organization that advocates for arts education and facilitates an arts education information network throughout the state. Their free e-newsletter (ArtsEdMail) is one of the easiest ways to access information on state funding and other developments. To sign up for the bi-weekly newsletter, go to the CAAE web page. The Insider’s Guide to Arts Education Planning and the Unfinished Canvas study is also available on this web site.

California Arts Council (CAC)
The CAC is a state agency set up to advance the communities and schools in the state through the arts and creativity. The agency assists with the professional development of arts leaders, supports arts education in schools in all areas of the state, and promotes awareness of the value of the Arts. The California Arts Council does this by administering a number of competitive grant programs and special initiatives, collecting and disseminating information, and assisting organizations and individuals.

California County Superintendents Arts Intitiative
The California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA) believes that every student needs and deserves a high-quality education in the arts, including the subject areas of dance, music, theatre, and visual arts as part of a comprehensive curriculum. The CCSESA Arts Initiative, sponsored by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, is taking a leadership role in providing support, technical assistance, and services for teachers, administrators, and parents. The CCSESA Initiative is designed to build capacity and provide continued support to schools and districts by offering a full complement of services utilizing the statewide county office of education infrastructure. The web page contains a treasure trove of resources for teachers including lesson plans and model lessons in Arts Integration.

California Department of Education
The California Department of Education provides leadership, technical assistance, and support for state and local educational agencies, professional organizations, and collaborating partners to implement high-quality visual and performing arts education programs, kindergarten through grade twelve. Contact Mary Rice.

California Arts Project (TCAP)
TCAP is one of the state’s subject matter projects and provides NCLB compliant professional development for teachers in the four arts disciplines of dance, music, theatre and visual arts. The TCAP website is also a great resource for information about current arts education initiatives and developments. Executive Director: Kristine Alexander.

Online Resources for Standard and 21st Century Learning in the Arts

1. California Visual & Performing Arts Framework & Standards

  • Visual and Performing Framework
    The complete California VAPA Framework & Standards, an essential resource for developing a sequential classroom curriculum in visual arts, music, theater and dance.

2. Common Core State Standards and the Arts

3. Experiential/Connected Learning & Interdisciplinary Curriculum

Great Teacher Web Sites for Arts Integration Lessons

ARTSEDGE – Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
ARTSEDGE – the National Arts and Education Network, based at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. – supports the placement of the arts at the center of the curriculum and advocates creative use of technology to enhance the K-12 educational experience. ARTSEDGE empowers educators to teach in, through, and about the arts by providing the tools to develop interdisciplinary curricula that fully integrate the arts with other academic subjects. ARTSEDGE offers free, standards-based teaching materials and lesson plans for use in and out of the classroom, as well as professional development resources, student materials, and guidelines for arts-based instruction and assessment. A major resource for teaching in the arts!

Artsource/The Music Center, Los Angles
Provides comprehensive lesson plans designed to help teachers engage students with works of art in music, theatre and dance.

An online clearinghouse for who’s doing exciting, innovative work in K-12 education. Includes lesson plans and ideas for integrating the arts across the curriculum.

Getty Art Museum K-12 Teachers & Students Programs
The Getty Art Museum’s website for teacher, student and professional development resources: curricula and lesson plans for visual arts, including arts integration in Language Arts and ESL.

Lincoln Center Institute for Arts Education