Official Portal for the North Dakota State Government North Dakota Lengendary, Link to ND Tourism Information
Dance, Drama, Literature, Music, Visual and Traditional Arts
Dance-Ballet picture
Musical instrument
Walter Piehl Painting
Visual Arts vase
Literary Arts pen
Film-Movies image
ARTS Trunks image

design element

Arts in Education, Guiding Principles

Arts in Education Philosophy
The intent of the Arts in Education Program is to enrich and support arts education throughout North Dakota. With the passage of No Child Left Behind, the arts are acknowledged as a core academic subject. In addition to being a part of the core curriculum, the arts can also be used as a tool to teach other core subjects, such as: reading, math, science, and social studies. A team of North Dakota educators and artists worked together to develop the North Dakota Arts Content and Achievement Standards. Schools are encouraged to develop curriculum in accordance with our state standards.

The Arts in Education Program values the arts as essential to lifelong learning and strives to achieve the following:

  • Promote the arts as basic to the education of all North Dakota youth.
  • Seek partnerships with educational and arts institutions to support comprehensive arts education.
  • Develop collaborative relationships with artists, schools, teachers, parents, administrators and community organizations.
  • Provide resources that support the importance of lifelong learning in the arts.

Rationale for Arts Education
If you are looking for reasons why arts education programs can achieve student learning in special and unique ways, take a look at the following list, compiled by New Horizons for Learning, an international education network based in Seattle, Washington.

The arts:

  • are languages that all people speak - that cut across racial, cultural, social, educational, and economic barriers and enhance cultural appreciation and awareness.
  • are symbol systems as important as letters and numbers.
  • integrate mind, body, and spirit.
  • provided opportunities for self-expression, bringing the inner world into the outer world of concrete reality.
  • offer the avenue to "flow states" and peak experiences.
  • create a seamless connection between motivation, instruction, assessment, and practical application - leading to "deep understanding."
  • develop both independence and collaboration.
  • provide immediate feedback and opportunities for reflection.
  • make it possible for us use personal strengths in meaningful ways and to understand sometimes difficult abstractions through these strengths.
  • merge learning of processes and content.
  • improve student achievement - enhancing test scores, attitudes., social skills, critical and creative thinking.
  • exercise and develop higher order thinking skills including analysis, synthesis, and "problem-finding."
  • are essential components of any alternative assessment program.
  • provide the means for every student to learn.

Why the Arts are Important
The North Dakota Council on the Arts presents the Arts-in-Education Grant Guidelines for classroom teachers, schools, school districts, and non-profit organizations to learn about funding opportunities to bring arts experiences into schools and communities throughout North Dakota. Reading, writing, and math skills can be enhanced through the arts. Many studies document the role of the arts in improving basic skills. As stated in the document "Eloquent Evidence: Arts at the Core of Learning," which is published by the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities:

"The arts can play a crucial role in improving students' ability to learn because they can draw on a range of intelligences and learning styles. Schools that incorporate music, art, drama, dance and creative writing into the basic curriculum have found that teaching the arts has a significant effect on overall success in school. Because the arts are closely associated with important ideas and events in history, students who have a good background in the arts are likely to have a richer source of information and insight to draw upon, compared to those who do not study the arts."

The arts can transform the classroom environment, making learning a lively, invigorating experience. With their emphasis on creative discovery and their ability to stimulate a variety of learning styles, the arts engender enthusiasm and motivation for learning. The arts also teach discipline, the value of sustained effort to achieve excellence, and the concrete rewards of hard work.

Professional Development:

  • *(Classes are now full, if you would like to be put on a waiting list contact Rebecca Engelman at Picturing Writing: Fostering Literacy Through Art Workshop, June 11, 12 & 13, 2014, at the ND Heritage Center, Bismarck, ND. Picturing Writing is an innovative, proven approach to literacy learning designed to engage students with diverse learning styles. This art-and-literature-based approach to writing offers students the opportunity to become proficient in two languages: the language of pictures and the language of words. As students move back and forth between the two, they gain access to ideas, language, and forms of expression otherwise unavailable.
  • Summer Intensive Teaching Artist Workshop. One of today’s challenges for arts organizations is to bring our teaching artists’ best work to the “shared endeavor” of making the arts a part of every child’s PK-12 education. Experts in the field suggest that arts organizations can offer the best work to that shared endeavor when we invest in long-term professional learning for our teaching artists. When we invest in the knowledge and skills of our teaching artists, we increase the value of their work with schools. This summer, North Dakota Council on the Arts will partner with Melanie Rick, course leader and coach for the Kennedy Center's Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA) program in Washington, D.C. and consultant with Focus 5, Inc. to present “Mapping the Journey: Planning Effective Residencies for Students.”  Thisprofessional learning opportunity provides teaching artists with structure, guidance, and tools to implement clear goals in their residencies and lessons and to prove to administrators the value of their work. Each participant also receives a binder of resource materials, which documents and extends the workshop content. North Dakota Council on the Arts invites all North Dakota teaching artists to explore this wonderful opportunity on August 4-5 at the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck. A $50 fee is required upon registration and is refunded upon successful completion of all course requirements. Hotel arrangements for those residing outside the Bismarck/Mandan are available upon request. More information and registration form is available via this link. For questions, please contact: Rebecca Engelman, Arts in Education Director, ND Council on the Arts; Email:; or call: (701)328-7593.
  • STEAM Team Summer Workshop (more information coming soon...)

2010 Peer Coach Report: Building a Collective of Critical Friends: Interagency Work Among the Arts in Education Programs at the Perpich Center for Arts Education, the North Dakota Council on the Arts, and the Minnesota State Arts Board.

Arts Education Campaign
The North Dakota Council on the Arts sponsored an Arts Education awareness campaign stressing the benefits and importance of an arts education for North Dakota’s youth. NDCA worked with KAT Productions to produce 30-second television and radio public service announcements that will give real life examples of how the arts have affected the lives of several individuals. This awareness campaign is directed to parents of elementary, middle and high school students, and is the culmination of the work of the Arts Education Task Force. NDCA convened this task force comprised of educators, school administrators, policy makers, parents, artists, arts organizations, and community leaders in the state to identify, support, and expand the quality of learning in and through the arts. The ads focus on four aspects of the arts: create, feel, discover and learn. (click on the links to view the 30-second ads).

NDCA blue art footer with typed arts disciplines listed