Arts in Education

The arts take you straight to the heart of learning. When you dig your thumbs into wet clay to create a water jug just like the ones early Native Americans used to carry water from the stream (before water came from faucets)—history comes alive. When you understand how heat turns that soft clay and liquid glaze into a jug that can actually carry water, science makes sense. Music teaches you the math of intervals, half notes, and time. Performing a poem gives you that poem forever. Create a dance of verbs and adjectives, and your writing is suddenly much more real.

In an age where imagination, creativity, and innovation are essential to success in school, the workforce, and life arts learning experiences in schools and communities are more critical than ever. The North Carolina Arts Council, along with many partners around the state, seeks to create an environment where all children have the opportunity to learn through the arts.

The A+ Schools Program

The A+ Schools Program, established in 1995, is a whole school reform model that views the arts as fundamental to how teachers teach and students learn in all subjects. A+ Schools combine interdisciplinary teaching and daily arts instruction, offering children opportunities to develop creative, innovative ways of thinking, learning and showing what they know. Teaching the required curriculum involves a collaborative, many-disciplined approach, with the arts continuously woven into every aspect of a child’s learning.

To Learn more about the A+ Schools Program, visit our website at

Poetry Out Loud

A partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation and U.S. state arts agencies, the Poetry Out Loud contest encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. The program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage by inviting the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theater into the English classroom.

Click here to learn more about Poetry Out Loud


Established in 2005, cARTwheels is an educational performing arts touring program that ensures students across the state experience professional, high quality, live staged performances before they leave school. The tours include two 50-minute matinee performances, a teacher workshop and study guides to help teachers deepen the educational experience for each of the participating school district.

Click here to learn more about cARTwheels


Professional Development Opportunities for Artists and Educators

United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County: Arts Integration Institute

The Arts Integration Institute, a partnership program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC., provides teacher professional development in arts integration and the use of multiple intelligences. Teams of administrators, classroom teachers, art teachers and parents work collaboratively with artists in hands-on workshops to integrate the arts with NC curriculum and developed lesson plans.

Arts & Science Council Charlotte-Mecklenburg: NC Wolf Trap

NC Wolf Trap (NCWT) is a regional site for the nationally recognized professional development program, Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts, started in 1981. NCWT models professional development in arts integration for teaching artists and pre-kindergarten teachers. The program provides 7-week teaching artist residencies in schools. In that time, teaching artists model for classroom teachers approaches to introduce dance, music and drama into the curriculum to enhance students’ developmental and academic skills.