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Arts Education is a Civil Right!

In Maryland, the arts (Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre, and Visual) are core subjects, as stated in the Code of Maryland Annotated Regulations (COMAR), making arts education a right for all students. Arts Education is a Civil and Human Right is the driving force behind our advocacy initiatives. The three main components of arts education being a civil right for us are:

  • Systemic Issues of Arts Education Access – What is the root cause of why arts education is pervasive in one county versus another? Around the state, we’re working on statewide policy to understand why this is an issue county by county.

  • Arts are a Tool for Educational Equity – Addressing the arts outside of the arts classroom (arts integration, Arts &…) and understanding how creativity can be used to help students thrive and close the opportunity gap.

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  • Equity within Arts Education – Who does and doesn’t have access to the arts on a local level? Why don’t they have access? What can we do to get them access to a high quality arts education across all counties?


We know that each of these components require the help of everyone: students, families, teachers, school and district staff and administrators, community members, and policy makers to be able to work collectively to ensure that each of our students have access to arts education.

At AEMS, we advocate for arts education for all of Maryland’s public school students. This requires advocating at the level of state policy as well as working with local networks of arts education advocates to make sure you have arts education in your local communities. The more you know about the rights of Maryland students, the questions to ask, and some helpful facts and figures to make the case, the more we can work together to effectively create change for the students in your community!

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Click to access more AEMS advocacy resources.


  • We often hear arts courses called “specials,” “resources,” or “electives” but the arts are CORE classes.

  • Arts credits are required to graduate and arts classes are required by law.

  • It is important that administrators, educators, and families use terminology that appropriately acknowledges that the arts are required.

  • By using language that diminishes the importance of arts education, we continue a culture that undervalues the arts as an essential component to human development, which is the status quo in many places.

  • We must be intentional about changing that culture through the language that educators, administrators, and families all use.



190 W. Ostend St.

Baltimore, MD







EIN: 52-2056349

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