All AEMS Resources
Updated: Feb 15
Browse AEMS's library of advocacy resources. We are frequently updating this page, so check back often to find general and policy-specific arts education advocacy resources! Explore our resources below or for other curated advocacy materials, check out these specific pages with resources for different members of Maryland's vibrant arts education ecosystem.
AEMS-created Resources (more coming soon!)
Arts Education 101 Checklist
The basics of arts education advocacy is to assess the situation in your school community. This checklist will help you determine if there is appropriate arts education access in your school community. Explore more of AEMS's resources, or reach out to us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can't check all of these boxes for your school community:
▢ Does this school have certified arts educators?
▢ If so, how many and in which disciplines?
▢ How many hours of instruction per week will my child have access to arts education?
▢ Is it the same # of hours every quarter/semester/year?
▢ Does this school have partnerships with any outside arts organizations?
▢ Will my child have access to arts education in every grade at this school?
▢ What level courses are offered? (Art 101, 401, etc.)
▢ What after-school arts opportunities are available?
Download this checklist here!
The requirements for Maryland's public schools are governed by the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR). While the regulations set out in this code do not have attached legislation that requires their funding, they lay out what Maryland public school students are legally entitled to in their education, and what the state high school graduation requirements consist of. Below is the COMAR regulation about arts education. Note that these are not supplemental courses, and that an arts credit is required to graduate.
Here is the relevant text of COMAR as a graphic
Here is the relevant text of COMAR in text form:
The Fine Arts in the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR)
.01 Requirements for Fine Arts (Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre, Visual Art) Instructional Programs for Grades Prekindergarten –
2A. Each local school system shall:
(1) Provide an instructional program in fine arts each year for all students in grades prekindergarten—8 as follows:
(a) Within the prekindergarten—5 grade span, students shall have experiences in the fine art forms of dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual art; and
(b) Within grades 6—8, students may specialize in one or more of the fine art forms of dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual art; and
(2) Provide an instructional program that enables all students in grades 9—12 to meet graduation requirements, and to select from among fine arts elective courses of dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual art that will prepare them for post-secondary education and careers.
While the regulation uses the word "elective courses" (.01.2A.2), this is slightly misleading. These courses are still required, but students may elect from a set of options of all five of Maryland's fine arts disciplines. The courses are not elective and students are required to have access to courses in Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts.
Download this info here:
Speak Up for the Arts 1-pager
The arts are not only required by COMAR, they're also essential for students well-being, social-emotional learning, and they enhance student performance in other subject areas!
Arts education is required by law!
The Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR 13A.04.16) requires that school systems provide their students with classes and experiences in Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts.
Arts education is essential!
Students need the arts as part of a well-rounded education! Arts education develops creative problem-solving, critical thinking, language skills, and contributes to Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Students who participate in the arts have higher retention rates and perform higher academically.
Arts education is beneficial!
The arts contribute to students’ mental health and wellbeing (this is true for adults, too!). The arts offer students to find creative ways to express themselves, process their experiences, and take action to challenge injustice. In the face of trauma, the arts help us heal.
Download this information as a 1-pager (with embedded links) to tackle a bunch of different sides of why Maryland students NEED the arts!
Change the Language!
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.
ARTS CLASSES = CORE CLASSES
Arts Education Advocacy 101s
Use the embedded videos to access the whole suite of webinars created by AEMS and presented by field experts in aspects of arts education advocacy! The Arts Advocacy 101 tutorials are dedicated to empowering students, families, educators, and the community to effectively advocate for arts programming in Maryland schools.
Navigating Local School Boards with Michael Bell
Advocacy through Testimony with Julia DiBussolo
Navigating Annapolis with Shamoyia Gardner
Rally Parents to Your Cause with Matthew Prestbury
The Art of Storytelling. with Mothyna James-Brightful
Tips for Talking with Principals with Marc Martin
Bringing your A.-G.A.M.E. to Arts Ed Advocacy with Krystal Williams
Americans for the Arts (AFTA) Resources
Use the collapsible menu below to navigate through resources from Americans for the Arts (AFTA). The series of e-books is designed to help educators, students, and advocates alike navigate the complex field of arts education. Each e-book in the covers a specific topic, ensuring arts education supporters like you are equipped with the knowledge, statistics, and case-making techniques needed to effectively communicate with decision-makers.
Arts Education Navigator (2013) #1: Getting Started
Arts Education Navigator #1: Getting Started
Arts Education Navigator (2013) #2: Facts & Figures
Arts Education Navigator #2: Facts & Figures
Arts Education Navigator (2013) #3: Making the Case
Arts Education Navigator #3: Making the Case
Arts Education Navigator (2013) #4: Mobilizing Support
Arts Education Navigator #4: Mobilizing Support
ArtsEd Leader's Guide (2020)
ArtsEd Leader's Guide, from AFTA and the National PTA
Use the collapsible menu below to find links to organizations and offices involved in the arts education policy. It is important to create and support community to mobilize for change, and to know who are the key players in change-making.
Go Further: Watch the Advocacy 101 video on Navigating Annapolis, with Shamoyia Gardiner
District-Level Connections: Local Teacher Associations
Access your local affiliate to the Maryland State Educators Association (MSEA)!
Baltimore City* (*Baltimore Teacher's Union, not an MSEA affiliate)
Go Further: Brush up on your advocacy "A.G.A.M.E." with the Advocacy 101 miniseries, with Krystal Williams
District-Level Connections: Local Boards of Education
Access your local county board of education!
Go Further: Learn about effective tactics to navigate local school boards with Michael Bell!
Local PTAs and Advocacy Orgs.
Access your local county-wide Parent-Teacher Associations using the buttons below. Be aware that not every Maryland county has a PTA. Sometimes individual schools will have a PTA within a county that does not have a county-wide PTA. When in doubt, be sure to double check if your school has an organization.
Allegany County Parent Advisory Council
Anne Arundel County Council of PTAs
Baltimore City Parent & Community Advisory Board
Arts Every Day (Baltimore City arts education advocacy organization)
Baltimore County PTA Council
Calvert County PTA Council
Charles County PTO/PTSO
Frederick County PTA Council
Harford County PTA Council
Howard County PTA Council
Montgomery County PTA Council
Case-Making & Resource Blogs
Use the list below to browse these routinely-updated blog feeds for the latest articles and resources on the benefits of arts education, trends in arts education policy, advocacy tip, and more!
International Arts + Mind Lab: A regularly updated blog with studies and articles on how the arts support brain health
Arts Education Partnership (AEP): Arts Ed Amplified Blog
Arts ARE Education (ARE) Blog: blog for a national campaign in support of arts education for all students
Arts Education Partnership (AEP): ArtsEd Digest: AEP’s bi-monthly newsletter highlighting news from AEP partner organizations and the field, including reports, research and job opportunities.