Online tool presents detailed data and view of arts education in R.I. public schools

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Key-Highlights-Thumbnail-724x1024.png
Dashboard highlights

R.I. State Council on the Arts (RISCA) has introduced the most comprehensive view to date of the arts education landscape in R.I.’s public charter and public schools, pre-K through high school. In partnership with the Arts Education Data Project and prepared by Quadrant Research, R.I.’s Arts Education Data Dashboard presents an intuitive, interactive and detailed online look at arts education in our state starting with the 2016-17 school year.

Hosted by RISCA, you can find the Dashboard by clicking here

The R.I. Arts Education Data Dashboard has been in development for more than two years and was built to analyze statistics currently and publicly made available by the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) in partnership with DataSpark at the University of Rhode Island. The Dashboard has been reviewed and approved by RISCA’s staff, its Council’s Executive Committee, the Arts Agency’s Arts Learning Network Committee and representatives from RIDE.

Join the webinar on R.I.’s Arts Education Data Dashboard, on Monday, Oct. 31, at 1 p.m. RSVP is required. Click here, to RSVP.

“This powerful tool, which is easy to navigate, gives unique insight into statewide, district and school level arts education as well as data by artistic discipline,” RISCA’s Executive Director, Lynne McCormack said. “We are pleased to be partnering with the nation’s leading arts education data team and look forward to sharing this powerful tool with parents, educators and school administrators throughout the state.”

Arts education data project’s goals

All students in Rhode Island are entitled to a high-quality arts education that will provide them with the important skills they need to succeed in tomorrow’s workforce. Rhode Island is home to more than 2,000 arts-related businesses that employ almost 16,000 people. The creative industries sector accounts for nearly 5% of the total number of businesses based in Rhode Island. 

The Dashboard can be used to help school leaders, parents and advocates determine the status of arts education access in schools and identify and address existing inequities. By having a complete picture of where schools currently stand, leaders will be able to take steps to close gaps in access to a core arts education curriculum in their districts, ensuring that each R.I. high school graduate is meeting the arts proficiency graduation requirement per the Basic Education Plan.

Arts education requirements in Rhode Island

In schools, Rhode Island has adopted and endorsed the National Core Art Standards,  which include comprehensive proficiency-based standards in dance, media arts, visual arts, music and theatre. According to Rhode Island’s Basic Education Plan:

“Classes in at least visual arts and design and music shall be available for each student in each grade through the middle level. [K-8] Curriculum that includes dance and theatre shall adhere to the applicable grade span expectations. A program of study shall exist for all secondary students to enable them to demonstrate proficiency in at least one art form. Additionally, secondary school students shall be provided with the opportunity to do multiple levels of coursework in visual arts and design in both two and three dimensions and in at least one performing arts discipline.”

In addition to the above language, the arts are a core content area and a diploma requirement for all students.  The information about this arts requirement can be found on relevant tabs on the Data Dashboard, by hovering over the question mark icon.

Key findings from the 2019-20 school year:

  • Most students (98%) had access to at least one arts discipline. However, only 83.6% of students have access to the required amount of arts education.
  • Notwithstanding, the State’s arts proficiency diploma the access rate was lowest in high schools (63%).
  • While access may be high, student enrollments are less than 70% in all five artistic disciplines:
    • 63% of students are enrolled in Music courses.
    • 69% of students are enrolled in Visual Arts courses.
    • 3% of students are enrolled in Theatre courses.
    • >1% of students are enrolled in Dance courses.
    • 12% of students are enrolled in Media Arts courses.
  • 27 districts offered Advanced Placement (AP) course work in the arts and those courses were only in visual arts and music. This is only 41% of public Local Education Agencies (LEAs) or districts in Rhode Island.
  • 64% of schools offer courses in at least 2 arts disciplines. Ten percent of schools offer courses in 4+ disciplines and 3% of schools have no arts courses.

Please note:

The aim of releasing this tool, with some data limitations, is to work to continue to bring awareness and address data quality issues. As with any data project, we will continue to assess its accuracy and collection methods. Please understand the following:

  • Data used for the Rhode Island Arts Education Data Project was self-reported by districts and LEAs.
  • Data may not reflect the complete number of students enrolled or with access to arts programing.
  • Dashboard is missing complete arts course enrollment from a minority of public schools in Rhode Island.
    • As a result, please take caution when considering schools with 0% arts enrollment.
  • Data limitations are present due to inaccuracies with data reporting.

Related links:

Contact Us
Have questions about this project or how to view the data? Email for more information.

Thank you to our partners

Arts professional development program for high school educators seeks applications

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ARTS-TALK.jpeg

RISCA, in partnership with the RISD Museum, R.I. Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School and Trinity Rep., is currently accepting applications for Arts Talk, a free professional development program for high school educators. The program presents fundamental arts integration training across continent areas from Fall 2022 – June 2023. Applications are due on Oct. 25, 2022.

Here’s how it works:

  • High schools enroll teams of 3-6 educators across all content areas.
  • Teams should be composed of at least one arts educator.
  • Those educators will receive certified PLU hours towards recertification while they work with the three organizations to develop a sustainable curriculum for arts integration for the students at their high school across all their contact areas.

The participating high school receives funds for arts learning experiences and field trips for the students of participating educators. The funds cover the cost of all activities including transportation, substitute teachers and field trip days.

At the end of the school year, an arts integration curriculum, including model cornerstone projects will be the final product. The school will keep its specific curriculum to be implemented in following years. The school’s administration will be asked to work with RISCA’s Maggie Anderson and RISCA to make use of grant programs like Project Grants in Education and the Big Yellow School Bus grant to sustain the programs put in place during the year.

If your high school is interested in participating, please complete the ARTS TALK INTEREST FORM.

If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email or email Maggie Anderson at

Arts State Council adds RI artist to its Teaching Artist Roster

To dovetail with National Arts in Education Week, Sept. 11 – 17, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) announced illustrator/printmaker Natasha Brennan, Providence, to its Rhode Island Teaching Artist Roster.

The Roster is a list of teaching artists and arts organizations who have been reviewed by public panels and selected based on their mastery of an artistic discipline, experience and training to work in educational settings. RISCA’s Roster is housed on the New England Foundation of the Arts’ CreativeGround website.

Join us, the CreativeGround team, and other partners in the virtual space for the official online launch event of CreativeGround 2.0! It’s on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 4 p.m. Celebrate the upgrade to the platform and discover how your state and communities are using this network to support the New England Creative Economy. To register: September 15 CreativeGround Kickoff – CreativeGround

The new addition will be added to the website in the coming days or weeks. To see the entire Roster, click here.

“This widely used resource taps into a wonderful resource — our community of RI teaching artists,” said Lynne McCormack, Executive Director of RISCA. “Artist-educators provide support, creativity and passion in our classrooms and related arts educational programs. I am proud to welcome Natasha to our Roster, which now numbers nearly 80 arts educators.”

About the new Teaching Roster artist

Natasha Brennan, based in Providence, is an illustrator and printmaker who focuses on magazines with a twist, called zines, art for children, posters and community-based projects. Currently, Brennan is the artist in residence at the Dirt Palace experimenting with printmaking and quilting. Brennan has worked as a teaching artist for RISD’s Project Open Door, CityArts and Dirt Palace Public Projects, running workshops about printmaking, drawing, activism, building shadow boxes, bookmaking, zines and collage.

In Brennan’s workshops, students learn how to experiment with different materials, explore new storytelling techniques, and work on exciting and engaging projects. Different approaches to projects by students are always encouraged within classes and workshops. Projects can be tailored and adjusted to fit different age ranges and experiences, even within the same group. Brennan’s projects focus on students’ imaginations, group discussions, games and are sometimes inspired by different community organizations and other local artists that are in their community.


About CreativeGround: New England’s free online cultural directory, CreativeGround, connects you with creative New England. Search, create a Profile, and connect today.