Arts Alert: New Window Opens to See Arts Education in Minnesota Schools


A new window into arts education opened today with the launch of the Arts Education Data Project showing what arts courses are being offered in Minnesota high schools.

The Arts Education Data Project is a new partnership between Creative Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Education, and the Perpich Center for Arts Education with the assistance of the Minnesota Music Educators Association.  

Its aim is to understand what student access to arts education looks like across the state.

The resulting study and online resource share data for high schools, and information on grades K-8 will become available over time.

This tool helps schools, principals, superintendents, families and community members learn whether or not their school is providing the state-mandated access to arts courses. They can then advocate for more arts education in their communities. The project also examines whether access to and participation in arts education is equitable across Minnesota and for different groups of students.

The Arts Education Data Project was made possible by new data collected by the Minnesota Department of Education. Minnesota law sets requirements for arts education offerings, credits for graduation, and achievement of academic standards in the arts.

High schools must offer at least three and require at least one of the following arts areas: media arts, dance, music, theater and visual arts. Students must take one credit in the arts to graduate. Local control in Minnesota means that each school district decides how it will provide arts education to its students.

Unfortunately, 24% of high schools have not yet reported into the system which makes it difficult to state how many are meeting or exceeding state requirements. However, we can see that some high schools are meeting or exceeding the requirements set in statute and some are not.

According to 2016-17 data:

  • Approximately 20 percent of high schools have affirmatively reported that they are providing access to three arts disciplines as required in statute.
  • However, 76 percent of students attend schools that report they provide access to at least some arts courses.
  • The most common disciplines offered are Visual or Media Arts and Music.

This is the first opportunity to learn about arts course offerings across the state. It is not yet known what percentage of students have access to the three arts areas in high school. It may be that what their school has reported does not meet the requirement, or it may be that the school has not reported in at all.

As more schools submit the necessary information and understand the reporting requirements, better data will be available.

Visit to see your high school’s arts offerings. If your school’s data is missing, give them a call and ask them to report.

Photos: TPT Minnesota Original Program, Duluth Art Institute.