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Supporting Art Education in Baltimore Public Schools

Project type

Social Design




Washington DC

Federal and state-level education budget cuts are primarily affecting and limiting student access to arts education and the quality of such instruction in Baltimore public schools. According to Arts Everyday, the number of arts teachers in Baltimore has been cut in half over the last ten years, while 13 percent of public schools have no certified arts teachers. Budget cuts are doing particular harm to low-income schools where economically disadvantaged students are not exposed to arts education compared to their economically better-off peers. Therefore, limitations on arts education and a small number of course offerings are contributing to the equity gap in society.

This project aimed at developing a concept for creating the capacity to keep arts education in Baltimore public schools by applying social design methodologies.

The project’s discovery step consisted of primary and secondary research activities.
The primary research included: (i) site visits covering three public schools in low-income areas, and (ii) semi-structured interviews with key informants, including six teachers and 12 arts education experts from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) Master of Arts in Teaching Department, Arts Everyday, and American Federation of Teachers.
The secondary research included: (i) desk review of arts education programs in Baltimore and the United States, (ii) compilation of international best practices in the field of arts education.

The results were synthesized and were turned into a strategic roadmap for the next phase of the project.

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