Washington, DC: Arts Curriculums in High Schools

The Arts Program’s fourth Strategy Group convened around the topic of high-school arts education. Using the high schools of Washington DC as a lens toward the broader examination of the strengths and weaknesses of arts ed at this particular level, the Arts Program brought together officials from DC public schools, representatives from charter schools, directors of local arts organization, and representatives from national groups such as the NEA, Kennedy Center, and the Arts Education Partnership.

The meeting was convened at the behest of Barbara Harman, a supporter of the Arts Program, the executive director of the Harman Family Foundation, and the president and editor of  the Catalog for Philanthropy: Greater Washington. In her capacity as foundation president, Ms. Harman had seen a lackluster interest in funding high-school-level arts programs and began to wonder why. So the group was convened to investigate that question and to more generally analyze how an arts education can be systematically improved for students at the high school level across the country.