The Future of Arts Education in Baltimore City- A Letter from our Executive Director

Did you know…

According to the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR), districts are required to provide every student, every year with an instructional program in visual art, music, theater, dance and media arts?


Yet many schools in Baltimore City have little to no access to arts instruction because 1) Arts education under COMAR remains an unfunded mandate statewide, 2) By the state of Maryland’s own analysis on the adequacy of education funding, City Schools should receive an additional $290-$358 million each year- this shortfall in funding has resulted in devastating cuts to school budgets in Baltimore City over the past 10 years, 3) As a district, Baltimore City did not report on arts access or have a plan for expansion.

Baltimore City Public Schools in partnership with Arts Every Day launched the Baltimore Arts Education Initiative in 2017 to ensure access to arts education for every student in every school. In collaboration with over 100 community members and district leaders the 2017 Arts Education Strategic Plan was written and adopted by Dr. Sonja Santelises as part of her Blueprint for Success.

I urge you to join me at the Baltimore City Council Youth and Education Council hearing on Arts Education on Thursday, October 18 from 5-7PM at City Hall. RSVP HERE

As the state appointed Kirwan Commission considers how to change the education funding formula and the district begins to implement the arts plan, it is important that our state and local leaders know why we value the arts.

Help us by:

  • Attending AND bringing parents, students and community members

  • Signing up to testify public comment period

  • Sharing this event through email and social media

  • Sharing why arts education is important to you by posting to social media with the hashtags #ArtsMakeSchoolsBetter #BecauseOfArtsEd

  • Staying connected to advocacy efforts at the state level through Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance and the City level through Arts Every Day




  1. $290 million shortfall was estimated by the Maryland Department of Legislative Services based on what the current 2002 Thornton education funding law should be providing to City Schools each year to meet “adequate” funding levels. If the state had not cut the formula in 2007-08 the shortfall could be as high as $358 million annually, as estimated by the state’s consultants, Augenblick, Pailach, and Associates (APA), who were hired to evaluate the adequacy of Maryland’s education funding formula.
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