The Baltimore Arts Education Initiative

Baltimore City Public Schools in partnership with Arts Every Day launched the Baltimore Arts Education Initiative (BAEI) in Fall 2017 in response to the decline of arts education access districtwide. Thanks to the efforts of over 100 educators, advocates, arts partners, parents, students, district, and city leaders, the BAEI Committee Members created a comprehensive Arts Education Strategic Plan and measurable implementation goals. Under the superb leadership of Superintendent Dr. Sonja Santelises, City Schools adopted the Strategic Plan as a part of its “Blueprint for Success”. BAEI sought to take advantage of unprecedented policy changes and conversations happening at the federal, state, and local levels to re-incorporate arts education as a core education discipline in preK-12 education. 

Since adoption of the Fine Arts Strategic Plan, the total # of certified fine arts teachers has increased by 40%. As of school year 2020-21, 90% of students have access to visual art instruction and 68% of students have access to general music. Inequities persist with less than 15% of students attending schools that offer instrumental music, theater or dance.

Our approach to implementation of the Fine Arts Plan focuses on slow, systemic changes including: 


  • Data collection, analysis and reporting of fine arts courses, teachers, and student access to comprehensive pathways of study in Fine Arts;

  • Policy, procedure, and priority setting at the District, City, and State levels: Based on State and Federal education policy, is the district providing every student with an education that meets or exceeds state standards? What are the barriers to success and how might they be addressed by better policy and practice.

  • Partnership and Community Building: Baltimore City serves as the arts and cultural hub of Maryland. Through working groups and committees, Arts Every Day coordinates community planning and collaborations that further equitable access to the arts districtwide. 

View the 2017 Baltimore City Arts Education Plan

View the  BAEI 2022 Goals Plan



Get Involved!

Calling all students, community members, parents, educators, and arts partners! The long term success of this initiative depends on YOU! Here’s what you can do to help:

  1. Sign up for advocacy alerts


  2. Join a BAEI Committee:

Steering Committee: Meets monthly to develop materials to support plan implementation, review data, closely monitor progress, advise on challenges. Steering Co. will break into small focus groups. Fall Focus Groups to include: Data Analysis, Principal Communications and Support Materials, Parent/Student Awareness during 19-20 Budget Process

Advisory Committee: Meets 2x per year to advise on progress/challenges, bring ideas, partnerships, and opportunities to expand the work.

  1. Get involved at your local school: Meet with your principal, join the PTO, get involved with your school’s budget process. See our School Budget Advocacy 101 for helpful links. 

2017 BAEI Launch Press Release: National Endowment for the Arts Awards Grant to Arts Every Day to Boost Arts Programs in Baltimore City Public Schools

Other Research and Resources