CHICAGO, IL – Ingenuity today released its annual progress report examining arts education in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). The State of the Arts in CPS report for the 2018-19 school year reflects significant growth in arts education access, including a 97% increase in the number of students with regular access to arts instruction over seven years.

“High-quality arts education can be transformational, opening new doors for our students and supporting their academic and social-emotional needs,” said CPS Chief Education Officer, LaTanya McDade. “We are proud of the progress made over the last decade to provide high-quality arts instruction to 75,000 more CPS students, and we will continue to work in partnership with Ingenuity toward our shared goal of bringing a comprehensive arts education to every student in every neighborhood.”

Data used in the report come from Arts Liaisons, a group of designated CPS educators nominated by their principals to be their school’s “arts champion.” Each school’s data is the basis for their Creative Schools Certification rating, which ranges anywhere along a four point scale from Emerging to Excelling. Excelling elementary schools provide students with 120 minutes of arts instruction per week, high schools provide at least three of the five arts disciplines, and both have an arts instructor to student ratio of 1:350.

Ingenuity—CPS’ non-profit partner in ensuring an arts education for every CPS student—has garnered national attention for its arts education advocacy and data collection. Since founding in 2011, Ingenuity’s core strategies in data, advocacy, and professional learning have helped advance the most progress in CPS arts education in 40 years. Their latest State of the Arts in CPS report reveals significant progress in CPS arts education since Ingenuity first began collecting data in 2013:

  • 75,000 more CPS students receive regular access to the arts
  • 97 percent increase in schools rated Strong/Excelling in the arts (29% to 57%)
  • 53 percent increase in high schools with 3 or more arts disciplines (39% to 60%)
  • 17 percent increase in elementary schools offering at least 90 minutes of arts instruction (58% to 68%)
  • 35 percent increase in schools meeting the 1:350 arts instructor-to-student ratio (51% to 69%)
  • 27 percent increase in the number of arts organizations actively working in CPS schools (435 to 552 organizations)

Despite overall increases since 2013, the report also details declines in key arts access indicators from the previous school year, including elementary minutes of instruction (down two percentage points from 2017-18), arts instructor staffing (down two percentage points), and high school arts disciplines and depth (down 4%). 

“After seven years of collecting this data, we’re starting to see trends and identify where arts education access is improving and where the inequities remain,” said Steven Shewfelt, Ingenuity’s Director of Data & Research. “The latest report shows that despite our progress in some parts of the city, 35% of CPS students are still enrolled at schools without consistent access to high-quality arts education, and these students are disproportionately Black and low-income.”

The latest State of the Arts report addresses these inequities head-on, equipping CPS teachers, principals, and arts partners with more detailed data analysis surrounding arts inequity and providing action steps and resources for addressing barriers to arts access. In addition, Ingenuity is working alongside CPS to design targeted strategies to address specific arts barriers highlighted in the latest report. For example, during the 2019-20 school year, Ingenuity unveiled a new Creative Schools Fund pilot program that delivers micro-grants to fund elementary school staff schedule-planning time, with the goal of increasing school-day weekly minutes of arts instruction—one of the key arts access indicators that has declined in recent years. 

“Ingenuity is founded on the mission that every student deserves access to a quality arts education,” said Paul Sznewajs, Executive Director of Ingenuity. “With each State of the Arts report we gain new understandings of the unique arts barriers facing CPS students and schools, and with each report we identify new avenues for achieving our mission.”

CPS, Ingenuity, and other partners use the report to measure collective progress toward arts education equity and access, identify areas of improvement, and to work with school leaders on how to expand arts programming where needed. Additionally, these findings are used at the network and school levels to encourage strategic choices when planning for the arts.

Ingenuity collects State of the Arts data through multiple sources, including individual schools and hundreds of community arts partners, all of which feed Ingenuity’s artlook MapIngenuity’s online data platform that helps cities across the U.S. track access to the arts for students in their schools.


Read the report!


About Ingenuity
Ingenuity is a backbone arts education 501(c)(3) with core programs in data, advocacy, grant-making, and professional learning. The organization’s collective-impact approach to arts advocacy drives partnerships, insights, and investments in the arts for 350,000 students in Chicago Public Schools. A nationally-recognized arts advocacy leader, Ingenuity has advanced the most progress in CPS arts education in 40 years. Learn more at

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