Ingenuity report shows both resilience and challenges in maintaining arts access in CPS

CHICAGO, IL – Ingenuity today released its 9th annual State of the Arts in Chicago Public Schools report for the 2020-21 school year.  This report presents data tracking student access to arts education in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and identifies opportunities for improvement and growth. It is designed to provide insights to CPS schools, the arts partner community, funders, and other stakeholders in the arts education sector for the development of collective strategies that will close gaps in arts education access.

This year’s State of the Arts report provides updates on how CPS schools and the arts partner community fared in bringing the arts to CPS students in the 2020–21 school year, the first full year of data collected during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data reveals that school communities were resilient in maintaining access to the arts at similar levels to what was seen in 2019-20, but with small drops across most measures. The data also highlights the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on arts partners and their partnerships with CPS schools.

“This year’s SOTA report demonstrates the challenges that schools and arts partners had in maintaining arts access during the pandemic,” says CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “I am eager to partner with Ingenuity and others to build back arts programs to be stronger than ever and ensure that all of our schools have the staffing and resources needed to provide a high-quality arts education for every child.”

A highlighted look at some key findings show:

  • 80% of schools are rated as Excelling or Strong in staffing in the arts, a decrease of 4% from 2019-20. 
  • 82% of elementary schools are rated as Excelling in providing access to any arts instruction, a decrease of 5% from 2019-20. 
  • While arts disciplines and depth of arts instruction in high schools remained steady, the number of high schools offering multi-level coursework dropped across  all arts disciplines. 
  • More than 80% of schools have the arts represented in school governance structures.
  • 69% of elementary and 60% of high schools reported offering family and community engagement opportunities, a decrease of over  25  percentage points from 2018-19 levels. 
  • The number of arts partners working in one or more CPS schools has dropped by 47% since 2018-19. 

“Ingenuity’s data helps guide and align all arts education stakeholders to drive arts resources, staffing, and partnerships and advocate for sustainable arts-positive policies for Chicago’s students,”  says Nicole Upton, Executive Director at Ingenuity. “Ingenuity is ready to support CPS in meeting its arts education goals to ensure that every student in CPS has access to a high quality arts education.”



About Ingenuity

Ingenuity is a backbone arts education 501(c)(3) with core programs in data, advocacy, grant-making, and learning. The organization’s collective-impact approach to arts advocacy drives partnerships, insights, and investments in the arts for 330,000 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

Contact:  Nicole Upton

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