CHICAGO – Ingenuity, a Chicago-based arts advocacy organization, released State of the Arts in Chicago Public Schools today detailing the level of arts-related instruction, staffing, partnerships, and funding in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) during the 2012-13 school year. The data collected examines how schools match up to the goals and recommendations set forth in the City’s first-ever CPS Arts Education Plan which was approved by the Chicago Board of Education in November of 2012.

“Through a public-private partnership with the City of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools, we’ve compiled quite possibly the most comprehensive set of data on arts education provision of any major urban school district. This report sets the baseline by which the District, schools, community arts organizations, parents and others can track progress going forward, and represents the next step in ensuring an arts education for every CPS student,” said Paul Sznewajs, Executive Director at Ingenuity.

Key findings from the report include:

  • 94 percent of the 577 District-run schools have at least one full- or part-time credentialed arts instructor, though student access to teachers varies;
  • Less than 25 percent of CPS elementary schools provide the CPS Arts Education Plan’s recommended 120 minutes of weekly instruction;
  • The District employs close to the number of credentialed instructors needed to fulfill the new elementary and high school arts requirements, but the distribution of these instructors across the District is significantly uneven;
  • 56 percent, or 323 schools, meet the recommended arts instructor to student ratio of 1-to-350 or less;
  • 95 schools are “Excelling” in arts education provision and investment within the first year of Plan implementation;
  • Total arts education funding is over $120 million annually, but there is need for additional investments from the District if it is to meet the goals of the Plan;
  • 82 percent of District-run schools have both an instructor and at least one community arts partner;
  • The majority of in-school-time partner programs are one-time field trips or performances that may signal little consistent or ongoing student access to longer-term, higher-cost programs such as arts residencies; and
  • 28 percent of schools had an arts residency in 2012–13.


CPS schools compare favorably to other urban schools in a number of ways including a lower student to instructor ratio and an ambitious minimum weekly instruction requirement of 120 minutes of instruction per elementary grade student. The highest category schools on the new CPS Creative Schools Certification—“Excelling” schools—are among top schools nationally for the provision of dedicated arts staffing and instructional minutes for students.

The release of State of the Arts marks the first time a data set this extensive has been compiled for Chicago’s public schools. This is the first in a series of reports by Ingenuity which will track progress toward student access to the arts.  The report serves to invigorate the school district and community arts partners, and sets metrics for meeting the CPS Arts Education Plan’s primary goal of providing every CPS student with equitable access to a quality arts education.

Data was reported through multiple sources, including directly from individual CPS schools’ via Arts Liaisons using Ingenuity’s artlook Schools site. Additionally, data was collected from CPS District files through a data sharing agreement, as well as from the Illinois State Board of Education, from hundreds of community arts partners through Ingenuity’s artlook Partners site, as well as qualitative data from Ingenuity’s advisory panels, CPS parents, and students.

For more information on the CPS Arts Education Plan, the Creative Schools Initiative, and Ingenuity’s State of the Arts Report, visit

State of the Arts Advisory Review Members
Dr. Barbara Byrd-Bennett (Chicago Public Schools), Dr. Henry Frisch (University of Chicago), Tatiana Gant (Illinois Arts Council Agency), Ra Joy (Arts Alliance Illinois), Dr. Timothy Knowles (University of Chicago Urban Education Institute), Karen Lewis (Chicago Teachers Union), Mario Rossero (CPS Department of Arts Education), Robin Steans (Advance Illinois), Elizabeth Swanson (Mayor’s Office, City of Chicago), David Vitale (Chicago Board of Education)

About Ingenuity
Ingenuity serves as Chicago’s single hub of information, advocacy, strategy, and partnerships.  Founded through city-wide collaboration, Ingenuity aims to reinstate arts education in every school for every student.  Ingenuity received a Chicago Innovation Award for its public-private partnership with Chicago Public Schools and the Mayor’s office, to work along with certified teachers, Chicago’s arts and cultural community, parents, students and others to ensure excellence in art education for every student in Chicago Public Schools.

Contact Us

Interested in learning more about what you read above or Ingenuity? Don't hesitate to reach out!

Contact Us