Arts Education

The Heckscher Foundation believes that the primary arena for excellent arts education is the classroom, and that arts organizations should work consistently and strategically in schools and with teachers, understanding the demands of existing curricula and official standards. Acknowledging the connection between long-term arts programming and improved achievement in the classroom and on standardized tests, the foundation seeks to fund programs in which arts education is aligned with the academic curriculum and fosters academic performance. High-quality out-of-school arts education programming will use art to engage students in supplemental academic work such as college access programming.

Programs should be able to demonstrate how participation helps to further the foundation’s mission to “level the playing field” by providing exposure to and experience in the arts for children who otherwise might not have such opportunities. The foundation is particularly interested in programs that lead to increased knowledge about the arts including theatre, visual arts, digital media, dance, and music, while simultaneously achieving positive behavioral outcomes such as:

  • Increased school subject performance as a result of integrated arts education
  • Increased SAT scores on both verbal and math examinations
  • Improved scores on state-mandated exams such as the New York State Regents Examinations
  • Demonstrated literacy skill-building including reading comprehension and writing skills
  • Avoidance of at-risk behaviors
  • Demonstrated increased school engagement
  • Acquisition of arts skills in theatre, visual arts, digital media, dance or music

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