Arts in Education

Every child in every school has the right to a well-rounded education, of which the arts are an essential ingredient. Beyond having great value in and of itself, the arts promote the health and well-being of children, including academic and personal growth, critical thinking and analytical skills, the motivation to stay in school and excel and movement skills to help combat childhood obesity. Quality arts education is central to a complete education. Experience with the arts gives children the opportunity to achieve their full potential and become artists, audiences, informed citizens, and professionals who are prepared for success in the 21st century economy.

Alaska’s artists and arts organizations are a rich resource that can help schools and communities become creative places where young people flourish and give voice to their personal creativity. The arts can transform the classroom environment, making learning a lively, invigorating experience. With their emphasis on creative discovery and their ability to stimulate a variety of learning styles, the arts engender the 21st century work skills that students can bring to any future employment. The arts also teach discipline, the value of sustained effort to achieve excellence, and the concrete rewards of hard work.

The Alaska State Council on the Arts is part of the Department of Education and Early Development. Accomplishing access to arts education by every child in every school will be done by:

  • Increasing arts education experiences for K-12 students;
  • Developing opportunities for lifelong learning through the arts;
  • Supporting professional development for artists, arts educators and classroom teachers; and,
  • Strengthening the Council’s relationship with state and federal agencies that affect education policy

Arts Education Links

Artists in Schools

Artist Stephen Blanchett with students

2011 Airport Heights AIS residency with Teaching Artist Stephen Blanchett

The Artists in Schools program is supported by the State of Alaska and the National Endowment for the Arts with additional funding from the Rasmuson Foundation. Artists in Schools (AIS) residencies should provide arts experiences and training for students, teachers, and the greater community. Successful applicants will demonstrate how a residency will augment the arts curriculum and the Alaska State Content Standards for Art, connect to other core curricula, include a professional development opportunity for teachers in integrating the residency discipline into future teaching, and create engagement between the school and community.

An AIS School Guide is available on the Artist in Schools page (click on the Artist in Schools title above) to help with planning the residency and applying for the AIS grant. The Statewide Teaching Artist Roster (STAR) is provided as a guide to help identify a teaching artist eligible to provide AIS residency activities.

Successful applicants serve as chief sponsor, designer and coordinator of the program. Technical assistance in the form of artist contract templates and procedure guidelines are available from the Alaska State Council on the Arts. If your district/school has not applied for an AIS grant in the past you MUST contact the program director, Laura Forbes, at; (907) 269-6682 or toll free in Alaska at 1-888-278-7424.

Deadlines for submission are April 15 (for the following school year) and November 1 (for the current school year). Applications and guidelines are available online at Please read all the guidelines and information carefully. If you have questions, please call or email the AIS program director.

Glacier Valley rock band club

Rock Band morning club at Glacier Valley School, Juneau 2010-2011

Rasmuson Cultural Collaborations

These grants are made possible by the Rasmuson Foundation. Project Grants provide funds to support nonprofit organizations and schools in partnership projects that occur outside the normal school day/year. Access Grants, bringing arts to kids, provide funds to support arts activities of less than two weeks during the school year/day. Excursion Grants, bringing kids to arts, fund travel assistance and admission costs for students to experience arts and cultural activities outside their schools.

The guidelines, instructions, applications and final report forms are available on the Cultural Collaborations page of this website. Please read all the guidelines and information carefully. An organization may receive only ONE Cultural Collaboration grant during the state fiscal year (July 1-June 30). If you have any questions please call or email the Arts in Education staff:; 907-269-6682 or toll free in Alaska 1-888-278-7424.

Alaska Statewide Teaching Artist Roster (STAR)

The Alaska Statewide Teaching Artist Roster (STAR) is meant to assist schools and their partners with selecting artists for Artists in Schools (AIS) residencies. AIS is a grant program of the Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA) that promotes arts education as an integral part of the development of our state’s youth, and a critical component of a rigorous education. AIS grants provide Alaska’s students with opportunities for culturally responsive, and creative educational experiences. The residency activities supported by the AIS program are made possible through a partnership between the Alaska State Council on the Arts, a division of the Department of Education and Early Development; the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; and the Rasmuson Foundation.

Artists included on this roster have a wide variety of experience in designing and implementing arts learning experiences across a broad range of educational environments and formats. Teaching Artists provide classroom art experiences for students, and can help teachers develop and implement arts integration activities. STAR artists also provide community workshops, create opportunities for students to observe a professional artist at work, and may provide professional development workshops for local artists and educators.

Artists included in the STAR have been vetted through an application process by a panel of arts professionals. To be included in the roster, artists must demonstrate a high level of artistic accomplishment, experience with and understanding of a variety of educational settings—including the classroom—and the flexibility and willingness to practice as a teaching artist in Alaska.

Increasingly, ASCA is utilizing the STAR as a resource for helping schools and community organizations identify artists to work with outside of the AIS program. As the roster has grown, so has the need for teaching artist professional development. The Teaching Artist Academies—developed in communities throughout the state—have filled that need, and we look forward to the possibility of continuing education for teaching artists. The STAR provides a built-in network for teaching artists.

Statewide Teaching Artist Roster (STAR) 2017 (pdf)

AIS Teaching Artist Guide (pdf)

Statewide Teaching Artist Roster (STAR) Application Form and Guidelines

Artists may apply at any time for the Roster. Applications will be reviewed twice a year. The first deadline for the STAR in any fiscal year is April 15, and the second deadline is November 1.

Questions on the AIS Program should be emailed to or by phone to: (907) 269-6682 or 1-888-278-7424 (toll free in Alaska).


POPL helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

Poetry Out Loud

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with U.S. state arts agencies to support Poetry Out Loud, a contest that encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

For the last several years, we have partnered with the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council to provide resources for teaching and learning poetry throughout Alaska. Registration for the Alaska Poetry Out Loud Program is free, and participating schools and teachers receive teaching materials once registered.


The timeline for Alaska POL 2017 is as follows:

  • October 20, 2017—Deadline for Alaska Poetry Out Loud Registration
  • January 26, 2018—Deadline for Alaska Rural School Competitions
  • January 29, 2018—Video Posting Deadline for Alaska Rural Schools
  • February 2, 2018—Deadline for all Alaska Regional Competitions
  • February 5, 2018—Deadline for all Alaska State Finalist Info to the State POL Program
  • March 6, 2018 —Alaska State POL Finals
  • March 15, 2018—Deadline for state champs to register for National Finals
  • April 23-25, 2018—Poetry Out Loud National Finals

This program reaches thousands of students across the state, each year, so who better to speak about the experience than those students? Play the short video to hear about the experience from Alaskan students participating in the state finals in 2014.

For more information and resources about the Alaska State Poetry Out Loud program, visit the website hosted by the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council. Explore the National Poetry Out Loud website and check out previous year's information on organizing a contest, teachers' materials and Poetry Out Loud on youtube at

Arts Education Resources

ASCA Reports

ASCA Partners

Alaska Arts Education Resources

National Arts Education Resources