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What is Arts Integration?

Arts Integration is an approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form.

Students engage in a creative process which connects an art form and another subject area and meets evolving objectives in both.

The Birth of the Definition

The Kennedy Center’s Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA) program was in its initial years when it became clear that there was a wide variation in the quality of arts integration teachers were providing in classrooms. Some instruction was on target while others were not. Many heated discussions followed about what the program considered to be “on target.”


This led to a realization that the program has been offering teachers strategies for arts integration— “the how”—but hadn’t been sufficiently preparing teachers to understand the bigger picture and the parameters for what constituted quality arts integration—“the what.”

Thus, the Kennedy Center began an effort to further clarify the key ideas that formed the foundation for its work in arts integration and to draft a comprehensive definition that would provide a foundation for a shared understanding among all program participants.

The effort began with extensive research about how other organizations and programs were defining arts integration. Although many provided excellent descriptions, none totally fit CETA’s vision. After months of research and endless conversations and debates, several key ideas were identified and the definition began to take form.

Although the program strived for a shorter definition, it was decided that length was an invaluable attribute for helping others understand CETA’s perspective on arts integration. As the definition was crafted, the inclusion of every word was debated. The final version does not have a single word that wasn’t carefully scrutinized for inclusion.

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