Advocacy & Policy

NAEA Position Statement on Social Justice Art Curriculum

[Adopted April 2024]

Social justice is the pursuit of liberating and empowering all people, regardless of their identity, personal perspective, background, or circumstances, by taking action to eliminate systemic inequities. NAEA supports the development and implementation of a social justice curriculum within the visual arts, media, and design curricula. When using a social justice curriculum, consider the following…

A social justice art curriculum is an educational framework that aims to explore, interrupt, and address issues of systemic and individualized inequities through artistic expression and action..The curriculum should empower students to utilize art as a means to generate significant positive social change. It does so by delving into subjects such as identity, diversity, justice, power, community, and other relevant themes.

A social justice art curriculum encourages students to see art and creative processes as powerful tools for social transformation.

A social justice art curriculum aims to nurture socially conscious artists who use their creative skills to examine and challenge systemic injustices, dispel negative tropes, and create new narratives.

A social justice art curriculum is essential because it gives students the tools to engage meaningfully with the world around them, fostering a sense of agency and a commitment to creating a more just and equitable society through their artistic and creative expression.


Derman-Sparks, L., & J.O. Edwards, & C.M. Goins. (2020). Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves. 2nd ed NAEYC.

Dewhurst, M. (2014). Social Justice Art: A Framework for Activist Art Pedagogy. Harvard Education Press.

Education Amplifier:

EPIC Arts Program at RedLine:

Hicks, B.L. (2016) Beyond this or that: Challenging the limits of binary language in elementary education through poetry, word art, and creative bookmaking in Miller, S. (Ed.). (2016). Teaching, affirming, and recognizing trans and gender creative youth : A queer literacy framework. Palgrave Macmillan

Hochtritt, L., Ploof, J., & Quinn, T. (2012). Art and social justice education : culture as commons. Routledge.

Keifer-Boyd, K., Knight, W. B., Pérez de Miles, A., Ehrlich, C. E., Lin, Y.-J., & Holt, A. (2023). Teaching and assessing social justice art education : power, politics, and possibilities. Routledge.

Kraehe, A., & Acuff, J. B. (2021). Race and art education. Davis Publications, Inc.

Learning For Justice (2023) Social Justice Standards*. Retrieved September 21, 2023 from

Peterson, A., Hattam, R., Zembylas, M., & Arthur, J. (Eds.). (2016). The Palgrave international handbook of education for citizenship and social justice (1st ed. 2016.). Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Rolling Jr., J.H. (June 10, 2020) An open letter to art educators on constructing an anti-racist agenda. NAEA

Sholette, G. & Bass, C. (Eds.). (2018). A*rt as social action : an introduction to the principles and practices of teaching social practice art*. Allworth Press, an Imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

Other key components of a social justice art curriculum to consider for resources: exploring social issues, critical analysis, community engagement, activism, advocacy, intersectionality, and reflection.