Advocacy & Policy

NAEA Position Statement on Arts Integration

[Adopted March 2013; Reviewed and Revised March 2016; Reviewed and Revised February 2021]

NAEA recognizes the importance of arts integration as a philosophy, NAEA recognizes arts integration as an integral part of contemporary art practice, rather than a separate philosophy, pedagogy or methodology. Art explores and interprets the world; it is often based on research and tackles big ideas and issues.

Arts integration builds greater understanding across disciplines, supporting authentic experiences that engage and motivate learners. This practice provides multiple modes of learning and understanding, while also fostering imagination, creativity and personal interpretation of ideas and topics. Through creative inquiry, art integration generates a level of personal connection and insight that supports the processes of art making. Arts integration is particularly suited to building a learner’s capacity for connection making between self, others and the world.

Effective arts integration embraces the National Visual Arts Standards and standards from other content areas. Various models of arts integration provide options for art educators and generalists. One example is a model which calls for an exploration of a cross-disciplinary theme in multiple classrooms. This approach requires collaboration among educators; in it, they are the integrators. Another example is a model is based in the art studio classroom. In this model, learners research and interpret cross-disciplinary themes, ideas and issues through art. In this approach, the learners are the integrators. One of the key benefits of art integration is the way it encourages learners to stretch and explore their thinking.

Arts integration is key to meaningful, inclusive, and humanistic learning. Arts integration nurtures learner’s abilities, conceptual tools and strategies to construct meaning and achieve understanding. This practice democratizes art rooms enabling learner’s voice and perspectives to be represented through artistic expression.


Marshall, J., Ledo-Lane, A., & McAvoy, E. (2019). Integrating the visual arts across the curriculum: An elementary and middle school guide.

Marshall, J., Donahue, D., Ayers, R., & Hetland, L. (2014). Art-centered learning across the curriculum: Integrating contemporary art in the secondary school classroom.

Edited by David M. Donahue, Jennifer Stuart; foreword by Cyrus E. Driver; afterword by Lois Hetland. (2010). Artful teaching: integrating the arts for understanding across the curriculum, K-8. New York: Reston, VA: Teachers College Press; National Art Education Association

Clark, Jr. Edward T. (2002) Designing and Implementing an Integrated Curriculum

Stewart, Marilyn & Walker, Sydney (2005) Rethinking Curriculum in Art: Worcester, MA: Davis Publications

Blythe, T & Associates (1997). The Teaching for Understanding Guide. Wiley & Sons, Incorporated.

Kennedy Center definition: 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 and art form and another subject area and meets evolving objectives in both.

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