Advocacy & Policy

NAEA Position Statement on STEAM Education

[Adopted March 2014; Reviewed and Revised March 2017; Reviewed and Revised March 2022]

STEAM education refers to teaching and learning in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. Effective STEAM education embraces the National Visual Arts Standards and standards from other content areas. The STEAM approach is the integration of the arts and design principles, concepts, and techniques with STEM instruction and learning. High-quality STEAM instruction is achieved through the use of STEAM curricula and the collaboration of non-arts educators with certified/licensed visual art educators and/or teaching artists, art museums, university art education programs and community-based arts organizations. It includes educational activities across all ages in classrooms, virtual, and community-based settings.

STEAM approaches support the inclusion and involvement of professionals and resources from the community to support STEAM programs. Artists and designers experienced with STEAM are integral to driving workforce innovation in a variety of fields. To be successful in STEAM related career fields, learners must be proficient in visual thinking and creative problem-solving facilitated by a strong visual art education. NAEA believes that STEAM education should be among several approaches to arts learning and should not be considered a replacement for standards-based visual arts education or instruction.

Visual arts content and artistic ways of thinking are fundamental and valuable components of high-quality STEAM education. NAEA believes that:

  • STEAM education values all STEAM disciplines equally
  • STEAM education is implemented through a wide variety of approaches
  • STEAM education encourages creativity and innovation and problem-solving
  • STEAM education acknowledges the rigor found in the visual arts