National Visual Arts Standards

The National Visual Arts Standards are part of the National Core Arts Standards, which were launched in 2014.

Why State and National Educational Standards?

Throughout the United States, each State Department of Education creates policy and sets education standards to provide guidelines and expectations for what students should know and be able to do throughout k-12 schooling in their state. While public schools are required to meet local and state standards, national standards are voluntary and used by some states to inform the development of their own state standards; other states adopt the national standards as their state standards. To know if your state has standards for visual arts, go to ArtScan.

What do you mean by Visual Arts?

Visual Arts, as defined by the National Art Education Association, include the traditional fine arts such as drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, and sculpture; media arts including film, graphic communications, animation, and emerging technologies; architectural, environmental, and industrial arts such as urban, interior, product, and landscape design; folk arts; and works of art such as ceramics, fibers, jewelry, works in wood, paper, and other materials.

Are there National Standards for Visual Arts?

Yes. There are voluntary national standards for visual arts, dance, music, theater and media arts. First developed in 1994, a new generation of standards was released in 2014. NAEA believes that all students deserve access to art education taught by art educators who are accountable to students, families and stakeholders in their community. View NAEA’s Vision Statement

The national visual arts standards were created by visual arts educators working with colleagues across the field of arts education to create standards for each arts education discipline. The national media arts standards were created by arts educators from across the field of arts education with representation from visual arts, dance, music and theater. The standards are written to be instructional, assessable and aspirational. Learn more about the history and process for developing the National Arts Education Standards.

The Status of Arts Standards Revision in the United States since 2014

This publication was published by the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards in March 2018.

Launch of the National Core Arts Standards

Watch the October 2014 webcast of the public launch of the National Core Arts Standards.

Does NAEA Provide Professional Development for Art Educators About the National Visual Arts Standards? 

Yes. NAEA provides virtual and face-to-face training through a variety of opportunities. Visit events and Virtual Art Educators. If you are interested in NAEA bringing training to your state or district, contact Dennis Inhulsen, NAEA Chief Learning Officer, at

Learn the Standards for the Visual Arts

Please review the following NAEA publications:

NAEA Policies Related to School Art Program Standards

The NAEA Board adopted these policies as part of the research for updating the NAEA publication, Purposes, Principles, and Standards for School Art Programs, which provides what is commonly referred to as “Opportunity to Learn Standards.” This detailed publication provides information about what standards need to be in place in order to build a high quality visual arts education program at all grade levels and district-wide. The “Opportunity to Learn Standards” provide checklists for program evaluation in the following areas: Organizational Structure; Curriculum Development; Personnel; Time and Scheduling; Buildings and Facilities; Materials, Equipment and Resources; and Budget.

View/Download the National Visual Arts and Media Arts Standards

  1. Go to
  2. Scroll to bottom of homepage, click on far left button
  3. Drop down to Visual Arts or Media Arts
  4. Download the PDF
  5. “Save as” to your computer
  6. Print on ledger size paper Customize your own handbook! Scroll to bottom of homepage, click on far right button.