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Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards

Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards

   The arts are a dynamic presence in our daily lives, enabling us to express our creativity while challenging our intellect. Through the arts, children have a unique means of expression that captures their passions and emotions and allows them to explore ideas, subject matter, and culture in delightfully different ways. Achievement in the arts cultivates essential skills, such as problem solving, creative thinking, effective planning, time management, teamwork, effective communication, and an understanding of technology.

   The visual and performing arts standards presented here are comprehensive and provide important guidance for schools to prepare curricula for students in prekindergarten through grade twelve. For the four disciplines of dance, music, theatre, and visual arts— each with its own body of knowledge and skills—the standards are organized into five strands that are woven throughout all artistic experiences. The standards incorporate both traditional means of artistic expression and newer media, such as cinematography, video, and computer-generated art.

   Dance, music, theatre, and the visual arts have endured in all cultures throughout the ages as a universal basic language. The arts convey knowledge and meaning not learned through the study of other subjects. Study in and through the arts employs a form of thinking and a way of knowing based on human judgment, invention, and imagination. Arts education offers students the opportunity to envision, set goals, determine a method to reach a goal and try it out, identify alternatives, evaluate, revise, solve problems, imagine, work collaboratively, and apply self-discipline. As they study and create in the arts, students use the potential of the human mind to its full and unique capacity. The visual and performing arts are a vital part of a well-rounded educational program for all students.

   For each arts discipline the content standards are grouped under five visual and performing arts strands: artistic perception; creative expression; historical and cultural context; aesthetic valuing; and connections, relations, and applications. At each grade level, prekindergarten through grade eight, content standards are specified for each strand. For students in grades nine through twelve, the proficient level of achievement can be attained at the end of one year of high school study within an arts discipline after the student has attained the level of achievement required of all students in grade eight. Many students also elect to take additional arts courses at the advanced level. That level can be attained at the end of a second year of high school study within an arts discipline after the proficient level of achievement has been attained.

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