St. Louis ArtWorks | in-depth art instruction, employment training, and 21st-century life skills

We strengthen Missouri education through the arts:
by direct funding, by partnering with others, and by programming.

The Missouri Arts Council has long recognized the value of a strong arts education and the corresponding impact on the state: better educated students, more effective workforce, and economically vital communities. Unlike many other states in the U.S., Missouri has consistently maintained requirements for students to study and experience the fine arts in its public schools. With this in mind, the Missouri Arts Council’s grants for Arts Education support exposure to the arts, discipline-specific sequential learning in the arts, and the integration of the arts with other classroom subjects.

Our Arts Education program extends beyond these grants through partnerships with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education. Resources are committed to strengthen the position and impact of fine arts specialists, improve student achievement through arts integration, develop teaching artist’s skills and opportunities, and support the development of quality community arts education.

Sculptor Sandy Cline helps a student create her own soapstone sculpture

Strengthening the position and impact
of fine arts specialists

Young students study a chart of numbers

Improving student achievement through
arts integration

Teaching artist Sergei Shapoval plays a traditional Ukrainian flute for a large group of delighted young students

Developing teaching artists’ skills
and opportunities


The Missouri Arts Council offers three different grant programs for K-12 schools: the Big Yellow School Bus Grants, the Touring Express Strategic Grants, and the Express and Annual Arts Education Program Grants. (In some cases eligible organizations may apply on behalf of the school.) Schools are limited to receiving three grants, one from each category, within the fiscal year of July 1-June 30.

For assistance, contact Julie Hale, arts education program specialist. | 314-340-6853 | toll free 866-407-4752 |

For field trips occurring between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022

The Big Yellow School Bus Grant helps schools meet the transportation costs of educational field trips to arts institutions and activities in Missouri that are funded by the Missouri Arts Council. Eligible activities include art museums, festivals, exhibitions, and performances of music, dance, and theater.

Experiential learning at cultural institutions is critical to a child’s academic development. These visits help foster creativity and innovation, among the most important skills for students to develop today. Big Yellow School Bus is designed to foster partnerships between schools and art institutions so students across the state can explore and experience all that Missouri’s cultural life has to offer.

The maximum request amount is $300. No match is required. Each school is limited to one Big Yellow School Bus Grant each year.


The Missouri Arts Council has long recognized the value of a strong arts education, and the corresponding impact on the state: better educated students, a more effective work­force, and economically vital communities.

The Missouri Alliance for Arts Education, with the assistance of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the support of the Missouri Arts Council, has created two studies that analyze the relationships in Missouri school districts between student participation in fine arts courses (music, visual art, theater/drama, and dance) and attendance and graduation rates, disciplinary infractions, and statewide tests in language arts and mathematics in the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP). The first study was published in 2010: Arts Education Makes a Difference in Missouri Schools.  The follow-up was published in 2015: Arts Education STILL Makes a Difference in Missouri Schools. 

You can download the complete studies as 32-page PDFS and the key findings in two-page summaries.

The reports reflect our unequivocal belief: every child benefits from art in their education.

Our partnership with the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education in funding this study is a key part of understanding the public value of the arts in our society. Appreciating and supporting the arts in general benefits from graduating students with nec­essary critical and creative skills. We know that adults that have encountered the arts as youth are more likely to engage with the arts as adults. Pablo Picasso recognized the challenge when he said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

These reports underscore, once again, the unique and complex benefits of the arts.

Cover of Missouri Alliance for Arts Education 2015 study: students making clay art


ARTSEDGE, the National Arts and Education Network, empowers educators to teach in, through, and about the arts by providing the tools to develop interdisciplinary curricula that fully integrate the arts with other academic subjects. On its website, you will find free standards-based teaching materials, professional development resources, student materials, and guidelines for arts-based instruction and assessment. |