Arts Education for Missouri

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.


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 |

Big Yellow School Bus Grant

• For field trips occurring between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.

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.

Touring Express Strategic Grant

• For programs taking place between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.

The Touring Express Strategic Grant funds 60% of artistic fees for schools and organizations to present performing artist(s) at assemblies and may include pre/post educational workshops or related activities. Performing artists must be listed as “school touring qualified” on the Missouri Arts Council’s Directory of Missouri Touring Performers. Programs provided through the catalogues of Kansas City Young Audiences and Springboard (St. Louis) are also eligible, provided that the artist(s) reside in Missouri.

The maximum request amount is $3,000 per organization or school district, $1,000 maximum per school, with no more than one application per fiscal year. A 40% cash match is required. Multiple performances can be included in the application. Any school may receive one of these grants each year.

Express and Annual Arts Education Program Grants

• For programs taking place between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.

Arts Education Program Grants fall into three categories: Artist in Residence, Out of School projects, and Professional Development for teachers and teaching artists. Grant money can be used to pay fees charged by professional artists (teaching artists), their travel expenses, and project-related educational materials and supplies. (Please note that Missouri Arts Council funds cannot be used to purchase equipment, pay for student transportation, or to pay teacher’s salaries.)

Eligible projects are planned, organized, and implemented by a committee which could include teachers, teaching artists, representatives from partnering organizations, administrators, students, parents, and/or community members. The committee coordinator oversees all activities and serves as contact person for the grant. Applications must identify target groups of students, include specific arts learning objectives, and provide a quality assessment and evaluation plan.

These grants must be matched dollar for dollar. Applicants may use any school administrator or teacher time spent on the project as part of the cash match. Within the school year any school may receive one Arts Education Program grant, whether awarded on the annual or monthly application cycle.

Artist in Residence is designed to strengthen school fine arts curriculum (dance, drama, creative writing, music, and visual arts) or for integration of arts subjects with other curriculum (such as communication arts, social studies, math, or science). A residency must include direct, hands-on experience between the visiting artist and target and exposure groups. Residencies integrating fine arts content into non-arts curriculum should align studies in the fine arts with relevant themes taught in non-arts classrooms.

Out of School supports quality arts education activities serving at-risk, urban and/or rural underserved children and youth. These activities should take place outside of the normal classroom day, and could occur outside of the school building. Applicants must demonstrate how participating students lack access to arts education due to geography, economic conditions, ethnic background, or disability.

Professional Development supports arts learning opportunities for teachers, school administrators and teaching artists. The grant pays fees for qualified facilitators/speakers to lead instruction in teaching the arts and for integrating the arts into non-arts curriculum.


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, created an original study in 2010 and has released the 2015 followup: Arts Education STILL Makes a Difference in Missouri Schools: A Study of Fine Arts Education in Missouri School Districts. 

The report reflects our unequivocal belief: every child benefits from art in their education.

You can download the complete 2015 study as a 32-page PDF.

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.”

This report underscores, 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. |

Arts Education Partnership

Since its founding in 1995, Arts Education Partnership (AEP) has become the primary forum and meeting ground for organizations to explore how the arts can transform American education. AEP publishes research and advocacy materials supporting the role of arts education in schools. It also maintains a list-serv through which organizations share and receive timely information on issues relevant to arts education at the national and state level. |

Business/Legal Resources

Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts in St. Louis (VLAA) and Kansas City (KCVLAA) provide legal and accounting assistance to individual artists and arts organizations through a referral service for eligible candidates. They also provides educational programs, resource libraries (in print and online), and publications on arts law and related business topics. | and

Funding Resources

The Foundation Center is an authoritative source of information on philanthropy and is dedicated to serving grantseekers, grantmakers, researchers, policymakers, media, and general public. The Center’s extensive resources are available through its website. In Missouri, the resources are also available across the state at Funding Network Information locations (free funding information centers that provide a core collection of  publications, supplementary materials, and services). |

Missouri Alliance for Arts Education

The Missouri Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) is a non-profit organization representing arts education organizations and private citizens and companies that support arts education in our schools. MAAE provides professional development for teachers, sponsors and commissions research into the effectiveness of arts education, and promotes public awareness of the importance of the arts in every school for every child. The highlight of MAAE’s calendar is Fine Arts Education Day at the State Capitol each spring during which MAAE partners with the Missouri School Boards’ Association and member organizations to recognize outstanding teachers, schools, and school districts with a va of Arts Education Awards. |

Missouri Citizens for the Arts

Missouri Citizens for the Arts (MCA) is the statewide grassroots advocacy organization that promotes the arts to elected officials and public agencies whose actions affect the arts. MCA sponsors the annual Citizens’ Day at the Legislature in Jefferson City, where Missourians meet with legislators to discuss the importance of the arts in the state. |

Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education

A state agency, the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) strives to assure that all citizens have access to high-quality public education, ranging from early childhood to adult education services. |

National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts–both new and established–bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, NEA is the nation’s largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. |