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The arts are essential to a complete and competitive education for all Illinois students. Through the arts, students learn critical thinking, effective communication and collaboration, and creative problem solving.
Led by educators, the Illinois Arts Learning Standards Initiative developed recommendations for updated arts learning standards for Illinois, which were approved unanimously by the Illinois State Board of Education on June 16, 2016 and will go into effect starting with the 2018-19 school year. These standards reflect best practices and identify what is important for students to know and be able to do in dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts.

Report & Standards


The initiative’s report summarizes the comprehensive process of developing the updated Illinois standards. It also presents an overview of the standards and outlines practical strategies for implementing them.

ReportDownload | View


The updated standards cover the artistic disciplines of dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visuals arts. Glossaries are included for each. You can view and/or download the standards by discipline.

Visual ArtsStandards_Visual_Arts-1Download | View

DanceStandards_Dance-1Download | View

TheatreStandards_Theatre-1Download | View

MusicStandards_Music-1Download | View

Media ArtsStandards_Media_Arts-1Download | View

AllStandards_All-1Download | View


Thank you for supporting the standards!

During the 45-day public comment period, over 900 Illinoisans expressed support for the recommended standards – equivalent to one comment of support every hour.


In calling for approval of the recommendations, the State Superintendent noted that “commenters praised the broad-based process for developing the standards that involved Illinois educators.” The State Board unanimously approved the recommended standards on June 16, 2016.


The initiative’s partner organizations look forward to working with stakeholders across the state to implement these standards, which will go into effect starting with the 2018-19 school year.


Sign-up for Arts Alliance Illinois’ arts education listserv to stay up-to-date with implementation and other arts education activities.


Want to learn more about the updated Illinois arts learning standards?

You’ve come to the right place for the tools and resources you need.


Download | View

Thanks to the organizations that have endorsed the standards, including:


The Illinois Arts Learning Standards Initiative is proof itself that arts education fosters collaboration.

Through the initiative, a diverse range of stakeholders – teachers, administrators, teaching artists, arts organizations, government, private foundations, advocates, and others – collaborated over a 18-month-long process to produce updated arts learning standards that reflect best practices. Work group and committee members met 34 times and volunteered over 1,400 combined hours.

Steering Committee Members

  • Frank Baiocchi, Polk Bros. Foundation
  • Anne Becker, Illinois Art Education Association
  • Olivia Gude, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Jason Helfer, Illinois State Board of Education
  • Emily Hooper Lansana, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago
  • Shirley Madigan, Illinois Arts Council Agency
  • Aaron Mercier, Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools
  • Terry Mazany, Chicago Community Trust
  • Darcy Nendza, Illinois Music Education Association
  • Aimee-Lynn Newlan, Illinois Theatre Association
  • Evan Plummer, Department of Arts Education, Chicago Public Schools (CPS)
  • Betsy Quinn, Evanston-Skokie School District 65
  • Rekha Rajan, Concordia University Chicago
  • Kathy Shaevel, Illinois Federation of Teachers
  • Audrey Soglin, Illinois Education Association
  • Jonathan VanderBrug, Arts Alliance Illinois
  • Elisabeth Westphal, Nichols Middle School, Evanston

Advisory Committee Members

  • Tom Akers, Cambridge School District 227, Cambridge
  • Steve Ciampaglia, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb
  • Alyssa Cudney, Alton High School, Alton
  • Danielle DeCamp, East Prairie School District 73, Skokie
  • Rick Graham, J. Sterling Morton High School West, Berwyn
  • Jeremy Guidry, Ravenswood Elementary, Chicago/CPS
  • Joshua Hoering, Noble Street College Prep, Chicago
  • Jacqueline Kelly-McHale, DePaul University, Chicago
  • Steve Leaver, Imagination Theater, Chicago
  • Elisa Lieb, New Berlin High School, New Berlin
  • Diana Lynn Lee, Richard Edwards Elementary, Chicago/CPS
  • Marylynn Meredith, Prairieland Elementary, Normal
  • Todd Osborne, Kenwood Academy High School, Chicago/CPS
  • Jane Rottschalk-Cohlmeyer, Cahokia High School, Cahokia
  • Elena Ryan, Glenview School District 34, Glenview
  • Jason Ruyle, Normal Community High School, Normal
  • Josh Shearer, Anna CCSD 37, Anna
  • Ellen Skolar, Grant Community High School, Fox Lake
  • Gina Spears, Daniel Boone Elementary, Chicago/CPS
  • Donna Torkelson, Westfield School, Winthrop Harbor
  • Kristin Tyszkiewicz, Harold L. Richards High School, Oak Lawn
  • Kevin Yale Vernon, Normal Community High School, Normal
  • Anthony Walker, Woodstock High School, Woodstock
  • George Wilkerson, High Mount School, Swansea
  • Beth Wilson, Marion High School, Marion
  • Melinda Wilson, Curie Metropolitan High School for the Performing & Technical Arts, Chicago/CPS


The Illinois Arts Learning Standards Initiative is coordinated by Arts Alliance Illinois in partnership with the Illinois State Board of Education.

For more information, contact Jonathan VanderBrug, Policy & Research Director,
Arts Alliance Illinois.

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