All students deserve high quality arts education that develops important skills needed to succeed in today’s competitive workforce. Many of the skills developed through arts learning—collaboration and cooperation, problem identifying and problem solving, decision making, design thinking, articulation and critique, constructive communication—are considered key attributes by employers around the world in the 21st century. After all, they are the skills of leadership.

In Ohio, the arts are part of the state’s prescribed curriculum, and Ohio requires one arts credit (i.e., two semesters of eligible coursework between grades 7-12) for graduation. Since 1989 the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Department of Education have worked together to gather data and report on the status of arts education in Ohio’s schools. Today we can deliver this information in real time. These Ohio partner agencies have engaged New Jersey-based Quadrant Research to help put arts education information in the hands of those who care about it most, i.e., parents, local school boards, teachers, students, and other local stakeholders across the state.

The Ohio Arts Education Data Project launched in September 2018, and Ohio is proud to be among the first few states in the nation to provide online arts education data dashboards available to the public!

Source: Morrison, R., 2018. Arts Education Data Project Ohio Executive Summary Report (draft).

The online dashboards allow the user to review school-level, district, county, and statewide arts education data. Interactive, color-coded dashboard displays show arts access and enrollment data as reported annually via the state’s Education Management Information System (EMIS) by Ohio’s traditional public and community (charter) schools, grades K-12. The data does not include any representation of arts instruction provided by non-school entities. Data from ensuing school years will be added annually, allowing the project to show the status of arts education over time. Demographic data is from the National Center for Education Statistics.

The data for the 2016-17 school year shows:[i]

  • Most students (98.3%) have access to some form of arts instruction while 93% of students have access to both Music and Visual Art.
  • Eighty-four percent (84%) of all students participated in arts education courses. This represents more than 1,413,734 students.
  • Participation in Music (82%) and Visual Art (78%) were by far highest among the four artistic disciplines, which also include Theatre and Dance. Music and Visual Art are far more widely available in Ohio schools; out of the total student population, 1% participated in Theater, and less than 0.5% in Dance.
  • In 2017 there were 28,258 students, or 1.7%, who did not have access to any arts instruction. There were 117,750 students who did not have access to both Music and Art. However, between 2016 and 2017 there has been a 35% improvement (reduction) in the number of students without access to any arts instruction.
  • Student participation varies greatly between traditional public schools and community (charter) schools. In traditional public schools, 86% of students are enrolled in the arts as compared to 60% for community schools.
  • The overall student-to-arts-teacher ratio in Ohio schools is 217 to 1. For Visual Art the ratio is 412:1; for Dance it is 762:1; for Music it is 427:1; and for Theater it is 933:1.

We look forward to working with partners throughout the state over time, using Ohio’s arts education data to celebrate successes, identify areas of need, and facilitate sound research on the contributions of arts learning to overall student achievement and school success.

Visit the Ohio Arts Education Data Project.


[i] Summary data and graphics from: Morrison, R., 2018. Arts Education Data Project Ohio Executive Summary Report (draft at time of submission)