Artist in the Schools FAQs

What is the history of the Artists in the Schools Program?


The Artists in the Schools (AITS) Program was started by the Hawai‘i Department of Education (DOE) in SY 1969-1970. It, along with the Artmobile, was authorized after a recommendation by the 1969 Legislature that both new programs be implemented. AITS was allotted $33,700 of legislatively appropriated funds. The Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (HSFCA) provided an additional $20,000 and was able to arrange for a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The services consisted of performances and lecture-demonstrations by artists.


What is the AITS Program today?


In SY 2007-2008, the AITS Program moved from the DOE to the HSFCA. Arts education is one of the HSFCA’s Strategic Plan Priorities: “Strengthen arts education pre-K through 12 and plan for lifelong learning.”

All public schools, including charter schools, are eligible to apply for an AITS grant of up to $6,000 per school. In 2008-2009, the Hawaii Community Foundation began matching HSFCA AITS funds, doubling what was available to schools. The total AITS budget for SY13-14 was $385,292. Schools must contribute 10% of the grant amount received. They are required to use an artist from the Artistic Teaching Partners Roster to conduct a residency.


What is an AITS Residency?


A residency engages a core group of students for 8 or more sessions (elementary), or 5 or more sessions (secondary), in standards based lessons in fine arts—visual arts, dance, drama, music, and literary arts. The emphasis has evolved since 1969, and is now on classroom instruction rather than performances and lecture-demonstrations. The purpose is not only to spark students’ awareness of and interest in the arts, but also to develop students’ knowledge and skills in the arts. The emphasis is on students doing art. Many residencies integrate the arts with other core curriculum. Another purpose is to build, through workshops, mentoring, and/or observation, teachers’ capacity to teach the arts.


What is the grant selection process?


Application materials are available in March. This year, applications are due May 1, 2014. A panel of arts educators and administrators reads the applications, rates them based on agreed upon criteria, and meets to discuss and make recommendations. After HSFCA Board approval of the recommendations, schools and artists are notified. Residencies must be completed by the end of the school year.


How many schools and artists received grants in SY13-14?

  • 68 schools (out of 89 applying) received grants = 76%
  • 15 (out of 40) ATP Roster individuals worked with granted schools
  • 7 (out of 10) ATP Roster organizations worked with granted schools