ARTS FIRST is a network of organizations whose mission is to work collaboratively to create the conditions and culture that promise a comprehensive high-quality arts education – learning in, about, and through the arts – for every student in Hawaiʻi.


The Hawaiʻi State Legislature enacted ACT 80 in 1999 which called for Hawaiʻi’s major stakeholders in arts education to revise the State’s Fine Arts standards and develop a statewide Strategic Plan for Arts Education. In 2001, ACT 306/01 passed into law (SFCA’s HRS Chapter 9), formally naming the ARTS FIRST Partners and mandating the implementation of the Strategic Plan (HRS Chapter 9 Section 3).

ARTS FIRST Affiliate Partners

Representatives from ARTS FIRST institutions meet to discuss and plan activities in alignment with the strategic plan.

ARTS FIRST Partners invites entities interested in participating as affiliate partners to contact the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. We seek partners who will contribute resources and expertise toward reaching the AFP strategic plan goals.

ARTS FIRST Mission and Vision

2021-2025 Strategic Plan Mission and Vision


To collectively advance diverse, equitable and quality arts education in Hawaiʻi through advocacy and access.


A Vibrant, arts-enriched learning culture in which   

  • Arts are diverse, equitable and inclusive.
  • The Arts are subjects in schools as well as integrated throughout subjects in schools.
  • Arts support community, community supports arts 

We aspire to do this by:

  • Advocating for and Supporting arts in all schools
  • Professional Development for teaching artists, classroom teachers, and artists
  • Each partner’s Involvement in collectively working together towards a stronger arts education future
  • Continuous, rigorous Research around Arts Education in Hawaii
  • Expanding the arts education network and community
Advocacy and Support

Objective: All public and public charter schools in Hawaii adopt the National Core Art Standards by the year 2025, and we encourage independent schools to adopt as well.

Professional Development

Professional development that is accessible to arts educators, teaching artists, classroom teachers and community arts teachers around cultural responsiveness, arts integration, and working with various populations:  

Objective: Between 2022-2025, professional development workshops on adopting the National Core Arts Standards are available to Teaching Artists and Classroom Teachers. These workshops will interweave the NCAS with a culturally responsive approach and differentiation. 


Research arts education in Hawaiʻi.

Objective: Support and collaborate on research projects in Hawaiʻi on Arts Education, develop collaborations and search for funding.


Expanding the Arts Education inter-communications and Network to reflect the diversity of Hawaiʻi.  

Objective: Construct a bridge between “arts” and “culture” by inviting Cultural Practitioners into decision making and action development.    

Role of the SFCA

The SFCA is responsible for facilitation, coordination and reporting on behalf of the AFP.

ARTS FIRST Partners Annual Report

Following the end of each fiscal year, each of the partners provides summarized narratives and financial information of their respective arts education activities in support of the AFP Strategic Plan.