Seattle Public Schools

The Creative Advantage

Arts Partnerships

School and Community Arts Partnerships in Seattle Public Schools

School and community arts partnerships are valued in Seattle for their power to engage students in a wide variety of arts learning with professional artists, inspiring teachers to integrate the arts into their classrooms and creating bridges between cultural communities and schools.  The Creative Advantage supports expanding arts partnerships in all Seattle schools so that every student and teacher has opportunities to make, experience, create, and learn with Seattle’s amazing and diverse arts community every year.

Teaching artist drumming with 3 elementary children

Planning an Arts Partnership

Collaborative work between community organizations and schools can take many forms. The Creative Advantage has prioritized multi-session teaching artist residencies that provide integrated and/or cultural arts learning, as well as professional development for school staff that supports integrated arts learning. Schools access the Community Arts Partner Roster for cultural institutions, community arts organizations, and individual teaching artists to provide programs aligned with their arts learning goals.

The following tools can guide teachers and arts partners to design work that improves student learning and contributes to a culture of collaboration in our schools and in our city. These tools were developed to support the phases of such a collaboration.  

These tools were developed by a team of SPS teachers, school leaders, teaching artists and arts organization administrators.  The team was facilitated by Seattle Art Museum and funded by The Wallace Foundation.

1. Partnership Project Design Tool (Fillable PDF Form)

Schools and partners can use this tool to create a high-level overview of the partnership.  Use it to generate ideas and plans for your project, create common goals, and build an understanding of roles and responsibilities of all involved. This form should be completed in collaboration with the partnering classroom teacher, arts partner, and other essentials, such as school arts team representatives. 

2. Arts Partnership Budget Tool (Fillable PDF Form)

3. Partnership Lesson Planning Tool (Fillable PDF Form)

Community Arts Partners complete a lesson plan for a school-based residency that includes a timeline of activities, learning objectives, and check-ins to assess student learning.

4. Partnership Reflection Tool (Fillable PDF Form)The classroom teacher and arts partner use this form to reflect on the work they have completed and draw out lessons that can inform their collective and individual work in the future.

Funding an Arts Partnership

To ensure that students at all schools have consistent access to engaging arts learning from Seattle’s teaching artists and community arts and culture organizations, The Creative Advantage has two ways for schools access funds for classroom arts residencies during the school day and professional development for school staff in arts integration.

  1. The Creative Advantage Funds : Each school receives $15,000 for arts partnerships over the first three years of Creative Advantage arts planning and implementation to help them realize their arts plan vision and goals.  In 2019-20, schools in cohorts 3, 4 and 5 are receiving Creative Advantage arts partnership funds.
  2. The Creative Advantage Arts Sustainability Funds : Once a Creative Advantage school has spent their initial funds, they are eligible for up to $5000 each year to support sustaining and growing the arts beyond the initial three years. These are non-competitive grants for planned partnerships between a school and a community arts partner from The Creative Advantage Roster .  In 2019-20, school in cohorts 1 and 2 are eligible for these funds.

Next Step: Once you know who your arts partner is and how you funding your partnership, create a Personal Services Contract .

Arts Sustainability Funds

What is it? The Creative Advantage Arts Sustainability Funds are a new non-competitive funding source to help schools to sustain the student benefits that come from long-lasting arts partnerships beyond their initial 3 years of the Creative Advantage arts planning.  

Who is eligible?  Schools with a Creative Advantage Arts Plan that have spent their initial arts partnership funds and current Creative Advantage Community Arts Partner Roster  members are eligible to apply for up to $5000 to fund a specific arts partnership (in-the-school day arts residency or school staff professional development) that a school and partner have already agreed upon.  Update: Schools that are in SPS Equity Tiers 1-3 are eligible to apply for up to $10,000 in the 2020-21 school year. Check this list of Creative Advantage schools to see which schools are eligible.

How do I apply? There is a brief application form.  Applications can be submitted at any time and will be considered at the end of each month. A school can apply for funds for multiple partnerships in one year, but the total cannot exceed $5000 or $10,000.  Once the application is approved, the school and partner will be notified at the email addresses provided in the application. If you have any questions at all, you may contact Audrey Querns and/or Tina LaPadula

Arts Sustainability Funds Application Form  (Microsoft From)

Past awards list

2019-20 Arts Sustainability Funded Partnerships

Dance • John Muir Elementary • Gary Reed, Randy Ford, Jeffie Lou Thorn 

Creative Audio Production • Lowell Elementary • Jack Straw Cultural Center

Creative Audio Production • Denny Middle School • Jack Straw Cultural Center

Creative Audio Production  • Concord International Elementary • Jack Straw Cultural Center

Digital Audio Production • Southwest Interagency High School – •  Michael Grant

Percussion • Meany Middle School • Big World Breaks

Percussion • Washington Middle School • Big World Breaks

Percussion • Thurgood Marshall Elementary • Big World Breaks

Percussion • Seattle World School • Big World Breaks

Percussion • Bailey Gatzert Elementary • Big World Breaks

Photography • Denny Middle School • Youth in Focus

Playwriting • Garfield High School • ACT Theatre

Public Speaking • West Seattle Elementary • WeAPP: Speak with Purpose

Songwriting •Leschi Elem • Bushwick Northwest STYLE

Songwriting  • Bailey Gatzert Elementary School • Bushwick Northwest STYLE

Songwriting • Louisa Boren STEM K-8 • Bushwick Northwest STYLE

Songwriting  • Montlake Elementary • Bushwick Northwest STYLE

Theatre • Chief Sealth International High School • BAYFEST Youth Theatre

Visual Arts and Spoken Word • Southwest Interagency • Arts Corps

Visual Art • Madrona Elementary • Greg Thornton

Writing • Chief Sealth International High School • Bureau of Fearless Ideas