Arts Education Census
Arts Education Census header image

About the 2015-16 Statewide Arts Education Census

The year-long collaboration between the Maine Arts Commission and the Maine Department of Education, revealed both a surprising amount of consistency in school offerings over the past seven years as well as large gaps in the equity of the resources available to students across the state. 

The census achieved a stunning 95% response rate, reporting on 97% of Maine’s students—making it the highest voluntary response rate on record nationally. 

A summary report of the survey can be found here.


Noel Paul Stookey
Photo: Sally Farr

Maine's Award winning singer-songwriter, Noel Paul Stookey, is serving as the Champion for the Statewide Arts Education census. Mr. Stookey of Peter, Paul, and Mary fame, is acting as honorary Chair, advocating for the census and arts education throughout the process. To view the video message created by Mr. Stookey click here. Mr. Stookey's message to principals:

The Principal Reason

My name is Noel Paul Stookey (yes, the one who used to sing with PETER, PAUL and MARY) and I’m hoping the purposeful misuse of the word in the title above has caught your eye long enough for me to bring attention to the importance of your completing the Maine Arts Education 2016 Census...Read more

During the 2015-16 school year the Maine Arts Commission is leading a statewide inventory of ALL arts education resources in the state’s 759 PK-12 schools currently recognized by the Maine Department of Education. The Maine Arts Commission is collaborating with the Maine Department of Education and a steering committee comprised of representation from the Maine Principals' Association, Maine Superintendents, Maine Alliance for Arts Education, Maine Art Education Association, the Maine Music Educators Association, the cultural and arts organizations, and PK-12 educators.  

This work will include identifying the changes in Maine’s visual and performing arts education since the last statewide arts education census in 2008. The universe of schools in 2008 was 779, twenty-eight more schools than on the Maine Department of Education’s roster today. Our goal is to collect information from 100% of the Maine schools. Through the very process of compiling this inventory, an increase of awareness, interest in, understanding of, and commitment to the role of quality arts education as an an essential element of student learning will be enhanced. A report will be created that will be valuable to the Maine education community, education advocates, and it will make a compelling case why an excellent arts education is essential for all students. 


  1. Determine Maine’s “State of Arts Education.” Identify where PK-12 students have access to quality arts education and where there are students going without quality arts education. 
  2. To the extent possible, identify changes in Maine Visual and Performing Arts Education from the first statewide data collection that was done in 2008. Comparing and evaluating the data collected then and now will provide valuable information.
  3. Develop and deliver a comprehensive report to inform stakeholders and those in policy-making positions at the local and state levels.
  4. Disseminate this information so it can be an “active” tool for establishing a starting point or an advanced conversation (local, regional, statewide) around why a quality arts education is essential for all students, PK-12.

The Survey

589 schools that completed the survey. 

2015-16 Statewide Arts Education Census Survey Questions.pdf  - This PDF is for viewing the survey questions IN PREPARATION TO COMPLETE the survey by the school's principal.

Below is the actual Census survey link TO BE COMPLETED BY THE PRINCIPAL of every school in Maine:

For questions about survey content, please contact Catherine Ring at moc.liamg@etutitsnidnalgnewen.

For technical issues while completing the online survey, please text/call Surale Phillips at 406/600-7537 or email at moc.spillihpelarus@elarus


  • December - Invite principals to complete the survey
  • December through April - Collect data from 100% of schools and have conversations with arts educators throughout the state
  • May/June - Analyze data and create preliminary recommendations
  • August - Complete report and share with leaders and stakeholders
  • School year, 2016-17 - Deliver report

Resources about the Arts Education Census

To view the 2015-16 Visual and Performing Arts Census Plan please click here.

To view the video created for principals about the survey please click here. The video was created by the members of the Student Leaders in the Arts Movement (SLAM) from MSAD 33 under the direction of Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader Theresa Cerceo.

2009 Statewide Arts Education Census Executive Summary

2009 Statewide Arts Education Census Full Report

2009 Statewide Arts Education Census Power Point 

Project Partners and Endorsements

The Maine Arts Commission is working on the census with the following organizations: Maine Department of Education, Maine Principals' Association, Maine Art Education Association, Maine Alliance for Arts Education, Maine Music Educators Association, and The New England Institute for Teacher Education.


Project Support

The census project is supported by funding from the following: Jane’s Trust, Maine Community Foundation, and the Maine Department of Education, and The New England Institute for Teacher Education.

Project Contact Information

For information about any of the Maine Arts Commission’s arts education funding opportunities, programs or projects, please contact Martha Piscuskas, Director of Arts Education at vog.eniam@saksucsip.ahtram or 207/287-2750.