New tool shows how arts education boosts 21st century skills

“The examples in this map illustrate how the arts promote habits that cultivate curiosity, imagination, creativity, and evaluation skills, as well as all the essential skills that students need to be successful in today’s world,” said Blakeslee. “This document demonstrates that the arts are among today’s most compelling and effective paths for ensuring 21st-century readiness for every student.”

Blakeslee also said that map, though extensive, is really just the tip of the iceberg for what can be done with the arts in schools.

“We see this [map] as a guide for how teachers can truly change their their practice to include 21st century skills, and what will be interesting going forward is working with these ideas to impact overall teacher behavior and curriculum design, and turn these changes into best practices.”

According to the map, anyone who has ever seen a student become excited, energized, and confident through artistic exploration has seen first-hand how arts education engages children and contributes to their overall development.

“The arts … are recognized as ‘core academic subjects’ in federal law, as well as in state statutes and core educational documents (i.e., No Child Left Behind),” states the map. “While each of the arts disciplines has its own unique set of knowledge, skills, and processes, the arts share common characteristics that make arts education powerful preparation for college, career, and a fulfilling life.”

The map was formally released July 15 on Capitol Hill with representatives from P21, as well as various arts organizations and art students in attendance.


P21 Map for the Arts (PDF)


National Association for Music Education (MENC)

Note to readers:

Don’t forget to visit the Measuring 21st-century skills resource center. Graduates who enter the workplace with a solid grasp of 21st-century skills bring value to both the workplace and global marketplace. Go to:

Measuring 21st-century skills

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