What’s the first step in bringing professional arts organizations to your campus? It’s speaking the same language.


One of the big challenges of an arts initiative is getting everyone to agree on terminology. We suggest the definitions below for terms frequently used on this site and in the Creative School planning process. Even though you have probably encountered other definitions, we hope this will help you and your arts organization partners resolve questions that arise in creating partnerships.  



For the Arts Access Initiative, focusing on music, visual art, dance/movement, theatre/drama, literary arts, and media arts—the disciplines commonly referred to as the fine arts. Here are some examples from each discipline:


  • Music Examples: choir, drumming, individual instrument lessons, piano, orchestra, mariachi, band, music as part of a school musical, music ensemble or opera performances, etc.

  • Dance/Movement Examples: ballet, hip-hop, tap, modern, dance team, Ballet Folklorico, dance as part of a school musical, dance performances, etc.

  • Visual Arts Examples: painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, graphic design, graphic novels, art museum or gallery visit, etc.

  • Theatre/Drama Examples: theatre or opera performances, student-written plays, school musical, drama club, UIL one-acts, etc.

  • Literary Arts Examples: slam poetry, storytelling, creative writing, etc.

  • Media Arts Examples: filmmaking, video production, photography, etc.



Partnerships in the initiative can take many forms. For our purposes, a partnership involves an arts organization and a school working together and results in students or teachers having access to live arts experiences, learning/participating in the arts, or arts integration. Here are some examples of partnerships:


  • Field Trip: Your students visit an arts organization to see a performance or visit an art exhibit. Field trips can support learning objectives outside of the arts disciplines.

  • Performance Tour on Your Campus (or Touring Performance): Professional musicians, dancers, singers, and/or actors perform on your campus for students. Performances can support learning objectives outside of the arts disciplines. (This is different from a guided tour you might take on a field trip to a museum or arts venue.)

  • Workshop: Professional teaching artists work with your students, usually in one session, to teach learning objectives. This can be in any arts discipline, and may involve arts integration.

  • Residency: Professional teaching artists visit your school multiple times to work with the same group of students over several days or weeks. This could be in any arts discipline, and may involve arts integration. Residencies require the most collaboration between schools and organizations, but and result in the most in-depth experiences. Some other terms you may see are:

    • Customized Residency for Your Campus: A residency designed from the ground up between a school and an arts organization, responding to the goals you want to achieve with the class in question.

    • Ready-to-Go Residency: A residency that requires less pre-planning, but which also provides students with a multi-visit experience.   



Arts integration is an approach to teaching. Typically, the term “arts integration strategies” refers to using techniques of the artsand practices among arts disciplines to make connections in to other content areas across the curriculum.  Some examples include:

  • Using theatre techniques to teach science concepts

  • Improving observation and critical thinking skills by interpreting analyzing and interpreting works of art

  • Bringing a historical period into focus through studying its music

  • Demonstrating understanding of a concept through creating a work of art around it



Teaching artists are artists who use their knowledge of and experience within an arts discipline to…

  • teach a range of techniques, topics, ideas, practices, strategies, and skills within their chosen arts discipline(s)

  • increase understanding of and learning in other content areas by making connections inspired by their arts discipline(s)

  • increase children’s and adults’ understanding, appreciation, and comfort with their chosen art form(s)

  • inspire curiosity, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, empathy, and imagination (not just in the arts)


Young Audiences, Inc. of Houston

4550 Post Oak Place Drive, Suite 230

Houston, TX 77027


Ph: (713) 520-9267