Arts In Education

The Arts in Education program began in 1977 in Reno as a partnership with Sierra Arts Foundation and Washoe County School District to provide excellent arts instruction in local elementary schools. Art education is taught by professional teaching artists in the fields of visual arts, theater, drama, creative writing and poetry, dance and movement. These, year-long, teaching artists are placed in one school for the entire school year. They use an arts integration approach, pairing fine arts with other core curricular areas.

Our teaching artists are two-career professionals, working as an artist and arts educator. As a working artist, they are involved in an ongoing process of discovery, creation and exhibition, and refinement of skills in their discipline. As a working educator, they are a crucial resource for the lifelong learning in the arts. Teaching artists are selected based on following criteria: a MFA or BFA in an art discipline, expertise working as a professional artist, and three years of direct K-12 teaching experience. 2016-2017 teaching artists include: Peter Whittenberger, Erik Holland, Katie Jean Dahlaw and June Marie Ward.

unnamedTeaching artist Eve Allen


  • Nancy Gomes Elementary
  • Lena Juniper Elementary
  • Mount Rose Elementary
  • Alice Smith Elementary
  • Mamie Towles Elementary


Students at Smithridge practice digital animation with the software Processing


  • Libby Booth Elementary School
  • Rita Cannan Elementary School
  • Katherine Dunn Elementary School
  • Lincoln Park Elementary School
  • Bernice Mathews Elementary School
  • Smithridge STEM Academy
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Digital animation made by 4th grade student at Smithridge ES, 2015

Sierra Arts appoints teaching artists to serve at selected WCSD elementary school, one-two times a week, for one school year.  Sierra Arts Foundation provides all teaching materials, art supplies, and teaching-artist salaries. Teaching artists spend 6-weeks in each classroom until all grades have been served arts education.

Teaching artists are carefully selected based on their expertise working as a professional artist and arts educator. Preference may be given to applicants with a BFA or MFA and three years of direct k-12 teaching experience. Qualified applicants are reviewed and interviews are scheduled for the top candidates.

National Core Standards for ELA and Math

National Core Fine Arts Standards


Nevada Content Standards – With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards in October 2010, they became the Nevada Academic Content Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics. With this action, the Nevada State Board of Education committed to ensuring that all students are ready for college and careers.

NV ELA: English Language Art Standards and ELA by grade level. K-5, Pg. 9-33

NV Math: Mathematics Standards and Math by Grade Level. K-5, Pg. 9-33

NV Fine Art Standards: Music, Theater, and Visual Art Content Standards.

NV Fine Art Curriculum & Instruction – Based on Grade

Arts Edge – Arts Integration Lesson Planning.

Arts Integration Lesson Planning

P21 – Partnership for 21st Century Learning. Common Core Toolkit.

Thank you to our corporate sponsors and art patrons who make this program possible. Each year the funding structure changes slightly due to the capacity of the other non-profit foundations and donor needs. Donations have been received for this program from Washoe County School District, Arthur & Mae Orvis Foundation, Nell J. Redfield Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Nevada Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts and Sierra Arts Foundation.

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For more information about Arts in Education please call or email Tia Flores, Program Director at