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Take an Arts Integrated Curriculum Design Approach

Professional development opportunities for teachers and educators.

  • Differentiated for content area and student needs
  • Design to deliver this approach throughout the curriculum calendar
  • Individual, Team, and Department mentorship and support


  • Imagine a creative showcase that synthesized complex content in meaningful and personal ways for all learners.
  • Imagine a classroom where multiple perspectives are represented and considered, including those typically dismissed or silenced.
  • Imagine an efficient exploration process that allowed risk-taking, deeper challenge, and validating feedback beyond the right-wrong memorization task.
Heather Dean teaching a group of students while holding papers

“This arts integration process showed me the importance of ongoing performance-based assessment. So many quick opportunities to correct misconceptions, request for deeper analysis, and reteach in real time. It propelled learning!”

I didn’t realize how this process would foster equitable experiences using creative thinking. Each student increased their participation, and I would add feelings of self-worth and value, within the class.”

AICD establishes a learning environment with open lines of communication that bridges the gap when language barriers occur. Bilingual students can demonstrate high levels of content understanding through their artwork which is quite powerful. We have to do this again next year!”

What is arts integration?

The Kennedy Center defines arts integration as an approach where students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form. They engage in a creative process which connects an art form and another subject and meets evolving objectives in both.

Energize your professional spirit by enhancing the experience for your students:

  • Support the creative spark from student ideas.
  • Deepen understanding on complex topics.
  • Expand analysis in content area standards.
  • Explore intricacies and barriers of student understanding.
  • Engage with different perspectives through the creative process.

Photograph of a human shadow

Student designing image on laptop.

Photograph of the sun shining through a picnic table.

Collaged paper portrait of an abolitionist.

Students discussing the meaning in the large rainforest mural.

Watercolor and crayon character portrait.

Students working together to create a 3D form with cardboard and tape.

Character portrait in watercolor and crayon.

Revitalize a classroom project or lesson plan with these offerings

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Introduction to Arts Integrated Curriculum Design Workshop

  • 90 minute mini-inservice session (large group).


  • Half-day PD (10 participants, curriculum mentorship included).
    • Foundational understanding on the arts integrated curriculum design approach and why it works.
    • Analysis of current curriculum and teaching practices to identify areas for improvement.
    • Curriculum Mentorship (half-day only): Modify existing classroom unit or project to enhance the experience for teachers and students.
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Arts Integrated Curriculum Design Service

Ideal for formal classroom educators, PreK-12 teachers, higher-ed professors, trainers, or program directors.

  • Design specific unit for content area classroom using an arts integrated approach.
  • Collaborate with content area teacher(s) to align content objectives with art skills that mutually enhance each other.
  • 1:1 curriculum mentorship from start to showcase: create scope and sequence for integration, develop teaching and student materials, assessment tools, accommodation and modification needs, with classroom implementation support.
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Arts Integrated Curriculum Design Workshop Series

Ideal for a group of 10 educators from one content area or department to form a cohort to progress through the series together.

  • 5-Part Professional Development Workshop Series
    • Introduction to Arts Integrated Curriculum Design
    • Art Skill Selection
    • Material Design
    • Assessment
    • Showcase Implementation
  • Intensive curriculum mentorship, including model teaching.
  • Each workshop is a half-day experience.

“Working with Heather for our Arts Integration was the most engaging and meaningful project of our school year! Our project tied our narrative writing unit to learning about watercolor art. All of the students were challenged in new ways with their writing and artwork. They were all so proud to share their work with family, friends, and peers during our showcase event. The most rewarding part of the project was seeing students, who don’t always show their strengths in the typical ways we measure achievement, thrive with this project. Students who were emergent readers and writers and students with limited English proficiency were able to show their creativity and intelligence through their story and watercolor art. Although Arts Integration projects take planning and implementation time, Heather is flexible and supportive to make sure it works with what is happening in your classroom. Now that I’ve done this with Heather, I feel confident that I could integrate an Arts Integration project on my own or even lead my grade level team in the project.”

“Heather showed me how to infuse arts integration into content curriculum I was already planning. Her flexibility, partnership, passion, and enthusiasm is contagious! Before I met Heather, I was highly critical of my own art skills and was very unsure how it would work to have me teach my students concepts I thought were only for licensed art teachers. Heather showed me that I could teach these concepts to my students, even when my own worries were getting in the way. She helped me believe in myself and in turn, I transformed my self-criticism into self-reflection and betterment. Just like my students, I learned so much from taking the arts-integration approach.”

“As a teacher I have learned so much from working with Heather and integrating the arts with our curriculum. I have noticed I often come in with a vision of what a ‘final product’ should look like. While working with Heather I have rediscovered the importance of the learning process. The students are constantly working and applying what they have learned through conversation and exploration. I was so excited to hear them use the vocabulary and concepts while we were writing and taking photographs. I noticed how natural this process was – children are meant to learn through exploratory time and trial and error.

I have loved integrating our writing objectives with art objectives because I see the students thinking more critically about the writing skills. Arts Integration has given all students access to the material as it can be differentiated effectively and gives the students space to start creating. It allowed for and welcomed mistakes. They acknowledged when the art and writing were not quite how they wanted it to be and tried again.

Using this curriculum approach increased my students’ confidence, excitement, and pride for engaging in rigorous academic work.”