Arts for Impact


 The National Urban Arts for Impact Network
A Program of the
National Urban Alliance for Effective Education

Supporting Arts Learning in Urban Schools
Moving Adolescent Students from Potential to High Achievement
Learn. Teach. Reach. Share. Impact.

A network for educators, schools, and school districts embedding arts learning as a strategy for improving teaching, learning, and school culture in Urban Schools/School Districts


The Network creates opportunities for sharing powerful arts learning strategies for addressing the gaps in equity and access for high achievement within urban schools.


The Vision of The National Urban Arts for Impact Network is Engaging the Artist in Every Child, based on the expectation that every student is a talented learner who brings their individual gifts to the artistic and academic process.

  • The Network’s direct approach applied to its work with schools reflects the connection of two urban education approaches: Arts for Impact and The Pedagogy of Confidence. Core beliefs that drive the Network’s arts and pedagogy approach are:
    • All students have the capacity to create, and are capable of further developing their creative intelligence through engagement in the arts. Through high quality arts learning students become more adaptive and flexible, intellectually, socially, physically, emotionally, and creatively.
    • Intensive arts learning serves as a strategy for mediating underdeveloped skills by affirming cultural frames of reference, which accelerates learning.
    • Effective outcomes in the arts are predicated on excellent teaching.
    • Based on research in cognitive development and neuroscience, The Pedagogy of Confidence changes belief systems about the achievement capacity of urban adolescent students and provides educators with proven hands-on strategies for reaching the highest levels of performance.
    • Connecting the Arts for Impact and The Pedagogy of Confidence approaches creates a positive culture for educational change and enhances learning outcomes in the arts classroom and throughout the school.
  • We believe in the value of building a National Network of individuals who support this vision in order to create a critical mass of leaders who can support and implement arts learning strategies and move to close the gaps in equity, opportunity and achievement in urban schools. The purpose of this national Network is:
    • To create a network of individuals and organizations who support in-depth arts education as a powerful pathway for moving urban adolescents from potential to high intellectual and creative performances.
    • To serve as a clearinghouse for arts learning strategies that enhance high levels of artistry and intellectual mastery.
    • To provide classroom teachers, arts educators, administrators and teaching artists with professional development that results in building their understanding and capacity for using both the Arts for Impact and Pedagogy of Confidence as approaches for ensuring that students are engaged in learning and reach high level performance standards and learning outcomes.
    • To share Network core strategies and gather effective arts learning practices nationwide and communicate them on-line and on-site to Network participants.

Contact Us:

Sandra Bowie, Executive Director for Arts Education, National Urban Alliance
Kathi R. Levin, Executive Director, National Arts for Impact Network

 We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own. (President Barack Obama, 2013 Inaugural Address, Washington, DC, January 21, 2013)

High-quality arts education is absolutely critical to providing all students with a world-class education. The study of the arts can significantly boost student achievement, reduce discipline problems, and increase the odds that students will go on to graduate from college. Arts education is also essential to stimulating the creativity and innovation that will prove critical to young Americans competing in a knowledge-based, global economy.

And the arts are valuable for their own sake. They empower students to create and appreciate aesthetic works. Creating by doing is a powerful way to learn. Our nation’s students need a well-rounded education to succeed in the 21st century–and that should include engagement with (the)… arts. It is deeply disturbing that all students do not have access to arts education today.

A considerable body of research suggests that disadvantaged students especially benefit from high-quality arts education. The arts opportunity gap is widest for children in high-poverty schools. This is absolutely an equity issue and a civil rights issue. (Excerpts from prepared remarks by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the release of “Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools: 2009-10” (FRSS Report), Washington, DC, April 2, 2012)

Sign up for the NUA National Urban Arts for Impact email list 

Download the National_Urban_Arts for Impact flyer here