Arts Education

Creative Sonoma supports arts education through a variety of initiatives, grant programs, and research. Watch the above video to learn more about the impact of arts education in our local schools, and explore the many resources listed on this page to learn more, or to get involved in ensuring all local students have access to arts education. The following Sonoma County resources are listed on this page:


Sonoma County Arts Education Alliance

The Arts Education Alliance (AEA) is a collaborative venture with representatives from the Sonoma County Office of Education, Creative Sonoma, several school districts across the county, and arts teachers, administrators, organizations, and community advocates. For more information about the AEA or any of the Working Groups below, email

  • In July, the two-day virtual iAspire Summit brought together 70 participants from four Sonoma County school districts to deepen their knowledge of arts integration and pivot to distance learning this fall. Read more about it HERE.
  • Later this fall 2020, a day of professional development will focus on Social and Emotional Learning and the arts- offered through iAspire. Contact Robert Bullwinkel if interested in this training.
  • The work of the AEA was profiled in the most recent California County Superintendents Educational Services Association publication, Counties on the Move: Arts Education for All Students (the Sonoma County profile appears on pages 16-17). 
  • On October 21, 2020, the AEA presented a free workshop on “Sustaining Arts in Challenging Times” for 22 Sonoma County school & district administrators, curriculum & instruction personnel, and trustees. 
  • NEW: MEETUP- Sonoma County District and School Administrators, Curriculum and Instruction Directors, Trustees. Learn about “Funding the Arts in the New Reality, LCAP, Title I and Beyond,” see another example of a district’s “Promising Practices in the Arts,” and have time to network with other advocates. Guest Presenter – Tom DeCaigny, Executive Director- California Alliance for Arts Education. December 2, 2020 4:00-5:00 Register here



The current goal of the AEA is to develop and support arts education in four areas: 

Arts Education Leadership Development Cohort:  Join us to develop a cohort of rising arts education leaders! Develop your knowledge and understanding of arts education in five monthly FREE sessions and earn a certificate of completion when you attend the entire series. Topics in the series include arts education standards, integration, valuing, funding, access and equity. Encouraged to participate: Sonoma County classroom teachers, arts and culture organizations, teaching artists, Curriculum & Instruction personnel, or leaders of parent support groups. WHEN:  2nd Thursday of the each month, August 13 – December 10, 2020, 3:00-4:00pm PT, via Zoom. (Thank you for your interest – the cohort is now full!)

Arts Communication & Advocacy Working Group:  This group of arts education supporters (parents, teachers, students, community members) are organizing community resources and messaging to build public will for arts education. A letter was recently sent to Sonoma County school district governance teams offering partnership during the challenging times ahead, asking that the arts remain available for students. Read the September 9, 2020 letter  English or in Spanish

Arts Teaching & Learning Working Group:  Education Leaders including Arts Education Framework Planning Grantees have organized to develop a professional learning community around arts integration and develop professional development to support arts integration and social emotional learning.

Arts Funding:  Learn about creating sustainable funding for arts in the schools through the Local Control Funding Formula. Presenters include Peggy Burt from Mindful Strategies and consultant to California Alliance for Arts Education and Dr. Jennie Snyder, deputy superintendent for Sonoma County Office of Education. View June 9, 2020 webinar recording HERE


Arts Education Framework

Based on assessments of the state of arts education in Sonoma County schools, the Arts Education Alliance has created the Sonoma County Arts Education Framework, released in December 2019. The Framework is the result of research, analysis, discussion, and collaboration to provide increased and improved access and equity to arts education to better the lives of Sonoma County TK-12 students, and is now available to schools to utilize and customize. Click HERE to learn more and to download your copy of the Framework. 


Creative Sonoma, as part of the Arts Education Alliance, invites any Sonoma County public school or school district to apply for a planning grant to receive customized consultation in the development of a strategic plan to increase access and equity in arts education. Funds will be awarded for consultation, planning, implementation, and associated activities to take place during February 1 – June 30, 2020. Click HERE to learn more about the grant.


Arts Education Research Reports

Through grant funding from the William and Fora Hewlett Foundation, the Arts Education Alliance commissioned research on the state of arts education in Sonoma County during 2016-2018. The research from the following reports led to the development of the Sonoma County Arts Education Framework in 2019. 


Arts Now Communities

Arts Now communities are coming to life throughout Sonoma County! Launched by the California Alliance for Arts Education, this campaign shines a light on districts and counties that are working to improve the quality of students’ educations through investments in the arts. Arts Now provides advocacy tools, facilitation, and funding to improve arts education in your district or region. Sonoma County is organized as an Arts Now county, utilizing support and advocacy from the CAAE.

Sonoma County Arts Now communities include:


Grants to Support Arts Education

Creative Sonoma’s Youth Impact Grants program is a consolidation of the former Summer Arts Youth Program Grants (SAYPG) and the former Arts Education Innovation Grants (AEIG), and continues to be funded through a partnership between the County of Sonoma and the Community Foundation Sonoma County.


Teaching Artist Residencies for Schools

Creative Sonoma offered free teaching artist residencies to Sonoma County K-12 public schools through December 2019. The residencies were based on best practices of trauma-informed arts instruction to build resilience and encourage empathy. To read more about the program, click HERE