BPS Arts Expansion

Boston Public Schools (BPS) Arts Expansion is a multi-year collaborative effort to expand quality arts education within Boston Public Schools by providing equitable access to arts learning experiences for all students. BPS Arts Expansion is focused on a coherent, sustainable approach to quality arts education for all Boston Public School students. This public-private partnership involves a large and coordinated network of partners, including schools, arts organizations, local and national foundations, colleges and universities, and the Mayor’s office, among others. This collaboration of local leaders along with students, families, and school staff, led by the BPS Visual and Performing Arts Department and EdVestors, believes in the power of art to develop creative, engaged learners.

Launched in 2009, BPS Arts Expansion is a multi-year effort focused on increasing access, equity, and quality of arts learning for all BPS students. The initiative’s three-part strategy is to:

  1. Expand direct arts instruction for students during the school day;
  2. Build the capacity of the District to strengthen school-based arts instruction across all schools; and
  3. Improve coordination of partnerships with arts and cultural groups and higher education institutions to support high quality arts programming in the schools.

In 2015, BPS Arts Expansion entered its third phase of implementation, focused on continued progress to expand equitable arts education while building systems to sustain a high level of arts education long into the future.

Dancing to the Top: How Collective Action Revitalized Arts Education in Boston

Released in May, 2016, this case study examines the multi-year, collaborative process that has made Boston a national leader in arts education. The complete report can be found here.

Additionally, Dancing to the Top includes a number of resources designed to help others undertake similar work. The key strategies and actions used to advance the collective effort around arts education in Boston and documented in this case study can be replicated and/or adapted to other contexts and issue areas in Boston, as well as in other cities across the country.

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Grant Seekers


The BPS Arts Expansion Fund was created as part of the larger BPS Arts Expansion effort with the goal of empowering BPS schools to embrace and expand quality arts instruction in schools. In Phase 3, the Fund continues to evolve to advance the goals of BPS Arts Expansion through the following focus areas:

  • Depth of high school arts experiences with emphasis on the Mass Core arts graduation requirement;
  • Creating pathways to sequential learning and mastery for students;
  • Projects that respond to art discipline and genre interests of students.

The BPS Arts Expansion Fund supports programs that expand or sustain and deepen arts learning opportunities for BPS students during the school day. The Fund prioritizes grants that contribute to increasing the number of students receiving arts instruction (once-weekly, year-long arts instruction at the preK-8 level, any arts increases at the high school level) in schools that are not yet at the goal.


Boston Public Schools and their community arts partners may apply to expand arts opportunities within a school or group of schools, in keeping with the goals of BPS Arts Expansion. Schools, nonprofits, and individual teaching artists are eligible to apply.



THE DEADLINE FOR BPS ARTS EXPANSION GRANTS FOR THE 2017-2018 SCHOOL YEAR HAS NOW PASSED. If you have any questions, please email artsfund@edvestors.org.


The following documents are available for reference only:

2017-2018 Application available here.

Pre-K-8 BPS Arts Inventory data available here.

High School BPS Arts Inventory data available here.

The presentation from the Information Session is available here.

The proposal category reference tool mentioned in the application is available here.