The arts stretch our thinking. They have the power to help us learn in new ways. Art brings people and communities together.

ArtsSmarts used the arts as a canvas for impacting student learning and building a more inclusive educational system. Learning became a creative process, nurturing students’ development as critical thinkers and agents of change.

ArtsSmarts demonstrated how together creativity and community engagement can paint a brighter future for our students and schools.

ArtsSmarts launched in 1998, at a time when support for arts in public education was in decline. The program went against that trend. Using art, it aspired to stoke a national movement for innovation in education. It brought artists, teachers and students together into the mix to create something powerful.

Imagine music being used to teach mathematics. Or mural-making applied to the study of history. 500,000 students took part in, and benefitted from, ArtsSmarts projects like these over a decade. The program’s positive impact on student engagement and teacher practice was demonstrable.

ArtsSmarts is now a network of arts, education and community organizations. They operate locally, regionally and provincially. Together they act as a forum for research and innovation, idea and mentoring exchange, as well as for securing private, public and academic participation.

ArtsSmarts tools and resources continue to be stewarded on ArtsSmarts Open, which is supported by the Arts Network for Children and Youth and a pan-Canadian 16-member coalition.