The Arts|Learning’s Champions of Arts Education Awards honor individuals and organizations that have made exceptional contributions to arts education advocacy and continue to make strides toward the goal of high quality arts education for every student in Massachusetts.

From 1984 through to the present, the Champion of Arts Education Awards have recognized over 300 teachers and arts advocates in our schools and communities for their accomplishments educating students and for supporting arts education.  Arts|Learning continues this tradition of recognizing excellence in arts education programs and advocacy. Nominations may be submitted by any Massachusetts resident and current A|L members.  Self-nominations are encouraged.

NOMINATION DEADLINE is June 1st of each year.

Nominations are now open for our annual awards cycle.  Please note most awards have a deadline of June 1st.  All nominations must be submitted digitally according to the directions in the Arts Education Nominations Packet.

Download our Awards Nomination Packets here!

Publicly-nominated awards include the following. Self-nominations are also encouraged.

  • Distinguished Arts Educator Advocate
    (One award may be made annually in each of the disciplines: Dance, Media, Music, Theater, and Visual Arts.)
    To honor arts educators for: (1) demonstrated leadership in advocating for the nominee’s discipline and arts education (2) superior teaching in the nominee’s discipline; and (3) creation of model arts programs and partnerships.
  • Kathy Tosolini Excellence in School Administration Arts Education Advocate
    To honor a school administrator for: (1) exemplary support for, and commitment to high-quality arts education programs; and (2) exemplary leadership in promoting arts education and building community support. The recipient will be an active advocate for the arts and show outstanding leadership and rapport with students, teachers, parents, and the community.
  • Outstanding Parent Arts Education Advocate
    To honor a parent or parent organization for demonstrating (1) outstanding support for the arts; and (2) exemplary leadership in promoting arts education in schools and building community support.
  • Outstanding Community Arts Education Collaborative
    (Multiple Disciplines, or Dance, Media, Music, Theater, Visual Arts)
    For arts educators who have developed a model arts education collaborative between school and community cultural resources. Recipients demonstrate excellence in: (1) leadership in promoting arts education and building community support beyond the classroom; (2) collaborative programming between cultural institutions and schools; (3) exemplary teaching and programming in the arts; and (4) addressing the cultural and arts education needs of the community.
  • Corporate/Business Support of Arts Education
    To honor a business or corporation in Massachusetts that has demonstrated: (1) extensive financial, technical, and promotional support of the arts; and, (2) exemplary support for the presentation of cultural and artistic events and initiatives in the schools and the community.
  • Outstanding Student Advocate
    Awarded to a student who has demonstrated exceptional leadership in making the case that the arts are important for Massachusetts youth. The recipient should be seen as a model within the school/organization and exemplify its mission. Requires nomination by a teacher or school official.
  • Good Neighbor Award
    Awarded to organizations or individuals who have gone out of their way to offer logistical, technical, moral, or financial support for arts education to thrive in their community.
  • Schools of Distinction in Arts EducationApplication not available via Arts|Learning
    (Please note that due to budgetary restraints, the Kennedy Center’s “National Schools of Distinction Award” has been suspended, but Arts|Learning still gives the state award)
    To recognize individual schools that have done an outstanding job of making the arts an essential part of education by including two or more of the following components: (1) teaching all the arts (dance, music theatre, visual arts) as specific disciplines; (2) providing imaginative learning environments; (3) including parental involvement; (4) promoting learning about other cultures; and (5) encouraging community connections.
  • Massachusetts School Committee Arts in Education
    For a school committee that: (1) demonstrates long-term support for, and commitment to high quality arts education in its school district, community, state, or special jurisdiction; (2) shows evidence of incorporation of all arts into its local educational reform efforts, including the National Arts Standards, the Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework, and the adoption of local arts standards; (3) demonstrates leadership in promoting arts education and building community support; and (4) creates opportunities for multicultural learning. This award recipient will become the state nominee for the Kennedy Center Alliance for the Arts Education Network and National School Boards Association Annual School Board Award. Nominations forms have already been sent to all Massachusetts School Committees.

Please note:  As a general rule, Arts|Learning does not award past award winners with the same award more than once.  This includes awardees who have received an award from our previous incarnations as the Massachusetts Alliance for Arts Education and the National Arts and Learning Collaborative.