Fine Arts Education

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Fine Arts Icons for Media Arts, Visual Arts, Dance, Theatre, and Music

Welcome to Nebraska’s Fine Arts Education!

The current Nebraska Fine Arts Education Standards were adopted by the Nebraska State Board of Education in 2014. The standards challenge students to develop the essential fine arts skills needed to succeed in college, career, and life.  They cover a broad array of core knowledge and proficiencies in the areas of media arts, visual arts, dance, music, and theatre.

The Nebraska Department of Education developed content area standards for Fine Arts Education to provide schools a framework for ensuring quality teaching and learning offered in Nebraska schools.  The standards clearly describe what students need to know and be able to do, placing student learning at the center of schooling.  By setting clear expectations for learning, content standards offer a framework for teachers when designing teaching and learning experiences and provide a means for student to set personal learning goals associated with academic success (Down, 2055).

The Nebraska Department of Education uses a collaborative writing process that utilizes the expertise of Nebraska educators and includes representation from all stages of Nebraska’s education system (i.e., early childhood education, K-12 education, and postsecondary education).  The department ensures that that the educators reflect all sizes of schools and parts of the state.  In addition, representatives from the regional Education Service Units (ESUs) are included as part of the writing teams.  The development process includes opportunities for feedback from business and industry representatives as well as local community members, parents, school administrators, and educators not part of the writing process.

Fine Arts Standards

Nebraska’s College and Career Ready Standards for Fine Arts were adopted by the Nebraska State Board of Education on March 4, 2014, and include the areas of media arts, visual arts, dance, music, and theatre.

To ensure that the standards for each content area are well-organized and internally coherent, NDE articulates a common format for all content area standards across subjects.

Standards: At the highest level of generality, Nebraska’s content area standards include a set of broad, overarching content-based statements that describe the basic cognitive, affective, or psychomotor expectations of the students.  They reflect long-term goals for learning.  There is one comprehensive K-12 Fine Arts standards for each area of media arts, visual arts, dance, music, and theatre.

Indicators: Under each standard are indicators which further describe what a student must know and be able to do to meet the standard.  Indicators are performance-based statements that provide educators with a clear understanding of the expected level of student learning and guidance.  Indicators provide guidance for assessment of student learning.

Nebraska’s Fine Arts Standards are organized in grade bands of K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. These statements are organized into categories and are not course specific.  To assist in your understanding of the standards documents, a glossary for each content area is included in the next tab under “Standards Glossaries”

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Standards Glossaries

To assist in reading the standards, the glossaries contain definitions, explanations, and additional resources you may find helpful.

Content Area Standards vs. Curriculum

The Nebraska content area standards describe the knowledge and skills that students should learn, but they do not prescribe particular curriculum, lessons, teaching techniques, or activities.  Standards describe what student are expected to know and be able to do, while the local curriculum describes how teachers will help students master the standards.  Decisions about curriculum and instructional are made locally by individual school districts and classroom teachers.  The Nebraska Department of Education does not mandate the curriculum used within a local school.

Fine Arts Education Events and Newsletters

See what’s happening and stay up to date on the latest fine arts education news.

Fine Arts Exchange

Held in Fall 2022, the “Fine Arts Exchange” was an event to connect arts educators with arts organizations, both state agencies and non-profits, with programs and opportunities to extend, enhance, and enrich arts learning. Visit the “Fine Arts Exchange” for a list of organizations that participated.

The Fine Arts Exchange is designed to be a resource for arts educators. New organizations will be added as they become available. If you know an organization who’d like to participate, have them contact Cody.

Fine Arts Rap Logo

Join the conversation at the “Fine Arts Rap.” The Fine Arts Rap came from discussion at the NDE Teacher Educator Forum in August 2022 where faculty from Nebraska colleges/universities were gathered. Through those conversations there was a desire for college/university faculty to connect with  music, theatre, and visual arts teachers to hear about the current successes, trends, and challenges in the field.

The Fine Arts Rap is a time for open dialog, making connections and generating ideas. This event is held virtually via zoom.

The first Fine Arts Rap was held in October 2022. The next session will be held in January or February. Contact Cody for more information.

Fine Arts Education Professional Learning Events

More Ways Art Museums Can Help Me Teach – Part Two in a Series

photo of patrons looking at a work of art

Building on February’s “Art Museums Can Me Teach?” Peg will share a wide variety of Smithsonian American Art Museum’s (SAAM’s) resources demonstrating  More Ways Art Museums Can Help Me Teach. Learn how interacting with artworks can sharpen your kids’ critical thinking skills and help them learn key concepts in STEM, ELA, History, Social Sciences, Visual Arts, and more. You’ll get a chance to select topics you want to explore and walk away with lessons you can use with your students the very next day.

Plus learn how to find primary resources to start digital collections using the Smithsonian’s Learning Lab. Best of all? These resources are free! Register today!

More Ways Museums Can Help Me Teach will be offered via zoom on Monday evening, March 27, 2023.  Registration is required! 

You can view the first part of the series, “Art Museums Can Help Me Teach?” which was held in February 2023. The presentation is also available. Be sure toggle on the presenter’s notes.


Cody Talarico, Fine Arts Education Specialist
Phone – 402.314.7822
Email –

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Updated March 9, 2023 10:06am