Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Melody K. Milbrandt, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jennifer Esposito, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Richard Lakes, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Carole Henry, Ed.D.


Art education has faced cutbacks in school funding because of the mandates and current trends in our nation’s educational policies. The United States Department of Education states that its federal involvement in education is limited. In fact, federal legislation, regulations, and other policies dictate the structure of education in every state particularly with the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and now the Race to the Top (RTTT) initiative. The arts have been unfavorably impacted under the nation’s most predominant policy, NCLB, and run the risk of further adverse impacts with RTTT, regardless of the public’s support of the arts and its educational benefits. By linking federal funding to the school's yearly progress in reading and mathematics, NCLB created an environment in which art is viewed as nonessential and secondary to the academic mission of the school.

Policymakers have underestimated the critical role the non-profit cultural sector can offer to arts learning for academic support. Collaboration of the arts community with local schools expands access to the arts for America’s schools. Some schools have already adopted this strategy to tap the expertise of local community arts organizations to address the issues surrounding arts education, like the lack of funding and resources. The future of our educational system must create innovative ways for students, teachers, parents, and the community to work together in partnerships to ensure all American children is provided a high-quality education. An example of this promising practice would be to connect schools with the arts community, particularly schools and museum partnerships. School and museum partnerships have a long-standing history of collaborating with one another and therefore share a commitment to some of the same educational goals (Osterman & Sheppard, 2010).

The purpose of this study investigated features and operational logistics of successful partnerships between museums and schools. The study explored an existing partnership with an art museum and an urban public school district. To understand the elements of these partnerships, the study investigated art education and cultural governing policies, program goals and long-term goals, operation and funding. It is my hope that through this study a discourse about policy recommendations or policy-making eventually develops that could aid in the creation of successful partnering relationships to sustain art education in the state of Georgia.

In this qualitative case study, the research design utilized several methods of data collection, including semi-structured interviews, documents, and visual methods, specifically image elicited exercises as positioned by Harper (2002). Participants in the study included school administrators, principals, art teachers, and museum educators.


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