An Unfinished Canvas – Arts Education in the San Francisco Bay Area: A Supplementary Status Report


Woodworth, K.R., and Park, J. (2007). An unfinished canvas. Arts education in the San Francisco Bay Area: A supplementary status report. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.


This report complements An Unfinished Canvas. Arts education in California: Taking stock of policy and practices (Woodworth et al., 2007). The research supporting An Unfinished Canvas was undertaken to document the status of arts education in California schools and assess the extent to which schools were meeting state goals for arts education—namely a sequential, standards-based course of study in music, visual arts, theatre, and dance. As part of that research effort, we included a sufficient number of schools in the nine Bay Area counties to enable us to report comparable data for each of the Bay Area counties as well as to draw comparisons between the Bay Area and the rest of the state.

Many of the key findings in An Unfinished Canvas are echoed in Bay Area data. Like the state as a whole, the vast majority of Bay Area schools are failing to meet state goals for arts education. Similarly, the statewide data revealed important differences in access to arts education by school level and school poverty level, and those differences are also in evidence in the Bay Area. In light of these similarities, this report focuses on circumstances that are unique to the Bay Area.1 For example, Bay Area schools were more likely than schools in the rest of the state to report relying on community-based sources of funding, such as parcel taxes and parent group funds, for arts education. Perhaps as a result of this reliance on community-based sources of funds, our analyses of data from Bay Area schools revealed some disparities by school poverty level that did not exist for the state as a whole. Bay Area schools also appear to benefit more than schools in the rest of the state from partnerships with arts organizations and individual artists.

The first section of this report focuses on the extent to which Bay Area schools offer sequential, standards-based courses of study in the four arts disciplines. The next section describes the extent of student participation in standards-based arts instruction in the Bay Area. We then turn to a discussion of the different providers of arts instruction in the Bay Area. Next, we describe the resources—first funding,
then facilities—used to support arts education in the Bay Area. The next section turns to a discussion of the roles that districts, counties, and partner organizations play in support of arts education. We conclude with a description of the barriers to arts instruction that Bay Area schools face. Appendix A provides information on the survey methodology, including information on the Bay Area sample, while Appendix B includes supplemental statistical information (e.g., standard errors and test statistics) for all the survey data presented in this report. Appendix C presents all of the data included in the report at the county-level.

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