Arts Education


Nurturing an interest in the arts among young people brings many benefits to society, ranging from cognitive growth and social bonding for individuals, to cross-cultural understanding and economic activity for communities.

Effective arts education can nurture a lifelong interest in the arts, build audiences for the future, and—particularly through the public education system—reach a broad segment of students at a critical time in their development. The Hewlett Foundation seeks to provide equal access for California students to engage in the arts at every level, from introductory programs to professional training.


Program delivery

Increase the number of California students learning about the arts. We aim to fund the most effective arts education programs in school, after school, and out of school.

Policy and advocacy

Encourage public investment at the state and local levels to promote arts education. We make grants to organizations that raise awareness among parents and educators, develop research to inform policymakers, and help set priorities and standards for arts education in schools.

Pre-professional training

Provide exceptionally talented young people opportunities to receive world-class training and flourish. We support pre-professional training organizations that prepare future artists in a variety of disciplines and nurture the next generation to contribute to the Bay Area’s vibrant artistic community.

Our Grantmaking

Education Commission of the States
for the Arts Education partnership
Performing Arts Workshop
for general operating support
Youth in Arts
for general operating support
Americans for the Arts
for support of a national arts education initiative

Our Team

Jon McGuirk
John McGuirk 
Program Director
Alexa Hall 
Program Fellow
Emiko Ono
Emiko Ono 
Program Officer
Kerry O’Connor 
Program Associate
Reuben Roqueni
Reuben Roqueñi 
Program Officer

Learn More

Empirical research has shown that childhood exposure to arts education strengthens subsequent demand for arts experiences. It also creates experiences that can encourage careers in the arts or related fields, strengthening the creative spirit of people and elevate the culture of societies.

Although it may take many years for the effects of arts education to be observable in regional attendance levels, we are confident that these investments will eventually bear fruit. Indeed, current research also suggests a link between declining arts participation among adults today with reductions in public arts education participation during their school years in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Hewlett Foundation has provided significant support to arts education for many years, and increased our emphasis on this area in recent years. We aim to provide Californians of all races, ethnicities, incomes, and education levels with the benefits of the arts, and investing in arts education is one of the most effective ways to accomplish this goal.

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