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Arts Education Programming in Urban vs. Rural Public Schools

Annette M Vargas, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


“Although most secondary administrators perceived the role of arts as positive and effective to the total education experience, financial constraints and limitations make it difficult to support and maintain art programs as desired” (Sahr, 2000, pg. 70). Arts education can play a positive role in the total educational experience. Due to the financial instability of public school funding, school administrators are focusing on preparing students for jobs and not a well-rounded education. Funding and facilities for arts programming can be very expensive. Therefore, it is not a surprise that the support of the school community can be a vital to the success of the arts culture and programming in that community. In addition, we should take into account the artistic desire of the community, as that can help influence arts programming and student/community involvement in those programs. Research on arts programming has doubled in the past ten years, especially in the urban east/west coast areas. There is limited research available on Midwestern public-schools in general and in the area of arts programming. More research about arts programming in the Midwest needs to be completed. In this qualitative study the difference in arts education programming, the resources allotted to arts education, and community perceptions of the arts in urban vs. rural public-schools in the Midwest were explored. The focus of the study was on arts educators’ comments about arts education resources, programming, and community perceptions of arts education. The responses to the issues are presented from the perspectives of urban vs. rural arts educators. The findings of the study are important for higher education arts educators. Professors strive to align the training that is necessary for graduates of their programs to be competitive in the industry upon graduation. The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) published an article on the top ten Higher Education policy issues facing Higher Education administrators. In the article, the fifth issue was Aligning Secondary-Postsecondary Educational Standards. Understanding the arts programming and resources available to urban and rural schools can assist educators in meeting students’ needs. The findings of the study contribute to the discussion of public K-12 arts education funding and programming, arts education opportunities in urban and rural areas, and the discussion of arts education in Aligning Secondary-Postsecondary Educational Standards.

Subject Area

Art education|Education finance|Educational leadership

Recommended Citation

Vargas, Annette M, "Arts Education Programming in Urban vs. Rural Public Schools" (2018). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI13418869.