Not Enough Art Time!

Food for thought.

I see my students 45 minutes/ week, which averages out to be about 30 hours of contact time for the WHOLE YEAR.

Classroom teachers see the students approximately 7 hrs/ week, which averages out to be about 30 hours of contact time for ONE WEEK.

Point here: I see my students in ONE YEAR in the same amount of time the classroom teachers see the students in ONE WEEK.

What is wrong with this picture?

Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • I usually relate it like this — if you child was to go to ART CAMP for a week in the Summer, that is how much ART they get ALL YEAR! That one usually really hits home!
    ~ Susan

  • wow-that is crazy when u think of it like that!! No wonder we are trying to cram so much into 45 minutes!

  • Kendra Danielson

    I feel your pain!
    For me… 35 minutes / week, but only for a semester! We have just past the quarter mark and I am already stressed about finishing the few things that we actually get to create.

    • Wow! That is not very much time! I guess we just make the best of whatever situation we are in, and give those kiddos all we’ve got! Thanks for sharing.

  • Maria Smith

    Our country continues to view a school day as we did 2oo years ago. We are art teachers need to help classroom teachers along with presenting the visual arts in the “classroom”–but do it the right way. Until we as an American culture value the arts far better than what we have been doing we will always take a back seat to the 4 core subjects. In my state we have a huge list of state and county objectives that all have to be taught in that limited amount of time AND make sure they know the material…..

  • I think this calls for both a creative and “subversive” plan of action. What could be done to turn 45 minutes into something more than 30 hours of classroom.

    Your post has my mind racing…looking for ways to make art more than an interlude in the school day.

    Thanks for stirring things up!

    Keep creating…recreating,

  • Rbdart

    This year we will see students for 30 minutes a class. Not looking forward to trying to tell students who are in the middle of their creative solution solving to stop and clean up.

  • Lian Brehm

    A few years ago I came to the same realization, and shared it with my colleagues and administrators. Then I started sharing it with my students. When I broke it into “focused” art making time, I figured 30 minutes, given 5 minutes for set up, instruction, or demos and presentations, and 5 minutes of clean up – for each 40 minute class. AHA! But SOME students have a hard time being focused, so I made a chart that shows how much focused time is equal to how may hours in the school year. So, 30 minutes = 18.5 hours, 15 minutes =9.25 hours, etc. all the way down to 5 minutes ( and yes, we all have students that only truly focus on their work for 5 minutes of each class!) =2.5 hrs. The students are amazed, that 5 minutes could relate to one epic good movie for the entire school year!
    I leave this chart on the wall so I can refer to it, and also have it as a laminated sheet so I can give it a student or to a table as a reminder. I title it ” How Great is YOUR art/ How much time are you putting into your art?” We discuss how much time artists put into their work, and tie this concept to craftsmanship, reflection, etc. I think it makes a huge difference in the quality of work and amount of focused effort my students spend on their work.
    Now if I could get suggestions on how to grade quarterly after just seven forty minute classes as we have moved from trimesters to quarters, I would be most grateful!