A Look at the 2018 State of Art Education

In January of 2018, The Art of Education conducted the world’s largest survey of active K-12 art teachers in the United States. We asked about everything, ranging from annual supply budgets and length of art classes to how comfortable teachers felt with different media and current educational initiatives.

A total of over 2,500 teachers from all 50 states completed the survey, providing an eye-opening look at the current state of teaching K-12 Art in the 21st Century.

We are excited to share the results with you, starting with the most intriguing insights below. To download the survey results in their entirety, please click here.complete survey

Download Full Report


10 Quick Takeaways from the Full Report

Image showing 47% of teachers are in suburban areas

1. Most art teachers work in the ‘burbs.

47% of art teachers work in a suburban setting; 31% are employed in rural schools and 22% in urban schools.


Image showing 46% of teachers struggle with behavior management and 43% with a lack of respect

2. The struggle is real.

Behavior management is one of our most common classroom issues with 46% of art teachers striving to improve in this area. 43% of art teachers report a lack of respect for the art program as another hurdle they face.


Image showing what percentage of teachers have class times of 40 or 50 minutes of class or less

3. Too much to do and too little time…

1 in 5 art teachers have class periods at or under 40 minutes in length. 3 in 5 have class periods at or under 50 minutes in length.


Image that says "Hello my name is...500 students."

4. Elementary art teachers instruct, on average, about 500 students per year.

Remembering all those names can be a real challenge!


Image showing just one art teacher

5. One is the loneliest number…

Two-thirds of art teachers are the only art teacher in their building. The average number of art teachers per district is 21.


Image of art room table that says "23 students or less"

6. 56% of elementary art teachers have average classes sizes of 23 students or less.

With the national trend continuing to slide toward larger class sizes, it’s refreshing to see some art teachers instructing smaller groups.


Image that shows 75% with stars

7. Art teachers set high standards.

75% of art teachers follow their state standards, while more than half follow the National Core Arts Standards.


Image that has iPad and says "28% Digital Art Confidence"

8. There’s comfort in the familiar.

Over 90% of high school art teachers are comfortable teaching traditional drawing and painting, while only 28% are confident in leading digital art lessons.


Image that says "45% with over 10 years experience"

9. Do what you love and love what you do!

45% of art teachers have over a decade of teaching experience.


Image with 1st, 2nd, 3rd podium

10. Teaching art really is the best job in the world.

To end the survey, we asked teachers to talk about the best part of teaching art. Check out some of our favorite answers!

I get the greatest pleasure when students overcome their fears of making mistakes and really dive into making their art. -Elementary/Middle School Art Teacher from Illinois

Witnessing the pleasure my students evoke when they are happy with their work or the work of others. -Elementary Art Teacher from South Carolina

I love seeing students feel proud of their artwork. Seeing them improve their skills and being able to express their own unique thoughts and ideas is the best. -High School Art Teacher from Nebraska

I love the “light bulb moments” when they experience success, take pride in their work, and understand that they are creative! -High School Art Teacher from California

Remember this is just a bit of the fascinating info we discovered. Don’t forget to download the full report to get the full picture of what it’s like to teach art in 2018!

Download Full Report

What survey result did you find the most surprising (or unsurprising)?

Do you share similar experiences in your day-to-day teaching experiences?

Tracy Hare

Tracy is a middle school art teacher from central MN who strives to create rich, meaningful content and resources through her Art Ed PRO Director role at AOE.

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  • Casey Sundahl

    Teacher from WV, and I would love to have the budget some of you guys have! I get $250.00 a year for supplies….to last ALL year for my high school Art classes (total, NOT per class). This barely gets me through October/ November, and then the rest of the year I have to purchase supplies with my own money. Please share your secret for funding!

    • Me too, just exactly. $250 for the year and I have to fundraise the rest or it comes out of my pocket.

    • Shelley Menhennet

      You can’t be serious! How are you supposed to run a HS program on that sort of budget? How dare they expect you to buy your own supplies!!!

  • Billy Claire

    It would be interesting to tailor a second survey for independent school art educators….