Arts in Schools

Each school system in the Triangle offers programs that provide or supplement arts education to students by inviting artists into the schools to teach or perform. It can be confusing, however, for artists interested in participating in Artists in the Schools programs to figure out each program’s objectives, guidelines, and application procedures.

In this section, Triangle ArtWorks summarizes the Artists in the Schools programs in each school district as of October 2018.  We strive to keep this information up to date, but as changes can be swift or subtle, please check with each school district for current information.  The information provided below should only be used as a guide and reference.  As always, if you have any changes, additions, or corrections to this information, send us an email!


Chatham County Schools The Chatham County Artists in the Schools program is currently inactive.


Coordinating Organization:

Durham Arts Council
120 Morris Street, Durham, NC 27701

Contact Information:

Shana Adams: Manager, Creative Arts in the Schools (CAPS)
Phone,  (919) 560-2718

General Program Description

Creative Arts in the Public/Private Schools (CAPS) is a partnership between Durham Arts Council and Durham Public Schools that places professional artists in public and private classrooms throughout Durham, Orange, and Granville counties. The CAPS program consists of two tracks, the Education-Based Track and the Community-Based Track.

  • The Education-Based track is intended for arts programming in a K-12 learning environment. Artists on this track utilize North Carolina Curriculum Standards, assessment of student learning, and successful artist-teacher collaboration. Teaching artists in this track are expected to work with school teachers to integrate the arts program into the students’ educational plan.
  • The Community-Based track is intended for arts programming in community settings, such as after-school programs, workshops, festivals, corporate professional development or assemblies. Applicants to the Community-Based track are still required to submit a lesson/activity plan.

Application information

  • The application process for Durham Arts Council’s CAPS program takes places every two years. Practicing teaching artists, education staff members at local cultural organizations, as well as arts organizations are eligible to apply.
  • Applications are accepted in the following disciplines: Literary Arts, Dance, Folk Arts, Visual Arts, Multidisciplinary Arts, Film, Design, Animation, Music, Theatre, and Storytelling.
  • Applications are accepted for performances, residencies, and workshops.
  • Artists selected for the CAPS program are included in the CAPS Program Guidebook, which is published every two years and in an online directory.

Key Points about the application process:

  • The application will be available online beginning, usually around January.
  • Durham Arts Council offers workshops during the application period to assist artists in completing their applications.
  • Artists may submit multiple proposals for various disciplines, grade levels, and for both the Education and Community-Based tracks.
  • Applicants must submit a sample of both their artistic work, as well as one video that demonstrates their prior work with K-12 students.
  • Durham Arts Council provides lesson plan templates on its website to assist teaching artists in integrating their programs with the students’ educational curricula.


Coordinating Organization

Johnston County Arts Council

Physical Address:
1115 Outlet Center Drive
Smithfield, NC 27577

Mailing Address:
PO Box 2019
Smithfield, NC  27577

Contact person:
Darlene Williford, Executive Director
Email   (919) 938-0306

General Program Description

The Johnston County Artists in the Schools program is a partnership between the Johnston County Arts Council and the Johnston County Schools. The Johnston County Artists-in-the-Schools Program is modeled on the Artists in the Schools (AIS) program of the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County and is supported in part by services provided by United Arts. Artists are selected for the program from the Directory of Artists created by United Arts, so artists interested in participating in the Johnston County Artists in Schools program should submit applications to the United Arts Council AIS program (see Wake County entry below).



Coordinating Organization:

Chapel Hill Public and Cultural Arts Office
Parks and Recreation Building, 200 Plant Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Contact information:
Jeff York: Public and Cultural Arts Administrator
Jeff York, Email, (919) 968-2750

General Program Description

The Chapel Hill Public and Cultural Arts Office hosts an annual Public Artist in Residence program in collaboration with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro public schools. This program provides students with opportunities to work with professional artists, as well as create original works for their schools and community.  Eleven Artist-in-Residence programs have been held in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School District since 2002.  These residencies aim to enrich young people, their families, and the community through exposure to art and artists; enhance the awareness of the arts as a profession; and help young people’s team-building and problem-solving skills while giving them an outlet for creative expression.

Application information:

A specific class at a Chapel Hill-Carrboro school is selected to host the residency each year. An artist is then matched with the class through a competitive application process. The artist works with the students through a 10 session residency that integrates the art project with the students’ educational plan. The resulting work remains on display at the school and becomes part of the Town of Chapel Hill’s Public Art Collection.

Key points about the application process:

  • Residency applications for the upcoming school year become available in summer.
  • Only one artist is selected for the residency program each year. The selection process is a juried competition that includes artists who recently completed the residency program.
  • The program is best suited to experienced teaching artists.
  • Artists must provide information about the educational outcome of the project, as well as how the project will help the students to achieve educational goals.


Additional Coordinating Organization

The Arts Center
300-G East Main Street
Carrboro, NC 27510

Phone 919-929-2787


The ArtsCenter Residency program works with Orange County schools, both public and private, upon request from the school, to create residencies that “find ways to integrate the arts to achieve the common core curriculum goals by presenting the subject matter in new and different ways.” ArtsCenter has two types of residencies:

  • Artist Residency based on  School Show performance at The ArtsCenter, develops a lesson plan for five class sessions with a teaching artist and Evaluation meeting at the end of the residency.
  • Create Your Own Residency -Interested schools determine the length of the residency, the art form and the program goals.

Application Information:

  • ArtsCenter maintains a list of teaching artists that it involves when they get requests from schools and are always recruiting new teaching artists for in-class residencies and teacher workshops
  • Any teaching artist wishing to be considered to work in schools through our program must complete a Teaching Artist Application AND attend one of the Teaching Artist Workshops offered each year, during which time you will learn about the various residency models we offer and get professional development from a master teaching artist
  • To have a Teaching Artist application sent to you, please contact School and Family Programs Coordinator, Jillian Lea by Email.



Coordinating Organization:

United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County
110 S. Blount Street, Raleigh, NC 27601

Contact Person:

Julia Mastropaolo: Arts Education Coordinator
Email,  (919) 839-1498 x 210

General Program Description

The Artists in the Schools (AIS) Program is a collaboration among the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, the Wake County Public School System, and local schools. For more than 30 years, the AIS Program has placed teaching artists in public, private, and charter schools in Wake County. These artists and arts organizations work as creative educational resources with faculty, students, and cultural arts representatives to implement curriculum-based arts in education programs.

Application information:

  • Applications from artists interested in participating in the Artists in the Schools (AIS) Program for the upcoming school year are accepted each spring.  Check the website for deadlines.
  • Individual artists, ensembles, and arts organizations are eligible to apply.
  • Applications are accepted in the following disciplines: dance, literary arts, multi-disciplinary arts, music, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), storytelling, theatre, visual arts.
  • Applications are accepted for programs that include performances, workshops, or residencies.
  • Applicants should submit proposals that meet the North Carolina Curriculum Standards and/or Common Core Curriculum for students in grades K-12.
  • Artists are selected through a competitive application process and are evaluated by a panel comprised of arts education specialists, professional artists, parents, and United Arts Council staff.
  • Artists chosen for the United Arts AIS program are featured in the Directory of Artists, a catalog of teaching artists that the schools use to select artists for programs. This online searchable database is updated annually.

Key points about the application process:

  • The application is online.
  • United Arts Council offers workshops in early spring to assist artists in completing the application process.
  • Artists may submit multiple applications for different programs and/or grade levels.
  • Artists must provide lesson plans as part of their application.
  • Applicants must provide a 10 minute video that shows the artists working with students.

Individual Wake County schools book artists by using the Artist Directory and, often, with the help of grants provided by United Arts.  Booking is done by school Cultural Arts Representatives, which can be parents/PTA members or school staff.  For more on the Cultural Arts Representative side of booking artists, see here.  United Arts holds a Cultural Arts Booking Fair, usually in August, where artists can promote their work through performance or information booths.  This Cultural Arts Booking Fair is often attended by other organizations or municipal agencies in the Region interested in booking artists/performers, so can be a great opportunity to have your work seen by a variety of people.