What is The Creative Advantage?

The Creative Advantage is restoring access to the arts for all students in Seattle Public Schools.

The Creative Advantage is a public-private partnership to reinvest in Seattle’s students and our community’s economic and creative future. Founding partners are the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture, Seattle Public Schools, and the Seattle Foundation.


Who benefits from The Creative Advantage?

Since 2008, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) have collaborated to increase student access to quality arts learning in high-need schools. In 2012, with funding from The Wallace Foundation, the district conducted a needs assessment on the state of arts education in SPS.

The report showed access to an arts education is predictable based on race and ethnicity, Free and Reduced Lunch, Special Education, and English Language Learner status. To address these inequities, the Seattle K-12 Arts Plan was created, which laid out specific strategies for all students to receive a comprehensive, sequential, and predictable arts education.

To realize the plan, The Creative Advantage was born—solidifying the collective impact partnership between SPS and ARTS as the “backbone” management structure, The Seattle Foundation as the fiscal agent, and high leverage partners to support essential goals of the arts plan.

As of 2020-2021, the initiative is in 81 schools (out of 104) and will expand to the entire district over time – a total of 55,000+ students.


Why The Creative Advantage?

Learning through the arts is a vital part of a well-rounded education and leads to well-rounded, communicative, and adaptable residents in the Seattle community.

The Creative Advantage approach includes prioritizing increased arts access in the schools, addressing issues of racial equity, engaging in regional and school arts planning with K-12 pathways, building community arts partnerships, providing comprehensive professional development, and conducting a rigorous evaluation of the program to address emerging promising practices and continuous improvement. Our goals are to ensure that every student in every school receives:

  • High quality arts instruction that teaches sequential arts skills and techniques, develops 21st Century Skills, and is culturally responsive
  • Instruction from certified arts teachers
  • Integrated arts instruction
  • Arts experiences through partnerships with community-based organizations and teaching artists
  • Opportunities to connect arts to careers in high school