About SCEA



Strengthening arts teaching and learning through community-based partnerships.


  • To provide experiential professional learning opportunities in arts education for working teachers, teaching artists, and UTC’s pre-service teachers.
  • To advocate for a connected curriculum that targets deeper understanding in and through the arts.
  • To facilitate the growth of a network of educators and artists committed to high quality arts education for all learners.

Case Statement:

INTENT. The arts allow for the exchange of knowledge and perspectives between people who look and think differently than one another, and we believe that it is because of these differences that the arts have a unique benefit on the quality of life.

IMPACT. We work in diverse settings to cultivate awareness of the innate value value of EDUCATION IN THE ARTS. We believe quality arts education encourages intellectual, creative, and personal growth which inspire innovative thinking and ideas.

INTEGRATION. We partner with educators, artists, and community-based organizations to help people learn in, through, and about the arts.

For SCEA's definition of concept-based arts-integration, click here.


The Southeast Center for Education in the Arts was founded in 1987 through a unique public, private and institutional collaboration among the Getty Center for Education in the Arts, Chattanooga-based foundations, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, the State of Tennessee, and area school districts. SCEA is one of six Getty funded regional institutes established to research and promote discipline-based visual art education. UTC and the Chattanooga community had the foresight to expand the concept to embrace music, theatre, and dance education. Their work in discipline-based arts education, now known as comprehensive arts education, serves as the foundation of all of their professional learning programs in arts education and concept-based arts integration. 

Since its inception, SCEA has set high standards for teaching and learning in and through the arts. Our instructional model has been tested and developed through site-based professional development projects across schools in the southeast. Key components of the framework include standards-based arts instruction and assessment, a conceptual approach that strives to deepen interdisciplinary learning beyond thematic and integrated methodologies, and the importance of collegial collaboration through a participant-oriented partnership that promotes sustainability.


Current Initiatives:

Teaching and Learning through the Arts (TLTA) Professional Learning Labs: A professional development program focused on arts learning, teacher practice, and curriculum development. TLTA Professional Learning Labs focus on building a common language to understand and advocate for learning in the arts, introducing teachers to arts-based strategies that educators in and out of the arts classroom can employ, and exploring ways that arts-based teaching strategies can be embedded in lessons that integrate arts and non-arts instruction. 

Arts & Education Forum Series: Beginning Fall 2015, SCEA’s annual Arts & Education Forum will expand into a 2-part series where arts specialists, literacy teachers, and teaching artists investigate the practice of concept-based interdisciplinary instruction in their own work. Online modules that include model lessons contextualized with students will aide educators in their understanding of the practice and pedagogy of arts and literacy in the interdisciplinary curriculum.

CommuniCREATE: A partnership between SCEA and Barger Academy of Fine Arts provides quarterly workshops for families to actively engage in arts learning experiences in drama, music, dance, and visual art. This programs aims to break barriers to parental involvement while increasing awareness of the importance of arts learning in K-12 schools. Click here for more info.

From STEEEP to STEEEPER: Investigating Visual Art Analysis and Drama Praxis in Physician Training: A partnership between the SCEA, the Hunter Museum of American Art, and the University of Tennessee College of Medicine at Chattanooga. This program aims to understand how integrating arts-based practices into the medical curriculum strengthens understanding of social determinants and assessment of patient health, and affects physician well-being, and resiliency. Research will be used to develop an interdisciplinary curriculum model in arts and medicine that can be disseminated and replicated in other physician training programs, both for practicing clinicians and students.