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Transforming education in and through the arts.  

We Believe: 

Arts education contributes towards a well-rounded education through building bridges beyond the classroom and equipping us with ways we can make meaning of the past, embrace the world around us today, and create a flexible future.


  • Support varying needs in arts education through faciliating the growth of a diverse network of educators, administrators, and artists. 
  • Cultivate intentional arts learning experiences for all students in every school across the region.
  • Empower educators, administrators, and artists to collaborate from a place of strength to close opportunity gaps in the arts. 
  • Activate pathways for preparing the next generation of arts educators and providing ongoing professional learning opportunities.

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.

SCEA Today: 

The Southeast Center for Education in the Arts (SCEA) at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has actively engaged a re-envisioning process that aligns with the university’s 2015-2020 strategic plan and regional needs in arts education. We began this process through building a shared understanding of each part of our unit’s name and clarified the following:

Southeast: Our work supports efforts to increase access to arts learning experiences across the tristate, 16-county Chattanooga region with an emphasis on cultivating partnerships in rural school districts.

Center: We function as facilitators and conveners of arts education expertise including arts learning frameworks, curriculum design, program evaluation, professional development, and pre-service teacher education.

Education in the Arts: This is the heart of our work. Our mission is to transform education in and through the arts.

Who We Serve:

SCEA serves all UTC students pursuring K-12 licensure in an artistic discipline and/or careers in arts-based praxis (etc. teaching artists, arts administrators, etc.). We also build bridges beyond the classroom through supporting arts learning needs of school and communities from the tristate, Chattanooga region (see service map below).