New Jersey Department of Education

Visual and Performing Arts

Throughout time, the arts have served as a distinctive vehicle for self-discovery and a means of understanding the world in which we live. As the state of New Jersey continues to transform public education to meet the needs of a changing world and the 21st century workforce, capitalizing on the unique ability of the arts to develop creativity, critical thinking, and innovation skills is critical to the success of our students. A well-designed sequential arts program promotes responsible decision making, enhances self-awareness, builds self-esteem and self-management skills, and helps students build relationship and collaboration skills; all of which are essential to prepare New Jersey students for postsecondary success.


2020 New Jersey Student Learning Standards
for Visual and Performing Arts


Intent and Spirit

The NJSLS-VPA reflect the National Core Arts Standards and emphasize the process-oriented nature of the arts and arts learning by:  

  • Defining artistic literacy through a set of overarching philosophical foundations and lifelong goals that clarify long-term expectations for arts learning;  
  • Placing artistic processes and anchor standards at the forefront of the work;  
  • Identifying creative artistic practices as the bridge for the application of the artistic processes and anchor standards across all learning; and  
  • Specifying enduring understandings and essential questions that provide conceptual through lines and articulate value and meaning within and across the arts discipline.  

The development of artistic literacy is dependent on creating an environment in which students are encouraged to independently and collaboratively imagine, investigate, construct, and reflect.  


To empower students to develop creative and critical thinking, social-emotional competencies, and intellectual and expressive abilities that will allow them to become active, contributing members of a global society.


All students will have equitable access to a quality, arts education that leads to artistic literacy and fluency in the artistic practices of the five art disciplines (dance, music, theatre, visual arts, and media arts) as a mechanism for:  

  • Performing, presenting or producing, as artistically literate individuals, by expressing and realizing creative ideas and implementing essential technical skills and cognitive abilities significant to many aspects of life and work in the 21st century;  
  • Responding to artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and cognizance of the ability of the arts to address universal themes, including climate change;  
  • Creating new artistic work reflective of a variety of ethnic, racial, and cultural perspectives; and  
  • Connecting and evaluating how the arts convey meaning through all arts and non-arts disciplines and contexts of our global society.  

The vision of all students having equitable access to a quality arts education is only achieved when the five arts disciplines are offered continuously throughout the K–12 spectrum.  




Visual Arts

Media Arts

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Office of Standards

The resources provided on this webpage are for informational purposes only. All resources must meet the New Jersey Department of Education’s (NJDOE) accessibility guidelines. Currently, the NJDOE aims to conform to Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1). However, the NJDOE does not guarantee that linked external sites conform to Level AA of the WCAG 2.1. Neither NJDOE nor its officers, employees or agents specifically endorse, recommend or favor these resources or the organizations that created them. Please note that the NJDOE has not reviewed or approved the materials related to the programs.

Page Last Updated: 08/24/2023

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