Important Arts Essentials Deadlines for School Year 2019-20

For DISTRICT-MANAGED CPS Schools:

Arts Essentials funds will be made available to schools on September 24, 2019. Funds are loaded directly into school budgets (please see Purchasing Guide for budget number sequence).

Purchase Orders utilizing Arts Essentials funds must be opened by February 7, 2020. Unspent or unencumbered funds will be swept from district-managed schools’ budgets after February 7.

Download the District-managed CPS Schools Purchasing Guide

For CHARTER, CONTRACT, AND OPTIONS Schools:

Arts Essentials funding will be made available to schools on September 24, 2019. Funds are kept within the Department of Arts Education budget; designated charter school officers may receipt against these funds* through Epicenter until the spending deadline.

Charter, Options, and Contract school officers must submit for reimbursement via Epicenter on or before February 7, 2020.

*Please contact your network operations office to determine the appropriate officer who will submit reimbursements in Epicenter on behalf of your school. Receipts must be submitted all at once. Schools will be reimbursed for a maximum of $1,000. Reimbursements are processed monthly by the Department of Arts Education.

Download the Charter/Contract/Options Schools Purchasing Guide

Schools Receiving Arts Essentials

Please download this list to determine which schools earned Arts Essentials funding this year. Schools must have completed the Creative Schools Survey during the previous school year (SY2018-19) to be eligible.

Arts Essentials Purchasing Guides

Download purchasing guides for the school year:
District-managed CPS Schools
Charter/Contract/Options Schools


Other Arts Essentials Resources

Arts Essentials Purchasing Process At-A-Glance: (for CPS district-managed schools only) A quick walkthrough of the Arts Essentials purchasing process for clerks, administrators, and Arts Liaisons.

Frequently-Used Arts Vendors SY19-20: A list of vendors for dance, music, theatre, and visual arts supplies and equipment that are often used by CPS schools. PLEASE NOTE: This list is subject to change, as vendors are de-activated on a rolling basis due to inactivity. Please ask your school clerk to find the most up-to-date vendors via Oracle.

Full CPS Vendor List: A list of all active vendors that schools may purchase from. PLEASE NOTE: This list is subject to change, as vendors are de-activated on a rolling basis due to inactivity. Please ask your school clerk to find the most up-to-date vendors via Oracle.

Arts Essentials Spending Planner: Discussion prompts and a budgeting sheet for administrators, Arts Liaisons, and other arts teachers to use when planning for yearly Arts Essentials spending.


Further Information about Arts Essentials

What is the Arts Essentials Program?

The Arts Essentials Program provides $1,000 to all schools that have achieved Creative Schools Certification in Categories 1, 2, 3, and 4 and have a current CPS Arts Liaison. This data is compiled every Spring, analyzed over the Summer, and funds are provided to schools in the late Fall.  Schools do not need to apply for Arts Essentials.

How Do I Get Arts Essentials for My School?

Schools do not need to apply for an Arts Essentials. In order to be eligible for Arts Essentials, a school must:

  • Have an active Arts Liaison who has been nominated by the principal. Arts Liaisons serve as the on-site arts champions for their school communities. They must be (re)nominated at the start of every school year. To renominate a Liaison or nominate a new Liaison, principals should complete this Nomination form
  • Have an active Arts Liaison complete the yearly Creative Schools Survey in the Spring of every school year. The Creative Schools Survey collects arts data from each school to determine its Creative Schools Certification rating—the level at which the school meets the goals and priorities outlined in the CPS Arts Education Plan. Learn more about the Creative School Certification ratings.

Once Creative School Certification categories are determined in the fall of every school year, Arts Essentials funding is made accessible to qualified schools and purchasing can begin.

How Can Arts Essentials Money Be Spent? 

Arts Essentials funding can only be spent on materials, supplies, and equipment for visual art, music, dance, theatre, and media arts programming or instruction during the school day. The principal, Arts Liaison, and arts staff should work together to identify the area(s) of greatest need.

For a list of specific purchases that can and cannot be made, along with a walkthrough of the purchasing process, please download the Arts Essentials Purchasing Guide (see above).