The Arts Essentials program provides $1,000 annually to all CPS schools that have fully completed the Creative Schools Survey and have an active Arts Liaison. Schools do not need to apply for Arts Essentials.

The Creative Schools Survey for SY20-21 was released on August 31, 2020. All schools that complete the survey by October 9, 2020 will receive their Arts Essentials funds within a week of completing the survey.

Important Information about Arts Essentials for School Year 2020-21

To best support schools through the challenges of remote learning, the Department of Arts Education has made key adjustments to the Arts Essentials program for SY20-21. Flexibilities for Arts Essentials this school year include the following: 

  • Arts Essentials funds will be released weekly based on survey completion.
  • Purchase of educational software will be allowed using Arts Essentials in SY20-21. This software must be specifically designed to support or enhance arts teaching and learning. 

We recommend that the school principal, Arts Liaison and arts staff work together to identify the area(s) of greatest need in the arts and spend funds accordingly.  Schools might consider using Arts Essentials funds for the purchase of basic art supply kits by grade band to be sent to student homes for use in remote learning.

SY20-21 Arts Essentials Spending Deadlines and Guidelines

For DISTRICT-MANAGED CPS SCHOOLS:

Arts Essentials funds will be made available to schools on a rolling basis. The week after a Liaison completes the Creative Schools Survey, funds will be transferred into that school’s budget. Please see the Purchasing Guide (linked below) for the budget number sequence. 

Purchase Orders utilizing Arts Essentials funds must be opened by February 5, 2021.

Unspent or unencumbered funds will be swept from district-managed schools’ budgets after February 5. 

Download the SY20-21 District-managed CPS Schools Arts Essentials Purchasing Guide.

For CHARTER, CONTRACT, AND OPTIONS Schools:

Arts Essentials funds will be made available to schools on a rolling basis. The week after a Liaison completes the Creative Schools Survey, funds will be transferred into that school’s budget. 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 5, 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 SY21 Charter/Contract/Options Schools Arts Essentials Purchasing Guide.


Arts Essentials Purchasing Guides

DISTRICT-MANAGED CPS SCHOOLS:

CHARTER, CONTRACT, AND OPTIONS SCHOOLS:


Other Arts Essentials Resources

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

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 (Word)
Arts Liaisons, administrators, and other arts teachers can use this tool to collaboratively plan how to spend Arts Essentials grant money each year (Word version)

Arts Essentials Spending Planner (Excel)
Arts Liaisons, administrators, and other arts teachers can use this tool to collaboratively plan how to spend Arts Essentials grant money each year (Excel version)


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. In SY21, this data will be collected in the Fall and funds will be provided to schools as surveys are completed.

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 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 an Arts Liaison completes the Survey, Arts Essentials funding is made accessible to the school, 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 and spend accordingly.

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).