The CPS Department of Arts Education runs a number of districtwide arts programs that are open to all CPS students (from district-managed, charter, contract, and options schools). These programs provide greater equity and access to arts programming across the district and celebrate our students’ astonishing creativity, innovation, and talent.

All-City Arts Programs 

A long-standing, vibrant tradition within CPS, our free All-City Programs showcase and honor student learning in music, theatre, dance, and visual arts. These programs include the following:

All-City Performing Arts

Students in grades 3–12 from across the district participate in music, dance, or theatre ensembles that rehearse on Saturdays and go on to perform in Fall and Spring showcases.

All-City Visual Arts

These annual exhibitions of 2D, 3D, and time-based art at the PreK–8 and high school levels showcase the artwork of CPS students across the district.

The Advanced Arts Program

This free off-campus program, open to juniors and seniors at CPS high schools, provides intense project-based learning experiences in music, dance, theatre, and visual, media, and culinary arts. Students are taught at a centrally-located site in Chicago (transportation is paid for by the program when it meets in-person) by teams of expert CPS arts teachers and professional teaching artists. They receive up to two years of credit-bearing Advanced Placement, honors, or dual-credit courses in the arts, as well as college and career planning assistance.

Visit for more information and to apply for the program.

Music Festivals

For over 90 years, CPS Music Festivals have provided student and teacher learning opportunities that extend and enrich music education offered in schools throughout the city. The Festivals are adjudicated events where student ensembles receive adjudicated feedback, clinics, and awards for their work.

Chicago Youth TheatreFest

The annual Chicago Youth TheatreFest is an adjudicated event that strives to bring CPS students in grades 6–12 together to observe, present, improve, and celebrate works of student theatre and connect them to college and career opportunities in the theatre arts.