The 13 Pillars of Art Education Every Art Teacher Should Know

As a teacher, you know you make hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions every day in your classroom. As an art teacher, many of those decisions include things like which standards you’ll cover in your lessons, which assessments are most effective for specific activities, and which instructional strategies best match your favorite mediums. The sheer volume of decisions that need to be made can sometimes lead to vague and inconsistent planning. It’s easy to feel lost when thinking about the entire field of Art Ed at once!

We are here to help.

To illustrate and organize this expansive field, we’ve identified 13 overarching topics of Art Ed, which we’re calling Pillars. Within each topic, we’ve identified several important subtopics, which you can see in the chart below.

This chart will be an invaluable tool for daily and long-term planning. In addition, it just might remind you of some areas of Art Ed that may have fallen off your radar. Download your copy now.

13 pillars of art ed document

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Of course, creating a document of this magnitude is no easy feat. This is especially true because the field of Art Ed is fluid, ever-changing and made up of a wide variety of philosophies and perspectives. It is our hope that you will be able to use this document as a way to focus your planning.

To take things a step further, we’ve also reorganized all of our Pinterest boards to align with the Pillars. You’ll find all your favorite past articles and resources categorized into the 13 overarching topics. Use these boards to help you find anything and everything you want to know about each topic. Your prep time will thank you!

screenshot of pointers boards

No matter how you go about your daily and long-term planning, consider using The 13 Pillars of Art Education document as a tool to assist and lead you in this ever-changing field. Discover lost concepts, explore new ideas, and reference the full gamut of Art Ed on a single page!

How do you see yourself using the 13 Pillars of Art Ed in your classroom?
Is there anything you would change about this document?


Tracy Hare

Learning Team

Tracy is a middle school art teacher from central MN who strives to create rich, meaningful content and resources through her Art Ed PRO Director role at AOE.


  • Shannon Henricks Monson

    This looks amazing. I am looking forward to seeing the new design in Feb. and the organization/alignment with Pinterest. As a first year K-6 Art teacher, I utilize The Art of Ed quite often. I think that this will be a great change. I am really looking forward to the Conference and my SwagBox! Thanks for all that you do to help art educators!!!!

  • Lisa VPC

    Fabulous. Could you identify who the “we” are who conceptualized, wrote and organized the pillars for reference? Thanks!!!

    • Good question Lisa – the 13 Pillars document was a collaboration by many members of the AOE team. The project was led by our Content Director, Tracy Hare!

  • Colette Bachand

    As a student teacher, I have been deeply searching for anything that will give me a concrete list of what is expected from me as an art teacher. You have given me this long-desired tool. I almost want to cry with happiness. Thank you for delivering an answer

    • :) You’re so welcome Colette! Very glad you found it useful, and I hope the new website (coming early-mid February) will prove to be similarly useful to you in your career as an art educator!