Southeast Center for Education in the Arts

Kim Alan Wheetley , Executive Director
Southeast Center for Education in the Arts, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Dept 6706, 615 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37403
Chattanooga, TN 37403




Web Address:
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SCEA’s professional development programs provide opportunities for elementary, middle, and high school teachers, arts specialists, teaching artists, and administrators to examine their current teaching practices and beliefs, experiment with arts-based and integrated instructional models, and expand their creativity as they explore art processes and procedures and envision concept-based integrated instruction.

Barger Academy of Fine Arts (Chattanooga, TN)
Battle Academy for Teaching and Learning (Chattanooga, TN)
Browns Mill Elementary (Lithonia, GA)
Comeaux High School Academy of Design (Lafayette, LA)
John Clancy Elementary School for the Arts (Jefferson Parish, LA)
Kansas City School of the Arts (Kansas City, MO)
Lamar Reese School of the Arts (Albany, GA)
Lincoln Elementary School for the Arts (Jefferson Parish, LA)
Macon Arts Alliance (Macon, GA)
Orange County High School of the Arts (Santa Ana, CA)
Sallie B. Howard School for the Arts and Education (Wilson, NC)
Vineville Academy (Macon, GA)
West Side Magnet School (LaGrange, GA)

Comprehensive partners list can be found at:

The Southeast Center for Education in the Arts provides innovative professional development in arts education and arts integration to enhance teaching and deepen learning. SCEA’s professional development programs create exciting opportunities for personal and professional discovery, nurturing the artist within and fostering the artistry of teaching.

Building on its seminal work in discipline-based arts education, SCEA has evolved incorporating emerging theories and methodologies in interdisciplinary education, placing it at the cutting edge of current practice in arts integration. SCEA’s approach employs concept-based curriculum design to facilitate the unique learning opportunities fostered at the nexus of disciplines.

As a professional development provider, SCEA collaborates with schools and organizations across the country providing consulting services, demonstrating integrated instruction, and crafting custom, site-specific programs tailored to the needs and resources of distinct communities. Personnel travel nationwide teaching classes, conducting workshops, working on committees, and serving as consultants and writers for professional organizations and state education departments.

This Tennessee institute balances teaching of the arts disciplines with integration of the arts throughout the curriculum. Professional development services enable kindergarten through college educators to establish the study of the arts as an integral component of basic education for all students. The Center also offers direct services: facilitating meetings, establishing school arts leadership teams, designing integrated curriculum, mentoring including modeling, feedback and assessment, as well as long range arts education planning.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is SCEA’s primary partner, but the Center focuses on inter-organization collaboration as one of its strategies.

An annual spring Arts & Education Forum convenes educators from across the country to explore and discuss current practice in arts integration, with the goal of refining the work of professional development providers who facilitate its implementation in the field.

Arts and education forums
Professional development workshops
On-site instructional modeling and teacher mentoring
Arts-integrated curriculum design
Inter-organization collaboration

Founded in 1987 as one of six regional sites of the Getty Trust’s program in discipline-based arts education, SCEA was the only site to adapt this approach to disciplines other than visual art, contributing immensely to the growth of arts education as a national movement. In 1996-2001, SCEA was one of six sites in the Transforming Education Through the Arts Challenge, an initiative of the Annenberg Foundation and Getty Trust, providing intensive professional development to 35 partner schools across the nation as they developed comprehensive arts education programs. In 2002, SCEA began to apply the extensive knowledge of arts-based pedagogy to interdisciplinary professional development, creating integrated instructional strategies and curriculum that promote deep understanding through concept-based connections among the arts and other disciplines. The Tennessee Arts Commission awarded the Center its 2003 Governor's Arts Leadership Award for nurturing creative inquiry into teaching and learning.

Since the beginnings of SCEA in 1988, they have acquired $7 million in support from donors including: Annenberg Foundation, Benwood Foundation, Gherkin Foundation, Getty Trust, Lyndhurst Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, State of Tennessee, Tennessee Arts Commission, Tennessee Higher Education Commission, University of Chattanooga Foundation, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

See Comprehensive Arts Education
See Discipline Based Arts Education
See Arts Integration

Findings :
• Establishing and sustaining a comprehensive arts integration program requires developing substantive and sequential arts curriculum; integrating instruction in, about, and through the arts across the disciplines; and nurturing a learning community interested in collaboration and reflective growth.
• Addressing the diverse needs of students results when students engage in a variety of artistic processes and explore multiple learning modalities.
• Student-driven inquiry asks the teacher to shift their role from leader to collaborator and mentor.
• Teaching can be a learning experience for teachers as well as their students if they take time individually and with colleagues to think about their curriculum, examine student work, analyze the teaching that led to varying student outcomes, and envision alternative instructional strategies.
• The “backward” curriculum design process focuses on assessment first and instructional activities last. Teachers establish the essential understandings of their lessons, decide how students will provide evidence of their learning, and then design the instruction.
• Nurturing skills in creating, performing, and responding requires curriculum and instruction that support the artistic development of students through sequencing instruction for developmentally appropriate practice; scaffolding instruction around increasing knowledge, skills, and experience; striking a balance between building skills and providing opportunities for creativity; and nurturing students’ mastery and autonomy in the arts. 

Lessons Learned:
Schools working to establish comprehensive arts education programs have found it very productive to create an Arts Leadership Team. This group of administrators, arts specialists, classroom teachers, and community members work to clarify philosophy, establish goals, develop implementation strategies, plan curriculum, arrange professional development, and assess progress.

Useful Tools:
SCEA designed video and web-based instruction for the Annenberg/Corporation for Public Broadcasting Channel. Three professional development series are available via video-on-demand from Annenberg Media: The Arts in Every Classroom, Connecting with the Arts, and The Art of Teaching the Arts.

SCEA's Description of Arts Integration

Dana Foundation, Transforming Arts Teaching: The Role of Higher Education. 2007.
Burnaford, Gail, Arts Integration Frameworks, Research, & Practice – A Literature  Review, Arts Education Partnership, 2007.

Wilson, Brent. The Quiet Evolution: Changing the Face of Arts Education, Getty Education Institute for the Arts, 1997.

Fletcher, Philip, et al, Transforming Education Through the Arts Challenge. MD: WESTAT, 2002.

"Change in Arts Education: Transforming Education. Through the Arts Challenge." Arts Education Policy Review 101.4 (Mar/Apr2000): 5-11 pp. 

Transforming Education Through the Arts Challenge: Final Project Report
. Donald J. Killeen, et al, 2001. 83.

Loyacono, Laura, Editor. "Transforming Education Through the Arts. Proceedings of a special Hearing on Arts and Education Reform in the States." Committee on Role of Arts Education in Education Reform, 1995.

Southeast Center for Education in the Arts web page:

Target Population:
Arts Administrators

Arts Specialists

Classroom Teachers

Education Administrators

Other Educators


Professional Developers



Teaching Artists

Arts Discipline:

Interdisciplinary arts and other subjects



Visual Arts

Entry Points:





Education Thread:
Education Reform