Selection Criteria

Artist Eligibility

Individual artists, ensembles, and arts organizations are eligible to apply. Artists must:

  • Have either a BA or BFA in theatre, dance, music, or visual arts OR the equivalent in training or experience. Writers must have a college degree and evidence of professional writing experience
  • Be active in a professional community and regularly perform/exhibit/publish in their discipline
  • Demonstrate ability and skills to work in an educational setting with K–12 students
  • Be an adult; have only adult group members

Returning artists must have satisfactory evaluations from past participation in Artists in Schools.

Program Criteria

Programs must focus on at least one of the following artistic disciplines:

  • Dance
  • Literary
  • Music
  • Storytelling
  • Theatre
  • Visual Arts

Strong connection to a non-arts disciplines (e.g. history, languages, STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Math]) is encouraged but not required. Programs focusing on areas such as acrobatics, aerobic dance, art therapy, clowning, cosmetology, juggling, karaoke, magic, and martial arts are not eligible to apply.

Programs must:

  • be of high artistic merit
  • reflect the artist’s professional training and experience
  • place primary emphasis on teaching students about or through an arts discipline
  • offer more than what a classroom/arts teacher could provide
  • be appropriate for students in the grade levels that participate
  • support educational guidelines as set forth in the Common Core curriculum and North Carolina Essential Standards. These curriculum standards can be found at
  • have supplementary educational materials (study guides, teacher guides, lesson plans, etc.) provided to the school before the program
  • occur on school premises
  • occur during a school’s regular hours 
  • have set rates for ALL related expenses (either folded into fee or listed), including travel, food, lodging and supplies.

Program Types

Programs must fit into one of the following categories: 

Performance: a musical, dramatic, dance or other presentation that educates and entertains an audience

  • Format: presentation/demonstration with audience participation. If a program is not suited for lecture/demonstration, then the artist must provide cultural/artistic context through introductory, concluding and/or transitional remarks. A brief question and answer session may be included if desired. 

    Timing:  45–60 minutes 

Workshop/Residency: instructional session(s) that actively involve students in participatory work

  • Workshop Format: a stand-alone session, or a session in conjunction with a performance (i.e. a "companion" workshop). Venues range from classrooms to gyms to media centers and may involve several classes at one time.   

          Timing: at least one participatory instructional session

  • Residency Format: multiple sequential sessions, working with the same group of students each session and culminating with a student product (i.e. dance, dramatization, anthology, artwork, "informance").

Timing: at least three instructional sessions, lasting 45–60 minutes each. Residencies do not have to be scheduled on consecutive days. 

Writer Residency: sequential instructional sessions that focus on creative writing by students 

  • Format: at least five sequential sessions working with the same group of students to develop and enhance their own writing.

    Timing: sessions last 45–60 minutes with each student receiving approximately five contact hours. A writer residency may be scheduled on consecutive school days or it may be spread out over a period of time (e.g. every Monday for five weeks).

Workshop/Residency Specifically Created for Students with Disabilities: A Workshop/Residency option for programs specifically created for students with disabilities program was piloted in 2018-19. Program offerings for 2020-21 will continue to be reviewed individually.