Deanne Basse

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. William Charland

Second Advisor

Christina Chin, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

William Davis, M.F.A.


Art, poverty, schools, achievement gap, curriculum

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This paper will review research that identifies different types of poverty and how brain development may be affected as a result of living in poverty. Although research reflects support and understanding by the American people that arts education is important to the well roundedness of youth and, in fact, correlates with higher standardized test scores, arts programs continue to be cut especially in areas of poverty. There is an achievement gap in educational success when it comes to students that live in poverty and that of students in higher socioeconomic situations. Students of poverty are working with increased internal and external stressors. The integration of well-designed art curriculum can help to address some of the specific challenges that these students face.

This paper is focused on a curriculum redesign of two high school level art classes intended for grades 9-12. Both, an Introduction to Art and a Beginning Painting course will be featured. Lesson plans for semester long periods will reflect attention to higher level questioning that foster the skills of looking closely and thinking critically. The inclusion of a wide variety of formative assessments encourage reflection, revision and collaboration.