Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. William Charland

Second Advisor

Dr. Christina Chin

Third Advisor

Dr. Andrew Hennlich


Art education, social-emotional learning, art curriculum, whole student, SEL

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Human beings are complex in their structure, requiring a variety of components to create the whole. Why is it then, that the majority of the nation’s schools lack educational standards for social-emotional learning? When student’s walk into our classroom, is there a silent request that they leave aspects of themselves at the door so as not to intrude on data-driven education? Where there is pressure in the form of funding and job security to strictly teach standards in core classrooms, luckily that pressure doesn’t exist in the art classroom. This thesis takes the National Visual Art Content Standards and directly correlates them to the five social-emotional competencies to build a guideline for creating an SEL-based art curriculum.

Art lends itself to natural growth in the five competencies of SEL. Lessons provided in the example curriculum showcase the correlations between the five competencies and NVACS. There are a variety of materials, topics, techniques, and artists explored within each individual lesson, as well as a key SEL competency and supporting competencies. These lessons focus on giving our students the ability to explore themselves, rather than silence their individuality. These projects ask them to move out of their comfort zone, engage in productive conversation, create impact on the community they live in, and sculpt self-confidence. The world may give our students a limited color palette, but it is our job as educators to help them collect tools to create their masterpiece regardless of what they are handed.