Arts education in Spain is a complex field. At compulsory education level, students come into contact with arts education through areas of the curriculum or through projects that involve different levels of government.
At the primary education level, the 8/2013 Organic Act considered arts education as a specific subject and the implementation depends on the regulation and programming of educational administrations and schools.
Regarding Compulsory Secondary Education (ESO), the 8/2013 Organic Act considers all artistic subjects as specific and includes the following topics in the first three courses: Music, Visual Arts and Audiovisual Education, and Classical Culture. The course Performing Arts and Dance is added in the fourth course.
At the upper secondary level, there is a modality in arts, which is a prerequisite for higher education courses. With the 8/2013 Organic Act, the first course of this modality includes two compulsory core subjects (Arts Fundamentals I and Spanish Language and Literature I); three optional core subjects (Contemporary World History; Universal Literature and Audiovisual Culture I); and six specific optional subjects (Technical Drawing I; Artistic Drawing I; Volume; Applied Anatomy; Musical Analysis I; Music Language and Practice). The second course has three compulsory core subjects (Arts Fundamentals II; Spanish Language and Literature II and History of Spain); three optional core subjects (Audiovisual Culture II; Performing Arts and Design); and six specific optional subjects (Technical Drawing II; Artistic Drawing II; Musical Analysis II; History of Music and Dance; Picture and Sound and Techniques of Visual Expression).
According to the Cultural Statistics Yearbook 2018 published by the Ministry of Culture and Sport, in the academic year 2017-2018, a total of 398 474 students were enrolled in arts education (special schemes). This figure represents an increase of 1.2% compared to last year – the increase observed in previous years continues. With 82.5% of all arts education enrolments, Music Education proved to be most popular, followed by Dance Education (9.4%), Visual Arts and Design (7.3%), Drama (0.6%) and Master’s in Arts Education (0,1%). During the academic year 2016-2017, 34 196 bachelor students were enrolled in arts education, which represents 5.3% of all bachelor students in Spain.
Beyond the curriculum framework there exist diverse institutional initiatives aimed at promoting artistic activity in the education system. For example:
- the National Plan of Education and Heritage, approved in April 2013, promotes programmes in the area of formal education through the implementation of cultural heritage contents in the curricula, the improvement of learning material related to students’ competences in heritage matters and the promotion of teachers’ training on the social, cultural, economic and identity values of cultural assets;
- the programme Educación para el cine. Cine para la educación / Education for Cinema. Cinema for Education, included in the Culture Plan 2020 of the Secretariat for Culture, promotes the inclusion of curricular subjects related to cinematography and audiovisual in formal education, as well as in business schools;
- the programme EducaFilmoteca / Educa Spanish Film Archive promoted by the Spanish Film Archive and AulaFilm aims to approach cinema to young population;
- the programme Hefesto Scholarships promotes access and progress in the academic and professional training of students with disabilities;
- the incorporation of the Hora diaria de lectura / Daily Reading Hour in schools under the territorial competence of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport;
- the programmes Encuentros Literarios / Literary Meetings and Por qué Leer a los Clásicos / Why to read the classics? draw authors to secondary schools.
Most co-operation between schools, cultural institutions and the third sector, however, takes place outside the formal curricular framework. Some philanthropic institutions fund those initiatives, as the Art in the Community Programme by the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation or Edu Caixa by ”la Caixa” Foundation. Partnerships between cultural organisations (public and private) generated new initiatives related to the mediating role of cultural institutions. A format that is gaining popularity in Spain is the residency of artists in schools with the objective of permeating all the teaching-learning processes. These initiatives are sometimes promoted by cultural institutions with a cultural mediation role. For instance, the TEA in Tenerife promotes Un/a Artista Viene a Vernos [An artist comes to see us], a programme for creators-educators to incorporate contemporary art and creation in the whole processes of teaching and learning in primary education. The private sector also tries to promote innovative actions in formal education, with the development of a model for resident artists at schools like the initiative Exprimento Limón in Madrid.