Art Department Checklist

This list was prepared by Max Darby in June, 2009 from an earlier list written in association with Tony Lenten .

This file contains questions to assist in evaluating your Art Department and to highlight areas where improvement might be made. It sets out to provide a clear idea of the effectiveness of the Art Department within the school and can be used by the faculty as a diagnosis tool for future action. It is clearly based on assumptions about the way an Art Department might function. You may need to re-work those assumptions to suit your own needs. You are sure to want to include other questions.

Aims and Purposes

1.  Does the art department have a clear and shared understanding of its role in general education?

2.  Has the art department worked out its own attitudes to the value of art in the school’s curriculum?

3.  Does the art department have an agreed and shared art education philosophy and approach?

4.  Does the art department have regular discussions to share current and emerging theory and practice in art education (these could be formal or informal)?

5.  Has the art department prepared and shared with other staff members a concise statement of why art is taught in the school?

6.  Does the art department take opportunities whenever they arise to promote and argue the value and importance of art for all students?

7.  Does the art department review and refine its own aims and directions on a regular basis, for example, at least yearly?

8.  Does the art department make a concerted effort to communicate with other staff (including The Principal, School Administrators, other department heads and teachers, the School Council, students and parents about its aims, value and needs?

9.  Does the art department actively engage in formal and informal discussions within the school community on general education curriculum matters and issues?

10.  Is the art department adequately represented on school committees, such as the Curriculum Committee or school Management Committee?

Program and Course Outlines

1.  Are up to date program and course outlines on file and available for art staff when required?

2.  Have these outlines been filed with relevant school contacts, such as the Curriculum Coordinator, Level Coordinators etc. as appropriate?

3.  Are all programs planned with the total aims of the art department curriculum and philosophy in mind?

4.  Is adequate attention paid to ‘Transition’ within the program, for example, from

–          Primary level to Secondary Level

–           Middle School to Senior School

–           Year level to Year level

–           Subject to subject

–           Elective to elective

–           Term to term

–           Activity to activity?

5.  Is there an opportunity for all art department members to contribute to the development of the programs or courses?

6.  Are there opportunities for cross-arts subject activities to be explored?

7.  Are there opportunities for cross curriculum activities to be explored?

8.  Do students have opportunities to engage in a wide range of interesting and challenging art activities?

9.  Do students have appropriate input to the nature of activities provided?


1.  Are regular art department meetings held?

2.  Is the timetable organized to accommodate full or part-time meetings?

3.  Are accurate records of meetings kept and filed systematically for ready access by art department members?

4.  Are minutes or summaries of all meetings circulated to art department members for their own files?

5.  Does the art department have a place where members can work together, for example a common staff room?

6.  Are all art department members encouraged to participate in the decision-making process?

7.  Are there opportunities for students to contribute to decision-making or to provide input when appropriate?

8.  Do art department members frequently solve problems or develop teaching strategies, ideas and/or activities together?

9.  Do all art department members have an input to the Agenda of meetings?

9.  Is there a systematic procedure in place for tackling art department problems, issues and tasks?

10.  Does the art department face up to and address important issues that it faces when meetings are held?

11. Are a range of options considered before a decision is made?

12.  Do all art department members have a say in decisions that are made?

Teaching Skills and Methods

This section should be cross-referenced with the teaching methods checklist

1.  Do teachers keep up with current movements in general education?

2.  Do teachers keep up with the latest teaching skills and methods for their own subjects?

3.  Do teachers regularly inform themselves about new developments in the art world?

4.  Have teachers kept up with the latest developments in technology?

5.  Are teachers encouraged to try a variety of teaching methods?

6.  Are teachers encouraged to present their lessons in new, different and interesting ways?

7.  Do teachers provide opportunities for students to engage in small and large group activities as well as individual projects?

8.  Is and effort made to ensue there is an adequate balance between practical, historical and critical components of the course?

9.  Are teachers of other subjects and visitors to the school invited to participate in lessons or to discuss new teaching methods, when appropriate?


1.  Are all teachers informed of all matters and school issues that concern them?

2.  Do all teachers know what each other is doing in their classes?

3.  Do teachers talk about art education and art teaching when they get together informally in school?

4.  Do teachers ever consider sitting in on other classes or combining classes with other teaches periodically to enable team teaching?

5.  Are teachers in contact with art teachers in nearby schools to discuss common issues and ideas?

6.  Is there a local or regional network to which teachers belong?

7.  Are teachers aware of State, National and International Art Education bodies to which they can belong? For example in Victoria, Australia – Art Education Victoria (AEV); Art Education Australia (AEA);International Society for Education through art (INSEA).

8.  Are all art teachers members of an Art teacher’s subject association, such as Art Education Victoria (AEV).


1.  Are all members of the art department keen to learn about, to evaluate and to try out new ideas in art teaching?

2.  Is the art department open to appropriate student and parent involvement in course planning?

3.  Do teachers attend conferences, workshops and visit other schools to take opportunities for professional growth and development?

4.  Are teachers frequently exploring new ideas and new potential activities for their program?

5.  Has the art department considered using an Artist in Residence, an Architect in Residence, a Designer in Residence, or an Art Historian in Residence?

6.  Does the art department organize art camps or field trips for art students, for example, for senior art students?

7.  Has the art department considered the possibility of taking students on an overseas art study trip (perhaps with another school)?

8.  Has the art department considered some kind of student or teacher exchange?

9.  Do teachers sometimes engage large groups of students or whole classes in school-based projects, for example class murals, ceramic pathways, online or virtual exhibitions, exchanges of art with other schools, perhaps overseas?

10. Have teachers considered organizing activities that relate different age groups in joint projects, for example, primary-aged students with senior-aged students?

11.  Are teachers open to working with other teachers and other schools on joint projects, for example, environmental activities or even cross marking at the senior levels?

12.  Are teachers tuned in and sensitive to the need for carefully considered change rather than waiting for a crisis or problem to develop before making decisions?

13.  Does the art department take advantage of the many resource personnel outside the school that are available to support schools and art teachers?

Professional Growth

1.  Does the art department organize discussions, visiting speakers, activities and topics of special interest for teachers?

2.  Are teachers encouraged to attend in-service and professional development programs and activities to increase their range of art skills and teaching skills?

3.  Are teachers encouraged to join professional associations?

4.  Are teachers encouraged to attend programs and activities on general curriculum questions and methods rather than just art education topics?

5.  Do teachers get opportunities and encouragement to visit other schools and teachers to look at worthwhile programs?

6.  Are teachers from other schools (e.g. from local primary schools) invited to discuss the school’s art program?

7.  Are teachers encouraged to upgrade their qualifications and/or knowledge in specific studio areas?

8.  Are teachers encouraged to share their own expertise with other members of the art department and, in turn, to learn from them?

9.  Are teachers encouraged to improve their general education qualifications?

Budget and Finance

1.  Does the art department plan a budget each year?

2.  Was an inventory of unused materials taken at the end of the previous year?

3.  Are accurate and detailed records of expenditure maintained?

4.  Is there an agreed ordering and storing policy in place?

5.  Has a survey and comparison of the prices charged by different suppliers been made for the costs for common materials and products?

6.  Has a ‘tender’ process for all materials been considered?

7.  Have decisions been made concerning the quality of the materials to be used and purchased? That is, is it the ‘best available’, or the cheapest?

8.  Is there adequate storage space available for materials purchased in bulk, for example, paper, paint, inks, clay, pencils, erasers, etc.

9.  Is there a policy about who has the responsibility for ordering all materials, tools and equipment?

10.  Is there a policy on what can and cannot be used by students?

11.  Has the art department established a priority of needs to guide its spending?

12.  Have alternative means of raising finance been investigated, for example, for expensive initial purchases such as printing presses, enlargers etc?

13.  Does the art department make a concerted effort to ensure that the maximum benefit is gained from the limited funds available, e.g. bulk buying, tendering, sharing equipment, restricting waste?

Occupational Health and Safety

1.  Is there a formally designated staff member who is responsible for all health and safety procedures and practices?

2.  Has a formal health and safety policy been established that is suitable to the nature of the spaces provided and used?

3.  Where is that policy located and do all teachers have a copy of it?

4.  Is the policy revisited periodically and reviewed and updated?

5.  Have first aid cabinets or packages been established in each room?

6.  Are formal evacuation procedures in place that all people who enter and work in the art department are aware of, and are bound to keep?

7.  Are all teachers and students aware of these procedures?

8.  Are evacuation procedures practiced and rehearsed from time to time?

9.  Are clearly established, well-maintained and clearly sign-posted access routes to safety provided?

10.  Has the school administration been made aware of the specific hazards faced in the art department and been provided with a copy of the rules and policies that guide the use of the art department spaces?

11.  Is there an effective method for the school administration to alert the art department to dangerous circumstances that threaten the school generally, for example, fire (if the art department is separate form the main buildings, as is sometimes the situation)?

12.  Are there adequate storage facilities for all equipment, tools, materials and for student folios and works in progress to ensure safe passage through the art rooms?

13.  Is there a process or policy for cleaning spaces after use and the end of each lesson and each day?

14.  Are there allocated spaces or racks for drying of student art works?

15.  Is there a process for monitoring the purchase of materials and chemicals so that only those that are safe and non-threatening to students and teachers are provided?

16.  Is there a policy for the storage and use of materials that might under some circumstance provide danger to users (e.g. the use of chemicals for printmaking and photography, and flammable materials)?

17.  Are there safety and fire hazard storage cupboards provided?

18.  Is there a safety procedure for the removal of used and unwanted chemicals which should never be poured down the sink?

19.  Are all sharp edges protected and all machinery covered with the legal safety guards?

20.  Are safety and usage signs for each piece of specialist equipment prominently displayed?

21.  Have teachers and students been taken through the correct usage procedures of all equipment they are expected to use, and are they frequently reminded of legal and safety requirements?

22.  Have safety sheets for equipment and processes used been provided to each student for their own records?

23.  Is there a clear procedure and policy for the checking and maintenance of all equipment, machinery and tools?

24.  Is a legally binding first aid procedure in place, including persons officially designated to administer life saving procedures in special circumstances?

25.  Are all teachers trained in the basic principles of health and safety and the provision of first aid?

26.  Is all rubbish including off-cuts and scraps of unwanted materials such as wood removed immediately?

Materials, Resources and Facilities

1.  Does the art department work out the materials required on a systematic basis?

2.  Is there a process for preparing materials and equipment prior to each lesson?

3.  Are there established procedures for ordering and purchasing materials and equipment?

4.  Is there a process for allocating spaces for particular activities?

5.  Is an adequate inventory of equipment maintained?

6.  Is the location of all specialist equipment and/or tools known?

7.  Is storage adequate to ensure that equipment and materials are not lost, damaged or misplaced?

8.  Is there a procedure by which equipment, books etc that are borrowed is noted or recorded to ensure it’s return?

9.  Are maintenance and repairs to equipment and tools carried out on a regular basis?

10.  Are the students encouraged to take pride in the spaces and facilities and to take care for their quality?

11.  Is there a wide range of resources for staff and student use at all levels, e.g. books, magazines, computer programs, pictures and prints of art works, videos and DVD’s?

12.  Does the Library or Audio Visual Centre provide for a good variety of teaching methods and approaches?

13.  Is there a file kept in the art staff room of ideas and information about programs, activities and assessment procedures and made available to all staff?

Displays and Exhibitions

This section should be cross-referenced with the exhibition checklist

1.  Are there adequate facilities fior the display of student work in the classrooms and throughout the school?

2.  Are the displays representative of the range of activities that occur in the art department?

3.  Do the displays represent the full range of abilities within any given class?

4.  Do all students get the opportunity to have their work displayed during the year?

5.  Are all teachers and students encouraged to view the works on display?

6.  Are the displays well-mounted and presented?

7.  Are displays changed on a regular basis?

8.  Are all teachers encouraged to use the display facilities to ensure that a wide range of art forms and media are represented?

9.  Does the art department organize an annual exhibition?

10.  Does the art department organize an exhibition or displays throughout the school, including the central reception area?

11.  Do teachers sometimes display or exhibit their own work in the school?

12.  Does the art department or school have its oown collection of art works, for example, student works purchased annually, or artist’s works?

Excursions or Field Trips

1.  Are excursions organized for all students on a regular basis?

2.  Do students have a clear idea of the purpose of excursions before they take part?

3.  Are excursions directly related to other aspects of the art program?

4.  Is consideration given to excursions other than visits to art galleries, for example, to parks, murals, local industries etc.?

5.  Are excursions organized for practical art-making activities?

6.  Have overseas trips been considered?

7.  Is there an art department policy on how excursions or trips must be organized and planned? Does this include obtaining parent approval?

8.  Is there a policy about safety for all off campus excursions?

Schools are increasingly making demands on their various departments to conduct evaluations or reviews to determine the effectiveness of what they do. Should your school wish you to undertake a professional review or evaluation Max Darby and Alma Tooke are experienced reviewers who already provide those services. Contact details are on the home page.

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One Response to “Art Department Checklist”

  1. WP Themes says:

    Good brief and this fill someone in and helped me a lot in my college assignement. Thanks you as your information.

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