Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program


For a region focused on inspiring and supporting a thriving creative economy, arts education represents a fundamental building block for the Sacramento area. Dozens of research studies show a direct correlation between arts education and gains in academic outcomes, confidence, creativity, collaboration, empathy, and sense of community. However, despite its proven benefits, students in Sacramento do not have equal access to arts education, and even for those that do have access, the opportunities are regularly underleveraged.

To address this systemic breakdown, Mayor Steinberg’s office and the Sacramento Convention and Cultural Services Department partnered with Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program (NELP) Class VIII to explore the status of K-6 arts education in the five main area school districts—Elk Grove Unified, Natomas Unified, Robla School District, Sacramento City Unified, and Twin Rivers Unified–and to identify avenues by which to make meaningful and sustainable improvements.

Emerging from this five-month engagement, the NELP fellows created Arts for ALL, a comprehensive approach for arts education in Sacramento consisting of three key drivers:

  • ALIGN – bring together the arts providers, districts, schools, students, and community to improve communication throughout the region and foster a true arts education movement in the Sacramento area.

  • LEVERAGE – better utilize the region’s existing resources and efforts to improve issues surrounding access and equity in arts education and exposure.

  • LEARN – empower the region to think evermore expansively and creatively about how it can best serve Sacramento-area students in regards to arts education and exposure.

Through the Arts for ALL campaign, the Sacramento region has the beginnings of a blueprint by which to bring additional attention to arts education, design and implement more meaningful arts education programming, and set the tone through K-6 education that will enable Sacramento to foster a creative economy.