Top of Page

Arts Essentials

The Arts Essentials program provides $1,000 annually to all CPS schools that have fully completed the annual Creative Schools Survey and have an active Arts Liaison. Schools do not need to apply for Arts Essentials funding. Funds must be used for the purchase of materials, supplies, and equipment for visual art, music, dance, theatre, and media arts programming or instruction during the school day.

Updated SY23-24 Arts Essentials Spending Deadlines and Guidelines

District-Managed CPS Schools

Arts Essentials funds were transferred into schools budgets in fall 2023. Please see the Purchasing Guide below for the budget number sequence. 

CPS Purchasing Guide

Purchase Orders (POs) utilizing Arts Essentials funds must be opened by March 1st, 2024. Unspent or unencumbered funds will be swept from district-managed schools’ budgets after March 1st, 2024.

Charter, Contract, and Options Schools

Reimbursement for Arts Essentials funds were made available to schools in fall 2023. Funds are kept within the Department of Arts Education budget; designated charter school officers may receipt against these funds through Epicenter* until the spending deadline. 

Charter, Options, and Contract school officers must submit for reimbursement via Epicenter on or before March 1st, 2024.

Non-CPS Purchasing Guide

*Please contact your network operations office to determine the appropriate officer who will submit reimbursements in Epicenter on behalf of your school. Receipts must be submitted all at once. Schools will be reimbursed for a maximum of $1,000. Reimbursements are processed monthly by the Department of Arts Education.

Other Arts Essentials Resources

Arts Essentials Purchasing Process At-A-Glance (NOTE: for CPS district-managed schools only): A quick walkthrough of the Arts Essentials purchasing process for clerks, administrators, and Arts Liaisons.

Full CPS Vendor List: A list of all active vendors that schools may purchase from. PLEASE NOTE: This list is subject to change, as vendors are de-activated on a rolling basis due to inactivity. Please ask your school clerk to find the most up-to-date vendors via Oracle.

Arts Essentials Spending Planner (Word | Excel)
Arts Liaisons, administrators, and other arts teachers can use this tool to collaboratively plan how to spend Arts Essentials grant money each year.

Further Information about Arts Essentials

CPS Department of Arts Education


42 W. Madison St, 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60602