Mississippi Whole Schools, a program of the Mississippi Arts Commission, is Mississippi’s first comprehensive statewide arts education program, which uses the arts as a vehicle for promoting high-quality instruction and learning for students in all disciplines. In 1991, WS began as a response to “back to basics” school reform and calls for the integration of the arts into daily classroom instruction and sequential, comprehensive instruction in dance, theatre, visual arts, and music.

WS evaluation results have shown:

  • increased standardized test scores
  • increased community involvement and support
  • increased parental involvement
  • improved overall teacher morale

There are three levels to the program: Arts in the Classroom (one year “try-out” experience); Mississippi Whole Schools (eight year commitment); Model School (two year award, renewable). Application information for all three levels of the program is linked below.

Arts In The Classroom

Arts in the Classroom (AIC) is a program designed to primarily provide professional development for teachers and administrators of preK-12 schools in the foundations of arts integration as a teaching tool to enhance teaching skills and improve student achievement through the infusion of the arts into the basic curriculum.


Mississippi Whole Schools

Mississippi Whole Schools is a program open to K-12 schools that uses the arts as a vehicle for promoting high-quality instruction and learning for students. The program is founded on effective research-based methods and strategies. Participants in Mississippi Whole Schools are supported through grant funds, professional development and technical assistance for up to six years.


Model Schools

Schools that have committed to arts integration and changed their school’s culture through the arts are invited to apply as a Model Whole School. To apply, schools must have completed at least three years in Mississippi Whole Schools.


MWS Capacity Building Project Grant

Starting in Fall 2022, this grant is available exclusively for MWS schools to fund projects that strengthen capacity for education in the arts.


Program Resources

Professional Development

Magnificent Masterpieces

Partners include: Mississippi Department of Education and other cultural institutions.

View the Mississippi Whole Schools Summer 2022 Institute Report