About Perpich Center for Arts Education

Perpich Center for Arts Education was born as the Minnesota Center for Arts Education in 1985, created by the state legislature at the urging of then Gov. Rudy Perpich. It was renamed in his honor after his death in 1995. Minnesota is one of only a handful of states in the nation with a dedicated state agency supporting arts education.

Perpich impact map of Minnesota

Our mission is to provide all Minnesota students the opportunity to develop, enhance, and integrate their artistic and academic abilities to their highest potential. We do this by teaching in and through the arts.

We teach in our two-year arts high schoolWe also teach through our professional development and resource programs. We support teaching art and arts integration through the extensive arts education material in our library

The center has helped to shape the Minnesota Academic Standards in the Arts K-12, collaborated with the Board of Teaching to develop teaching licenses in the arts areas and provided professional development for teachers around the state so they are able to teach the standards, assess student learning and incorporate community resources into the schools. As a state agency, we work collaboratively with state government, school districts and arts organizations throughout Minnesota and with communities and businesses interested in promoting arts education.

Our work happens on our campus in Golden Valley as well as through our regional centers in Elk River, Albert Lea and Duluth school districts and in individual districts and communities that request our support. We develop and support education in and through the arts because the arts are a driving force in Minnesota’s economy, quality of life and its national and international reputation. Our work increases student performance, raises standardized test scores and leads to a better-educated and innovative workforce to support the continued arts and economic vitality of Minnesota.


Perpich gets results
Our students regularly:
  • have a graduation rate of 94-100%
  • are annually awarded $3-$6 million in scholarships 
  • attend higher educational institutions directly after high school at a rate of 60-65%
In addition, the Perpich Center outreach and professional development programs:
  • have increased student engagement in classrooms 4.4 times over regular classrooms using arts integration
  • are leading the Minnesota Turnaround Arts initiative of the national Turnaround program established by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities
  • strengthen achievement in Minnesota schools by providing teachers with ongoing professional development and updated teacher practices 
  • create sustainable value in local districts by enhancing teacher performance, standards-based learning and providing curriculum resources
  • provide ongoing classes, workshops, consulting services, grants and connections to resources in arts education and core academic subjects 


Arts education in Minnesota is a basic educational right for all Minnesota children—not just the gifted, or the talented or the economically advantaged. It has a very strong grounding in state statutes and rules. Minnesota needs to ensure that equity and access to arts education is available to all Minnesota students.