Brazil's Evolution of Art in Education


Art education in Brazil is an issue that has transformed over time, encouraging students to produce individualistic art and incorporating art in teaching other subjects.

There are twenty-six States and a Federal District in Brazil, each with its own history, culture and references.  Art education, in public or private school, kindergarten, elementary and high school, is guided by a common base and complemented by regional characteristics.

brazil state map

Brazilian law mandates art education be taught elementary through high school and include music, dance, performing and visual arts – often using the core curriculum teachers to do so.  As a result, art is often used to instruct other school subjects. 

Despite being compulsory in the curriculum, generally art education is not depicted as very important for the formation of future generations. The problem, according to teachers and influencers, is the lack of incentive and recognition in the professional area of art and culture.

Saci Perere

Until recently, the tasks of art education in schools were based on playback” - the content of the lessons were delivered to the students to repeat the exercises proposed by their teachers.  Incentives for students at kindergarten and elementary levels happens by including elements of Brazilian folklore: Saci Perere and the Headless Mule, the legends told for generations, are always present. All children know these stories and use them to build on their artistic goals.


[Although folklore works to inspire, schools, specifically in the case of infant and primary education, ask parents not to buy supplies inspired by cartoons because many students in art class deface the cover of their exercise books  with copied illustrations. ]

National and international references are also present in their classroom work, with the reproduction of famous artists like Da Vinci, Botticelli, Fernando Botero being continually quoted and copied.  Scaled models are created to teach students not only the art form, but using the art to teach geography (the regional location of the artist{s}), and encourage the students to study these locations as well as their own local communities.

Work materials are now more diverse.  Students work with everything reusable (shoe boxes, sticks, caps, PET bottles, etc.) to teach them sustainability concepts and care for the environment. Depending on the size and school space, arts education classes are also taught outdoors, with nature as an inspiration.

brazilian crafts

Many Brazilian schools are adopting other systems to engage students creatively, like using music instead of a beep to call students to and from classrooms.  Songs are played during the entrance and exit of class. Depending on the week, there may be a theme, or varied compositions depending on the coursework studied. For example classic cinema, classical music and even rock are played.

Art education transpires with visits to museums and art installations, something away from school, so that they can understand more about cultural works and their meanings.  Many schools invite into the classroom painters, sculptors, musicians, and other artists to talk about their work and encourage children and adolescents to continue creating this universe and become, in the future, influencers and disseminators.

brazil students in museum

It is clear that what is modern and current can be introduced in several ways.  Today changes are being made so that copied illustrations and repetitive exercises are slowly becoming less of a way to encourage content creation.  Generally, the goal of Brazilian art education is that the content cherishes not only the artistic knowledge, but the aesthetic as well, and not only the individual, but a collective.