Throughout time, the arts have been essential to human existence. The arts enrich quality of life. All students deserve access to the arts through creation, performance and study. The new Illinois Learning Standards for fine arts are intended to reflect best practices and address the curricular areas of visual arts, music, theater, dance and media arts. Standards under each of these curricular areas emphasize learning through the artistic process. Four artistic processes are addressed in the standards: creating, performing/producing/presenting, responding, and connecting. Further, the standards are organized around both enduring understandings and essential questions to help both educators and students focus on the significant "big ideas" within the fine arts.