Plans include a pan-BBC Poetry season and an ambitious aim to put each of the 200,000 oil paintings in public ownership in the UK on the internet.
Mr Thompson outlined the corporation's commitment to the arts in 2009 and beyond during a speech in London.
The BBC has a "special responsibility" to culture in the UK, he said.
"We are not only reaffirming our commitment to arts, but we're announcing a series of measures that will put this relationship on an even stronger footing," he said.
"Through innovative new partnerships, I believe the BBC can deliver big, bold arts programming that is accessible, distinctive and enjoyable."