The Arts Education Partnership (AEP) is an arts education advocacy organization that aims “to provide current and useful information about the field and its developments – its successes and challenges, its connections to other agendas and initiatives, the data we know and the new questions raised” (aep-arts.org) through research, publications, and technology. The organization was originally founded in 1995 as the Goals 2000 Arts Education Partnership in cooperation with the Council of Chief State School Offices, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, The National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Department of Education. Since their founding year, the AEP has formed partnerships with an extensive list of arts and education organizations.
The AEP hosts three forums each year to bring individuals and organizations in the arts education field together to address and discuss important issues and trends affecting arts education policy on both national and state levels. These forums provide an arena for representatives from participating organizations to come together to share information and resources with their state and local constituencies to further their commitment to positioning the arts as an important and central component to American education. Reports from past forums are archived and available on their website.
In addition to these large, national conferences, the AEP also uses technology to its benefit and has developed a variety of communication resources to disperse their research findings and to form partnerships with other arts. The ArtsEd Digest is a biweekly listserv that sends out information about national news, events, conferences, publications, educational opportunities, and research studies in the arts education field. The Critical Link Newsletter is a quarterly newsletter covering current issues in arts education and specifically featuring accomplishments and effective practices from AEP’s partnering organizations. Click here to subscribe to either of these free online resources.
In 1999, the AEP gathered data from state education agencies on state policies and practices in arts education to form the Arts Education State Policy Database. The database provides a summary of state policies and practices in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia on the following topics: arts education mandate, arts education state standards, arts education assessment requirements, arts requirements for high school graduation, arts requirements for college admissions, licensure requirements for non-arts teachers, licensure requirements for arts teachers and continuing education requirements for arts teachers.
The AEP also hosts all of the major publications on arts education issues on their website, including Champions of Change, Critical Links, Critical Evidence, Gaining the Arts Advantage, and more. The sheer volume of resources that the Arts Education Partnership has made available to the general public through their various online communication veins is truly astounding. It is a remarkable way of raising awareness of the issues surrounding policy and practice in arts education. Making such an extensive amount of research, publications and current effective arts education practices available can only help bring about the policy changes arts education advocates are demanding.