Advocacy Column: Winter 2023

NAEA News Winter 2023

Arts Education Advocacy Resources

Arts education is recognized as an important part of every learner’s education, and ongoing efforts have been made to identify and promote the benefits of the arts. NAEA has worked collaboratively with organizations and legislators at the local, state, and federal levels to advocate for arts education for all learners and will share updates on current efforts and legislation proposed at the federal and state level that impacts educators, as well as identifying organizations that provide services and information for our members.

For this first column on advocacy, we thought a listing of some organizations and resources would be a great starting point for our members to learn more about and find some tools to support them in their own advocacy efforts. We also know that there are many amazing members doing this work at the state level already, and we encourage you to connect with your state art education association leadership for more individualized resources and tools.

A brief overview of some national-level partners and organizations:

Arts Education Partnership
The Arts Education Partnership (AEP) is a national network of more than 200 organizations dedicated to advancing arts education. Founded in 1995, it was established as a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Department of Education, and now functions under the auspices of the Education Commission of the States.

The AEP is the nation’s hub for arts and education leaders, building their leadership capacity to support students, educators, and learning environments. Through research, reports, convenings, and counsel, leaders gain knowledge and insights to ensure that all learners receive an excellent arts education.

One of the amazing tools it hosts is the ArtScan, a clearinghouse of state policies supporting arts education throughout the country.

Americans for the Arts
Americans for the Arts (AFTA) works to build recognition and support for the value of the arts and to lead, serve, and advance the diverse networks of organizations and individuals who cultivate the arts in America. As a national leader in promoting the value of the arts in our society, AFTA connects thought leaders and advocates from the arts, business, and government to build access to the arts for all. It has created strong advocacy tools based on data and research and host a variety of resources on its Advocate Hub and at its Arts Mobilization Center.

Arts ARE Education Campaign
Arts ARE Education is a national campaign in support of arts education for all students. The campaign believes that all preK–12 students have the right to a high-quality school-based arts education in dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts taught by certified professional arts educators in partnership with community arts providers. The National Coalition for Arts Standards (NCAS) is the sponsoring organization of the Arts ARE Education initiative. Founded in 2011, NCAS is an alliance of leading national arts and arts education organizations, dedicated to the work of creating and supporting national arts standards.

Check out Arts ARE Education Action Center for links and resources you can utilize to support the arts in schools, as well as updates on legislation. Particularly of note is the Advocacy Toolkit, with arts education talking points and sample letters to use in correspondence with school boards, families, legislators, and more!

We will also share current legislation that is in process at the national level. Of note currently is the Arts Education for All Act, which was reintroduced by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D) of Oregon and cosponsored by Representatives Chellie Pingree (D) of Maine and Teresa Leger Fernández (D) of New Mexico. The Arts Education for All Act will help close gaps in access to arts education by supporting and encouraging arts education and programming for young children, K–12 students, and youth and adults involved in the criminal justice system.

Finally, to provide some inspiration and hope for our work, we leave you with this link to a conversation with Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten as she discusses the importance of a well-rounded education and the vital role that the arts play in this. Leaders around the country are advocates for the value of arts education, and NAEA members can play an important role in elevating our fight to provide a comprehensive arts education to ALL learners.

Column by:

Ray Yang, Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (ED&I) and Special Initiatives
NAEA, 901 Prince St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Email:

Explore More