National Association of State Directors of Art Education (NASDAE) Column: Feb/Mar 2022

NAEA News Feb/Mar 2022

The columns for this issue of NAEA News were written prior to the 2022 National Convention. As such, you may find information about Convention sessions and references to past occurrences in the future tense.

The Art Education Ecosystem

Art education is driven by powerful connections and partnerships in order to support, advance, and improve art education. It takes partners working together to produce significant results and achieve lofty goals. Like an ecosystem, art education partners are interdependent on the health and vitality of each part of the system. Here are a few of the connected partners that work together to support and advance art education as part of an art education ecosystem:

  • Educators: Educators work in partnership with students, parents, school administrators, and colleagues to implement high-quality instructional programs.
  • Professional Organizations: Professional organizations like NAEA and state chapters of NAEA connect educators with the mission to support, promote, and advance visual arts education through professional development, leadership, research, and service.
  • Local Education Agencies: Local districts/divisions provide leadership for art curriculum development at the school or division level. Many school districts have a dedicated art curriculum specialist, while others rely on a leader who is responsible for a wide variety of district programs.
  • Advocacy Groups: Advocacy organizations and art coalitions monitor proposed legislation, advocate for art education support, and - State Departments of Education: Often, a fine arts program leader will administer the review, revision, and implementation of state standards for art education.

The above list is only the starting point for exploring the many partners in art education. This list could go on to include institutions of higher education, content creators, researchers, superintendents, policy makers, museum educators, textbook companies, school boards, parent organizations, and many more. With so many partners in this work, you can imagine how powerful and important connections are between each of these individual parts of the whole. Real, impactful, and lasting change involves engaging numerous connected partners to reach a desired outcome.

NASDAE Interest Group members are the visual arts program managers for their state departments of education. They are an important part of a connected and thriving arts education ecosystem in their states, and they are always looking for partners in their work. Each of us has a role to play in the advancement and innovation of art education, but our role is connected to the roles of many other individuals and organizations. If you’d like to see progress, change, and advancement of art education in schools, I would encourage you to make as many connections as possible, including connecting to the work of your state department of education through the art education program manager. Check out the state department of education website to find who oversees art programming and see if there is an email list or announcements of opportunities to be involved. Remain informed of work happening in various parts of the art education ecosystem and consider answering the call to serve on committees and respond to calls for action. Long-lasting, systemic improvements can be made by engaging and connecting with numerous partners and stakeholders.

NASDAE looks forward to seeing you at the NAEA National Convention in March 2022! Kelly Bisogno, NASDAE President, will be on-site to collaborate, engage, and connect, or you can reach out to

Kelly Bisogno, NASDAE President
Fine Arts Specialist, Virginia Department of Education.

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