Looking Forward to the Next Act in 2024

By Kathy Dewsbury-White

Setting the stage…

As we move into 2024, we look ahead to the activity and productivity of the MI Arts Education Instruction and Assessment project (MAEIA), but first we remind ourselves why we are propelled to such action. Heather Vaughan-Southard, MAEIA Professional Learning Director says, “The arts are vital for all our students and our future citizens. The arts connect us to ourselves, others, and the world we share.” This sense of ourself and our greater community is top of the list in our reasons for this work. Heather goes on to explain, “Arts education helps us practice emotional regulation, achieve disciplinary literacy and academic achievement, the arts connect us to innovation and creative careers that generate vibrant communities. We see the vision for a creative state, and we believe that is seeded in arts classrooms.” I am happy to describe this vision as we see it unfolding in 2024.

Behind the curtain…

I shared in our last blog post of 2023 that our MAEIA project work is organized into three buckets, activity that:

  1. keeps the existing resources and structures in good working order.
  2. results in new resources and new structures meeting our evolving context.
  3. accounts for the outreach focused on the wildly ambitious and wonderful vision to increase access to quality K-12 arts education for all of Michigan’s children.

In the wings stage left…

In 2024 we look forward to sharing updated and new resources through:

  • Publishing an expanded list of diverse artists whose work may serve as additional prompt material for some of the MAEIA performance assessments. We hope teachers using the assessments will tell us about the prompt material they chose to use and how their students engaged with the material. With an expanded artist list for the MAEIA assessments we are hoping to increase opportunities for students to both see their own cultural identities as well as be exposed to other identities beyond their own. Once published, we envision a living document with regular updates and revisions that continue to capture a wide variety of cultural artistry.
  • Fashioning popular and important workshop topics into new MAEIA Academy Courses. While we engaged with over 600 educators through workshops last year, we understand that the demand exceeds our capacity to always provide in-person engagements. We are eager to supplement in-person engagements with a roster of self-paced virtual courses we are calling the MAEIA Academy. The courses could be used by individual educators seeking SCECH credits or promoted by ISDs and districts seeking to support their arts educators with relevant, high quality professional learning. Further, the content of the courses can support in-person engagements by Regional Arts Education Networks as arts educators across a geographical area assemble to discuss their experiences, building community while they deepen their teaching practices. Look for courses that include topics such as support for early career educators, demonstrating educator effectiveness and advocating for the arts, culturally responsive teaching and assessing through the arts, social-emotional learning in and through the arts, and guidance to develop and use task frames.
  • Offering a collection of MAEIA Fine Arts Tasks designed to engage students in the creative process and incorporate social emotional learning (SEL) components and culturally responsive capacities embedded in the task. It’s Important to note a task frame is the explicit framework used to guide the completion of a task. The guidance and scaffolded tools to complete a task frame are part of the package we are eager to share and receive response to.

In the wings stage right…

In 2024 we anticipate boldly pursing outreach activities to advance our vision.

  • MI Creative Potential, a collective impact initiative was proudly born in 2023. This collective has a big vision to use data collection and strategic partnerships to develop an arts education action agenda to propel us into the future. This agenda will be realized through the Arts Education Regional Networks and the implementation of MAEIA resources. We look forward to providing you with periodic updates about our progress throughout the year.
  • Look for the release of the MI Arts Education K-12 Survey Report 2023-24. Schools across the state answered the call to participate in the Michigan Arts Education K-12 Survey in the late fall of 2023. We are analyzing the data this winter. It has been eleven years since Michigan participated in an Arts Education Census. Our growing coalition of strategic partners stand ready to use the newly collected data to help inform the above mentioned arts education action agenda. While working collectively into the next decade our aim is to increase access to quality arts education programming for all MI students.

Curtain call…

What is most exciting about our future is understanding that our next act relies on public, private, and philanthropic support. This will demand a unity of purpose. If you are reading this blog post, you are mostly likely part of the MAEIA community. I invite you to share the resources, publications, and courses to be released in 2024, and to join us in the outreach and advocacy efforts propelling our future so that together we may engage in the arts to “connect us to ourselves, others, and the world we share.” Happy New Year!


Kathy Dewsbury-White serves the MI Assessment Consortium as current president and CEO. The MAC is the organization commissioned by MDE to develop the rich and robust resources developed through the MAEIA Project for arts educators. Kathy has provided project direction for MAEIA and is a self-described, resource wrangler, and advocate for arts education.



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