MAEIA: Looking Back

By Kathy Dewsbury-White

Every year I’m invited to write two blog posts, a December “look back” and a January “look forward” for the Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment Project.

Looking Back

2022 marked the ten-year anniversary of this fine project. We celebrated with a MAEIA @ 10! Event at Wharton Center for the Performing Arts with original and early contributors as well as colleagues new to the aim and scope of MAEIA. Our blog editor, Joni Starr, assembled posts throughout the year to organize our voices. The people contributing to the project, using the resources, and carrying the work forward into the next decade tell the story of MAEIA well.

The best way to acknowledge the significant body of work that is MAEIA in 2022 is to let the work speak for itself. For starters, MAEIA offers the most comprehensive suite of arts assessment resources and more:

Additionally, MAEIA has deepened its instructional support for educators, particularly through professional learning in Social Emotional Learning and Culturally Responsive Teaching in and through the arts.

Personal Perspective

Beyond the programmatic work of MAEIA, I recognize that I also continue to benefit and grow professionally from this cat-bird seat, of MAEIA Project Director.

Working with practicing artists who organize and express what the MAEIA project is and is becoming is a strong grounding element for the project and me. This collaboration opens a continuing window into creatives – the way they think and work. In house, our current staff making or presenting art include Heather Vaughan-Southard, Barb Whitney and Joni Starr.  I’ll also add that I appreciate following Ana Cardona, an “original” MAEIA founder because she provides a look into the creative process and product that accounts for her current art making. You can find Ana on social media by making a friend request to Ana Luisa Cardona on Facebook.

Nowhere in my current professional practice do my core values align more closely than with the people and the work achieved through MAEIA. We work from a stance of abundance and the belief that collective impact is moving our work forward.  We are inspired by the partners who have joined us in this work as well as by those we are learning from in the Arts Education Partnership (AEP).  We have approached that sweet spot where the groundwork has been laid and the flywheel is going to catch. Jim Collins popularized the concept of the “flywheel effect.” I’ll use the January 2023 post to illuminate specifics for MAEIA.

Through trials and challenges of the pandemic, we’ve used the circumstances and context to more deeply understand our role, purpose, and the platforms we have to step up and into; and the social justice work that commits us to fully embrace our commitment to quality arts education programs for ALL of our K-12 children. Here are a few statements and posts from the recent past illuminating why we think we need to do better and how we hope to do better for all of us.

Looking back at 2022 and reflecting on our 10 year achievement, I recognize that along the way, the generosity of spirit, depth of patience, and true examples of grace offered by colleagues humble me.

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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