MAEIA Partners and Friends: Shared Values, Shared Resources

By Barb Whitney

You may already know MAEIA’s framework of supporting Michigan school districts, buildings, educators, and the public in implementing high-quality arts education programs in dance, music, theatre, and visual arts for all K-12 students. We help K-12 schools assess and improve student learning, support teacher effectiveness, and enhance arts education programs.

You may not know how many partners and friends join us in this work. MAEIA depends upon many statewide partners to share our resources and create a community of practice as we help people understand the value of arts education.

It is my joy to serve as the Partners Coordinator for MAEIA. In this role, I am honored to work with dedicated colleagues who value a shared vision of supporting high-quality arts education at local, state, regional, and national levels. These groups and individuals serve as forward-thinking arts ambassadors promoting innovation in arts education. So, you can likely imagine why I am delighted to coordinate our current partners and friends. They are:

  • Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs
  • State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education + New Jersey
  • New Hampshire Department of Education
  • Arts Education Partnership
  • Michigan Youth Arts
  • Michigan Dance Council
  • Peckham
  • Culture Source
  • Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association.

Our partners and friends often inspire one another with exciting news, and we’re eager to share! For example, in 2021 Culture Source will host a series of online sessions supporting digital access to the arts, and Programs Manager Adam Desjardins has invited MAEIA’s Professional Learning Director Heather Vaughan-Southard to moderate an arts education panel with national panelists on Thursday, March 18, 2021. Save the date!

Arts education is compelling work, and our partners support one another. They celebrate successes, navigate challenges, and work together toward advocacy efforts for arts education. As an example of mutual partner benefit, Emily Chase from Peckham has offered her expertise to increase inclusion of people with disabilities in community arts education partners’ work. Also, she has been an integral part of MAEIA’s Better Together in the Arts program.

It’s also a small thrill each time I hear of our partners offering their constituents professional learning opportunities on MAEIA’s comprehensive set of arts education assessment: The Michigan Blueprint for High-Quality Arts Education; Research and Recommendations on Arts Education; the Arts Education Program Review Tool; 360 performance assessments in Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts; learning to use the Michigan-Collaborative Scoring System; Edupaths courses, Demonstrating Educator Effectiveness (DEE) videos, and more.

We share a vision with our partners for improved professional practice and demonstrated teacher effectiveness in the arts, as well as authentic assessment of student performance. Collectively, we advocate for the arts within a well-rounded education, because we wholeheartedly believe in the value they provide for students, schools, and communities. Our partners and friends champion arts education every step of the way.

Are you interested in becoming a MAEIA partner or friend? I would love to talk with you. If your organization is committed to our shared vision, you might be a great fit! You can contact me at or call me at (517) 883-1435.

Barb Whitney serves as MAEIA Partners Coordinator and is the Executive Director for Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center. She brings a wide range of professional experiences gained through exploration of career roles that include educator, administrator, visual artist, researcher, and arts advocate.

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