Advocacy for the Arts


5 Points for Advancing Art Education

Positive changes in art education require not merely advocacy, but leadership. Leadership inside classrooms, schools, and within the larger context of art education can forward the status of the field. Advancing the field requires an ongoing process of learning and renewal for the art educator.

  1. Every conversation counts: Whether your art program is robust or sparse, YOU are the sole representative of the entire field of art education. Always represent the depth, quality, and rigor of what you do every day. Ambassadorship is a full time job!
  2. Stay aware of the values of every audience: Communicate the importance of art education to in a way that appeals to the values of others.
  3. Develop parent and business community partners: Visibility and professional connections within the community can sustain your programming, lead to additional funding, and support local businesses. Parent involvement, properly organized, can also help elevate your status in the community.
  4. Remember your context: Leadership and advocacy should be sensitive to contextual factors. Challenging context norms without a track record of collaboration and success can be perceived as insensitive and out of touch.
  5. Be an exemplary teacher: Although the visual arts content is unique, good teaching and learning is easily recognized in any content area. There are many perceptions about art education classrooms, all of which you can challenge by demonstrating student learning, sharing well-articulated lesson plans, and structuring an enriching learning experience for students everyday. Involvement in your professional organization and pursuing advanced studies in the field of art education can afford you additional support.

Open Letter to Superintendents, Principals & School Board Members.

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if you are interested in being a part of the Advocacy Task Force, email Josh Shearer –

Please use this template to contact your legislator and invite them to local events.Template Letter to Legislator

IAEA’s Advocacy Task Force

IAEA Advocacy Advisor & South Council Vice President

Josh Shearer
Past Advocacy Advisor & IAEA President-Elect

Michael Skura

Michael Skura
Past IAEA Advocacy Advisor & IHSAE Coordinator

Chris Sykora

Chris Sykora
IAEA Conference Co-Coordinator

Eryn Blaser

Eryn Blaser
IAEA President

Nick Hostert
IAEA Past President, Website Manager & Webinar Coordinator

Theresa McGee
IAEA Vice President & Former Advocacy Advisor

Chris Grodoski
IAEA Professional Development Coordinator & Past President IAEA

Joan Mills

Joan Mills
IAEA Secretary

Jeanette Thompson
Policy & Research Director Art Alliance Illinois

Jonathan VanderBrug
IAEA Membership Coordinator

MacKenzie Powell
IAEA Graphics & Instagram Coordinator

Suzanne Farr
IAEA Member & NE Communications Coordinator

Ingrid Crepas
Youth Art Month Coordinator

Tricia Frost
Mosaic Co-Editor

Jennifer Wargin
Mosaic Co-Editor & Book Study Coordinator

Kerry Parrish
Treasurer/Business Manager

Treasurer/Business Manager
Leadership Mentee 2016,2017

Jamie Glaser
Leadership Mentee 2016,2017

Sherry Abelhado
IAEA Member

Brooke Young
IAEA Member & Angela Paterakis Professor of Art Education Chair

Olivia Gude
IAEA Member

Alicia York
IAEA Member

Whitney Huber
IAEA Member

Lauren Nielson
IAEA Member
Samantha Schultz
IAEA Member
Amanda Bandy

Title 1 Funds can be used toward programing and professional development of arts educators in your school! Learn more and watch video below!

Title 1 and the Arts from Norman Kurtin on Vimeo.

Advocacy Task Force

Back in November of 2012, the IAEA Board approved the Advocacy Task Force. IAEA members answered the call to participate in the Advocacy Task Force was born. Fast forward to 2019 members have connected with over a dozen art and education organizations in Illinois to build an advocacy network. The group’s purpose is to assure all students of Illinois have access to an art education and that it is part of the whole Illinois student.

Currently, we are working on the following:

  • Advocacy Day March 2021
  • 11th One State Together in the Arts Conference 2020!
  • ESSA-The Illinois Arts Indicator Workgroup presented its recommendation to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) that the Fine Arts account for 5% of School Quality scores. Currently, the Fine Arts are included in the Illinois ESSA plan but receive 0% weight in a school’s score.  
    Let ISBE know you support the 5% recommendation.
  • If this plan is approved by ISBE, Illinois will be the first state in the country to include K-12 Fine Arts measures in their ESSA plan.  
  • New Arts and Communication College and Career Pathways Endorsement. This is a unique opportunity to help prepare students for college and career success in the creative sector.
  • Partnering with the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Association of School Administrators, & Illinois Association of School Business Officials to continue moving forward and assuring that the ART’s will be provided to Illinois students.
  • Working with our local lawmakers, representatives, and district school board members to help understand, equip, and empower them how the ARTS can help students be global citizens.
  • Strengthening our partnership with Arts Alliance Illinois, Illinois Music Education Association, Ingenuity, and other organizations that are moving forward the moral value of an ARTS education for all Illinois students.
  • Celebrating and investigating how ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) can positivity reinforce the ARTS. The Illinois State Board of Education has given us the charge to show how the Arts (Visual Arts, Music, Theatre, Dance, & Media Arts) education can and will be offered to all students in the state of Illinois. We will be doing this by gathering data and learning how to assure all Illinois students have access to the ARTS.

YOUR voice is needed!

March 17th, 2021

Learn More

Advocacy Day 2021

One Great State Partnership with SAIC: Supporting Student Artists in Southern Illinois

Learn More about this annual event!

One great state SAIC

Arts Education NavigatorThrough a partnership with Vans Custom Culture, Americans for the Arts has designed the Arts Education Navigator, a series of e-books designed to help educators, students, and advocates navigate the complex field of arts education.

E-Book #1 – Getting Started
E-Book #2 – Facts & Figures
E-Book #3 – Making the Case
E-Book #4 – Mobilizing Support

Advocate for your art program! Use National Art Education Association official position statements to support quality art education in your school or district.