AEC Origin Video Transcript

In 1994, a coalition of national arts education organizations released the first-ever national standards in dance, music, theatre, and visual arts.

Four years later, educators and advocates in the Pittsburgh area organized the Arts Education Congress with teaching artist Eric Booth as keynote speaker. Booth stressed including artists in the discussion. Newly energized, over 300 stakeholders convened and formed a steering committee with the goal of making the arts central to learning. By the end of 1998, their work gave birth to Arts Education Collaborative (AEC).

Dr. Sarah Tambucci began a 17-year tenure as Director of AEC in 2001. AEC’s first discussions centered on strategy, the external environment, and school districts’ needs. AEC researched policy and conducted over 100 interviews to learn more about arts education in the region and compiled a report.

This formed the strategic foundation on which AEC built its work:

  1. All stakeholders needed to be involved to make arts education better;
  2. Research, evaluation, and time for iteration would give AEC’s work rigor and strength;
  3. Schools needed standards-based curriculum to ensure quality learning, and
  4. Educators needed advocacy tools to make their programs flourish.

These four priorities—Resources, Research and Evaluation, District Infrastructure and Support, and Professional Learning—continue to form the basis for AEC’s work.

Starting in 2003, AEC began to publish several resources. These included the Parent Handbook on advocating for children’s creativity; the Frameworks series on standards-based planning; the Arts Ed Briefs, summarizing arts education trends, and Back-to-School Toolkits, for educators and administrators.

As one of its first actions, AEC built a liaison network to establish two-way communication between AEC and personnel in every district and many arts organizations in Allegheny County. With this network in place, AEC began to survey educators in 2002 regarding their professional learning needs. Hiring a manager of research and evaluation further strengthened AEC’s capacity to embrace a data-based approach.

AEC’s early involvement with the Mount Lebanon and Wilkinsburg School Districts uncovered a strong need for standards-based arts curriculum in schools. Work with the RAND Corporation and Pittsburgh Public Schools in 2007 formed the basis for school district self-assessment. AEC introduced City as Classroom in 2013 and began assisting districts with student assessment planning in 2016.

Over 150 participants have graduated from Leadership Academy since 2003. AEC has hosted Regional Arts Education Day since 2004. The Community of Learners for Arts Education (CLAE) program for administrators began in 2011. AEC started an Induction program in 2015 to supplement district induction programs for new arts educators.

We welcome you to browse our programs and see how AEC can support you. Together, we can make the arts central to learning.

williamscAEC Origin Video Transcript