News Release from Arts|Learning: Major Advances for Massachusetts Arts Education!

State education leaders praised for adopting measures to increase arts access and visibility

BOSTON, March 29, 2017-The Arts for All Coalition today praised the state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for adopting new guidelines that will prioritize arts education for students across the Commonwealth. The new guidelines were written in response to a new federal law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which emphasizes every student’s access to a well-rounded education, including the arts.

Under the new DESE plan, every school district will report arts education access and participation data on their school and district “report cards.” This will give transparency to parents, students, and communities as to the status of arts education in every community in Massachusetts. State education leaders have also committed to revising the Arts Curriculum Framework, which was last amended in 1999. Curriculum frameworks are the guides districts and schools use to develop local curricula and to determine a quality education in each subject area.

“Business leaders consistently report that new hires are lacking in creativity, innovation, and other 21st-century skills that the arts help to develop, so we’re proud to see Massachusetts leading on this front,” said Arts|Learning Executive Director, Jonathan Rappaport. “These new guidelines will ensure that arts education is something that is necessary for every district and school in the state.”

Passed by Congress in late 2015 with overwhelming bipartisan support, ESSA includes instruction in the arts in the federal definition of a “well-rounded education.” In preparation for implementation of ESSA for the 2017-18 academic year, each state must revise its accountability plan for school districts to reflect this new definition. In addition to test scores, accountability standards must include other indicators of school quality, such as measures of participation in arts instruction.

DESE officials spent 10 months researching district needs for the new guidelines and meeting with key stakeholders. The Arts for All Coalition, which consists of MASSCreative, Arts|Learning, Edvestors, Boston Public Schools, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Young Audiences of Massachusetts, MassINC, and Project LEARN-Lowell, engaged in the process providing research and public input on the importance of arts education in a well-rounded education. One of the state’s educational challenges identified during this process was that six percent of elementary students (over 35,000 students!) and 50 percent of high school students do not have the opportunity to engage in quality arts instruction.

2017 Youth Art Month | Boston United Through Art

State Transportation Building | Boston, MA

February 13 – March 30, 2017

Don’t miss the opportunity that a statewide exhibit offers! In 2016 MAEA’s Statewide Exhibit featured close to 900 works representing approximately eighty communities and was viewed by thousands of people! Make sure your school is represented in 2017! Drop-off sites for artwork will be available across the state.

Click here for more information.

SISAL Member School Art Exhibit

The 2017 SISAL member schools’ art exhibit will be held at The Carroll School in Lincoln in May 2017. The exhibition will be up and open to the public May 1 – May 5, 2017 from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Awards and take down will be on Sunday, May 7 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Downloads including submission instructions, inventory form, and entry form are in a zip file – click here.

For more information, please contact Diane Francis –

Elections: Congratulations to…

Newly Filled Positions

All positions start January 1, 2017

  • Laura Marotta – President
  • Melissa Hayes – President-Elect
  • Helen Downey – Treasurer
  • Mary Geisser – Early Childhood Representative
  • Billy Claire -Independent Schools Representative
  • Sheila Tetler- Retired Representative
  • Erin Sutton – Special Needs Representative
  • Jessica Sassaman – Elementary Representative
  • Carolann Tebbetts – Secondary Schools Representative
  • Liz Rudnick Reiser – Awards Committee Chair
  • Amy Briggs – Museum Representative

Open positions: NAHS, Higher Education, Pre-service, Exhibitions Committee Chair, Secretary.

Description of all positions are in the bylaws.

Art All-State 2017

The Massachusetts Art Education Association and CVPA at UMass Dartmouth are proud to announce that Art All-State Massachusetts will celebrate its 30th year in 2017.

The application portal is now open – go to the Art All-State page for complete information – click here.

Each school and/or program may nominate two high school juniors.

Important Dates
January 31: Application Materials Due
March 10 and 17: Student Interviews
June 9 and 10: Art All-State

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact
or call 508.999.9204

AANEPS Exhibit at Lesley University i-den-ti-ty

Lesley University’s College of Art and Design is currently hosting an exhibition of artwork by students who attend schools associated with AANEPS. The exhibition includes work by roughly 120 students from thirteen different preparatory schools — including St. Marks, Thayer Academic, BB&N, Milton Academy, Winsor School, etc. For this project, the students were asked to produce work that explored the concept of “identity.” Needless to say, the results are both interesting and compelling!

Continue Reading


I hope you are looking forward to the first weekend in December. The invitation linked below has all the details of this year’s ISAIA conference. This is going out exactly one month from the deadline, but please do not hesitate to send your confirmation in early.

A glimpse of what is in store can be seen on the conference website – click here – but again the included invite/letter speaks to occasion directly.

Questions / comments?

I’d love to hear from you,


Scot J. Wittman – ISAIA co-President / Rutgers Preparatory School –

Bill Hardy – ISAIA co-President / Millbrook School

Ian Torney – ISAIA 2016 Site Director / Milton Academy

Remembering John Michael Gray

Dear MAEA Members,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you this afternoon regarding the unfortunate passing of John Michael Gray.

As the founding father and committed member of MAEA for approximately 40 years, John Michael certainly wore many hats serving tirelessly as Treasurer, President, Conference Coordinator, and Exhibitions Director.

With his long time partner and husband, Timothy O’Connor, the “Hat Sisters” have made a substantial and lasting impact on the art education and LGBTQ community across the state. Their dedication to advocating on behalf of art education is truly unmatched.

For those of us who have been working with John Michael on the Board and through various projects over the years, we will certainly miss his positive, upbeat personality and wonderful calming demeanor. As our unofficial MAEA historian, we valued his insight, advice and guidance in all Board activities. Among his many legacies, John Michael and Tim O’Connor co-directed the Scholastic Art Awards celebrating the creative achievements of our students and provided professional development for our educators through directing the New England Art Education Conference for many years.

As we receive additional information regarding the arrangements and services we will be sure to forward along. If you have the means, please consider donating to the GoFundMe page set up by a family friend to assist with medical expenses – click here.

We are still planning to complete the book for both Tim and John Michael and will present it to Tim at an appropriate time. If you would like to submit a page for the book the deadline for receiving artwork has been extended to October 20. We have many ideas as to how we can best honor John Michael’s memory and commemorate the founding father of MAEA. If you have any ideas, please let us know as we are committed to honoring both John Michael and Tim in the future.

Our most sincere and heartfelt sympathies to his husband Timothy O’Connor and family.

With deep sympathy,

Kristi Oliver
MAEA President, on behalf of the MAEA Board of Directors

Continue Reading