Our History

AEP was established in 1995 through a unique inter-agency agreement between the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Department of Education, an agreement that has continued unabated since that year. Education Commission of the States and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA)—the two preeminent national organizations representing state level education and the arts respectively—worked in cooperation with the two federal agencies to administer the Partnership.

The founding partner organizations guided the vision and mission of the organization, and determined AEP’s strategic priorities. It also helped develop internal policies for AEP operations. They continue to garner community support for key AEP initiatives and promote AEP as the nation’s “hub” for individuals and organizations committed to making high-quality arts education accessible to all U.S. students.