Welcome to the Arts Education PartnershipJBest (AEP) website. AEP is a national network of organizations dedicated to advancing the arts in education through research, policy and practice. AEP’s vision is that every student in America succeeds in school, work and life as a result of a high-quality education in and through the arts.

In late 2015, the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Department of Education selected Education Commission of the States to serve as the new host organization for AEP. As a center within Education Commission of the States, AEP benefits from the exemplary reach and access the organization has to a wide-range of education stakeholders across the nation. We build on AEP’s 21-year legacy by providing partner organizations and the arts education community with the knowledge, tools and resources they need to elevate the narrative toward realizing our collective goals for the arts in education.

Research continues to shed light on how the arts are making a difference in not only improving academic performance and nurturing creativity, but also in fostering personal development – we are counting on both the arts and education communities to engage, take action and share promising practices for advancing student success though the arts.

Passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) presents renewed opportunity to highlight the importance of the arts as part of a well-rounded education. ESSA also brings great possibilities to AEP’s ongoing effort to leverage success stories across arts disciplines on how the arts contribute to academic achievement.

I encourage you to download The Arts Leading the Way to Student Success: A 2020 Action Agenda for Advancing the Arts in Education. This 2020 Action Agenda serves as the blueprint for the collective work for AEP and identifies four priority areas in which arts and education leaders can situate their work:

  • Raise Student Achievement and Success.
  • Support Effective Educators and School Leaders.
  • Transform the Teaching and Learning Environment.
  • Build Leadership Capacity and Knowledge.

While visiting the AEP website, I hope you take the time to explore the many resources available that AEP offers, such as the ESSA and the Arts page, a compilation  of resources from the field and across AEP partner organizations, ArtScan, a 50-state database of arts education policies and ArtsEdSearch, a clearinghouse of research on the benefits of arts in education for both students and educators. Visit the publications page where you will find a variety of resources on the arts in education, all downloadable at no cost. Stay tuned to the ArtsEd Digest for updates on the work of AEP and its partner organizations. Finally, AEP welcomes the opportunity for you to connect with us, share your arts education endeavors and let us know how we all might benefit from one another’s meaningful work.

It is an exciting time for the arts in education!


Jane R. Best, Ph.D.
Director, Arts Education Partnership