October 3, 2016

National Arts and Education Leaders to Meet in Denver This Week

(Denver, Colo.) – Nearly 200 arts and education experts will convene in downtown Denver this week for the 2016 Arts Education Partnership (AEP) National Forum: The Arts Leading the Way to Student Success.

The Forum, being held at the Curtis Hotel, brings together arts and education leaders from across the country to explore arts-centered solutions aimed at ensuring America’s youth graduate high school prepared for college, careers and citizenship.

A center within Education Commission of the States, AEP is a national coalition of organizations dedicated to advancing the arts in education through research, policy and practice. AEP serves as the nation’s hub for individuals and organizations committed to making high-quality arts education accessible to all U.S. students, improving arts education practice, and researching how art influences and strengthens American education.

“We are so excited to host the 2016 AEP National Forum here in Denver. This city has a  thriving arts culture and it serves as the perfect backdrop for  attendees to explore new research,  effective practices and  important education policy implications,” said AEP Director, Jane R. Best.

The two-day forum includes an opening keynote address on Thurs., Oct. 6 from best-selling author and artist Austin Kleon and a closing keynote address on Fri., Oct. 7 from Paula Kerger, president and chief executive officer of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

On Wed., Oct. 5, attendees will enjoy an opening reception at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House prior to learning about Denver’s civic and creative partnerships during a plenary conference session the following day. On Thurs., Oct. 6, Denver’s First Lady, Mary Louise Lee, will greet attendees and introduce the local student musical group El Mariachi Juvenil de Bryant Webster. The forum program features the artwork of a Lakewood, Colo., high school student, Xan McPherson, who will receive the 2016 Young Artist Award during the event.

“We often see gaps in access to arts education in our communities and the work of these experts is essential to move the needle forward in fighting for equity and access to a well- rounded education for our young people,” said Mary Louise Lee.

To see the full agenda for the 2016 Arts Education Partnership National Forum, please click here. For more information, please contact Education Commission of the States Communications Director Amy Skinner at or (303) 299.3609.