Mary Dell’Erba

As a senior project manager for the Arts Education Partnership, Mary oversees project work plans and supports the development of AEP deliverables. Prior to joining Education Commission of the States, she worked for the Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance, where she served in a variety of capacities in programming, administration and policy. With over 20 years of dance training, Mary is passionate about the arts and education. Mary can be reached at
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All blog posts

What the NAEP Results Mean for Arts Education
Mary Dell’Erba
23 November 2022

Since the release of the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) results, countless articles and analyses have revealed the same troubling trend: reading and math scores declined at an alarming […]

What do personalized, competency-based learning and arts education have in common?
Mary Dell’Erba
02 March 2022

A powerful arts education, as defined by the Hewlett Foundation, inspires students to bring their full selves and their communities to the learning space and invites students to make choices […]

AEP is Celebrating National STEM/STEAM Day!
Mary Dell’Erba
02 November 2021

Happy National STEM/STEAM Day from your friends at the Arts Education Partnership and Education Commission of the States! For those who may not be familiar, when science, technology, engineering and […]

A Look Behind the Scenes of the 2021 AEP Virtual Gathering
Mary Dell’Erba
26 July 2021

The Arts Education Partnership team is hard at work preparing for the second ever Virtual Gathering on September 14-15, 2021. Our team of 22+ AEP and ECS staff, advisory council […]

Advancing Governors’ 2021 Priorities Through the Arts
Mary Dell’Erba
22 April 2021

Each year, Education Commission of the States tracks and analyzes trends in education priorities from governors’ State of the State addresses. In 2021, the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic were […]

Title: 2280 Pasos Bajo un Cielo Nublado | Artist: Hernán Jourdan | Medium: Film

When I was asked to create a work of art exploring literacy, I wanted to create a dance but I had no dancers or a studio, so I chose to use my own body in the space I had, my yard. Fluent Nature is video of micro-choreography that explores what cannot be expressed with words, how nature has its own language, and how placing the human body in nature changes the story.

Title: What Is Me and What Is Not Me | Artist: Alex Chadwell | Medium: Music

My thinking on arts and literacy centers around the concept of literacies and artmaking as both sense-making and meaning-making processes that organically and inevitably overlap, intersect, and reciprocate. Compositionally, What is me and what is not me is a sound collage of sorts (there is no notation for the piece, and I'd be hard pressed to recreate it accurately) that abstractly and aurally represents the relationships between literacies and artmaking.

Title: A Curious Honeybee | Artist: Gideon Young | Medium: Film

Offering welcome through traditional and digital elements of literacy, A Curious Honeybee provides an experiential learning environment by activating visual, musical, natural, and emotional literacies.

Title: Tercera Llamada | Artist: Karilú Forshee | Medium: Audio

La Carpa Theatre is a project that I am currently directing in the Detroit Latinx community. The project aims to strengthen and uplift youth voices through devised theatre, in the style of the Mexican Carpas. This audio was created in the theatrical environment envisioned for our project. The ways in which literacies are re-defined are at the heart of La Carpa Theatre's mission.

Title: Literaseas | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite and ink on paper with digital edits

Title: A Riddle | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits

Title: False Binaries | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits