Dr. Penny Wallin, Executive Director

Dr. Penny Wallin,
Executive Director

Dear MAAE Membership,

Happy Spring!
The arts are alive in the budding trees, the chirping birds, and the flowering wisteria and azaleas. Colors, sounds, textures, and smells surround us as nature’s testimony to our belief that
Arts Are Core!

I have just returned from giving three presentations with an MSU colleague at the International Conference on Scholastic Inquiry in San Francisco and at the National Field Experience Conference in Denver. In these sessions, I was privileged to share the MAAE message of ‘artful thinking’ through arts-in-education with administrators and teachers worldwide.Responses were very positive, and participants were eager to hear how Mississippi supports and trains educators to use the arts for deep understanding in all academics, as well as in leadership. It was validating to discover that the focus on 21st century strategies for student success makes our advocacy work as an Alliance even more essential to the conversation.

The Common Core Standards guide the curriculum development and instructional practices that lead to literacy in English, Language Arts, and Math, just as the National Core Arts Standards are guiding practices that lead to arts literacy for all students.

In the words of Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Education, “Arts education remains critical to leveling the playing field of opportunity”. Then I arrived home to find Tom Pearson’s letter in the MAC April ARTicles newsletter. He wrote

Do all students in my community have access to a sequential, quality arts education?Since Governor Bryant has declared 2014 as The Year of the Creative Economy, it is my hope that we all can focus on the important role that arts education plays in that equation.

Indeed, the MAAE path is clearer than ever and our calendar shows just that.

With Spring upon us, let us use the promise of possibilities to commit to MAAE’s focus on Literacy through Arts projects, Professional Development opportunities, and Growth and Celebration of Arts-in-Education, as we take a stand with Governor Bryant that 2014 is the Year of the Creative Economy.