In response to growing concern about the diminishing quality of and equity of access to arts education in Maryland’s public schools, the Maryland State Arts Council, in partnership with the Maryland State Department of Education, formed the Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS) Alliance in June 1992. Several beliefs inspired this effort: the importance of cultural literacy in teaching and learning; the arts’ intrinsic value in childhood development; and the ability to enhance learning and create positive school environments. In order to expand the scope of its activities, AEMS was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) Maryland non-profit organization in November 1997.
AEMS facilitates improving the quality of, and access to, arts education for all Maryland public school students through an array of interrelated strategies including supporting arts education policy and advocacy efforts, developing partnerships with schools and school systems, disseminating information, convening the fields of arts and education, organizing focused task forces, offering professional development for teachers and artists, providing technical assistance through research and evaluation tools, and hosting recognition programs.
AEMS accomplishes its mission through collaborations with the Maryland State Department of Education, the Maryland State Arts Council, school systems, arts organizations, institutions of higher education, and other arts and educational institutions. For over twenty years AEMS has garnered national attention by impacting local and state policies and implementing high-quality arts programs that have affected children in every public school in Maryland.