To Our Members:
It is not usually our practice to comment on current events. We recognize that our members come from all over the world, from all kinds of academic homes, and we do not wish to take stances that undercut or exclude anyone who belongs to AAAE. Moreover, while we serve people from all over the world, most of them live and work in the United States. Even though that is the case, we strive to avoid seeing things from a predominantly-U.S. perspective.
However, given the series of events in the United States this past week, we did not want to go any longer without stating that we believe that AAAE’s diversity is our strength, and we know that the arts are for everyone. We believe that all people–regardless of their country of origin or their personal beliefs–can be in closer touch with their own humanity when they engage in artistic practice or encounter an artistic experience. You work every day to build the cadre of professionals that makes these moments possible, and your impact on the arts through that work is profound.
We believe in global exchange. Cross-cultural connection and dialogue has been a key part of AAAE’s staff and board work for the last several years. We are grateful to be in close partnership with colleagues in Canada, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, China, Germany, and others around the world. We stand alongside our members who may be impacted–directly or indirectly–by the latest Executive Order issued by President Trump. The Trump administration’s actions do not represent the majority opinion in the United States, and many Americans are individually contacting elected officials, peacefully protesting, and working to change the course the country has been placed on by these policies.
We believe in government support for the arts at the national and local levels, including funding. To that end we will be partnering with Americans for the Arts’ Arts Advocacy Day as a National Partner for the fourth year in a row. Materials from AAAE will be in the Arts Advocacy Day briefing books that are issued to each member of Congress as a part of that day’s proceedings. In this way and in others, we will stand alongside you in urging the United States government to continue to value and support the arts.
At our last meeting, the board of directors began drafting a values statement for the organization. It is not finalized, but given current events we wanted to let you know that it is under development. Once complete, this statement will articulate the characteristics we try to embody as an organization, and the core values we seek to uphold as we serve our members. AAAE believes in intellectual and cultural diversity, advocating on behalf of our institutions and programs, critical dialogue, innovation and agility, and more. We are looking forward to finalizing a statement that says so in a formal and unequivocal way.
Thank you for contributing to the strong and vibrant fabric of the AAAE membership. Please know that we stand with you in navigating the uncertainty imposed by this new administration. These are unprecedented times and we are more grateful than ever to be among such esteemed colleagues.
The AAAE Staff and Board of Directors
Sherburne Laughlin, President
Kevin Maifeld, Vice President
David Edelman, Treasurer
Travis Newton, Secretary
Le Moyne College
Arizona State University
Carnegie Mellon University
University of Kentucky
The Hong Kong Institute of Education
University of Wisconsin, Bolz Center for Arts Administration
ex-officio, Immediate Past President
University of Antwerp
ex-officio, ENCATC Board President