AIEA is a non-profit organization whose sole mission is to provide comprehensive arts education professional development services to schools throughout Alabama. Our philosophy is that all children, not just the gifted and talented, benefit from an intensive study of the arts and are entitled to that opportunity.
Comprehensive arts education is not a curriculum but rather a method of teaching and learning, focusing on the inquiry method that emphasizes creative and higher order thinking skills, requiring students to analyze, synthesize, explain, justify and make critical judgments about the work being studied.
AIEA was founded in 1995 by a consortium of the Southeast Center for Education in the Arts, a satellite of the J.Paul Getty Education Foundation, the Selma City Schools and the Saint James Independent School. AIEA was recognized in Gaining the Arts Advantage: Lessons From School Districts That Value Arts Education, published by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the Arts Education Partnership.
The Institute has grown from this visionary partnership into a statewide provider of quality professional development for teachers and administrators in multi-arts education. Participation in the Institute’s programs has continued to expand and now includes teachers and principals from all areas of Alabama and surrounding states, from schools in all socioeconomic groups, and from all curricular areas—generalists as well as specialists. Major funding for the Institute’s work has come from the public as well as from the private sector. In 2007, 2008 and again in 2009 the Dana Foundation awarded a grant to the Institute for training Dana Teaching Artists to work in schools in Alabama’s Black Belt and other rural counties.