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The National Art Education Association or NAEA was founded in 1947 and has become the world’s largest professional art education association with over twenty thousand active members. It is focused on visual arts educators. The NAEA defines the visual arts as traditional fine arts like drawing, painting and photography as well as more modern arts like graphic design and animation. It also includes landscape design, interior design, environmental design, ceramics, jewelry, paper craft and a number of other types of art.
Membership in the National Art Education Association
Association members include K-12 art teachers, university professors and university students who plan to become art educators. Membership is open to art museum educators, non-art educators, researchers, scholars, school administrators, teaching artists, general artists and retirees.
Students can be members of the National Art Honor Society. (There are over 2,000 National Art Honor Society chapters.) Student IDs are required to join as a student, and student chapters require a sponsor member. The NAEA has members in all fifty states, several Canadian provinces, many U.S. military bases and 25 foreign countries.
What Does the National Art Education Association Do?
The NAEA holds annual conventions for art educators and gives an Art Educator of the Year award at that time. The annual convention is usually held in March and changes locations around the nation to give members across the US an opportunity to attend. Local artists’ workshops, seminars, state level conventions and artist lectures are held throughout the year. Many state associations arrange tours of art galleries and museums.
The National Art Education Association along with the Art and Creative Materials Institute sponsors Youth Art Month each March. Thousands of schools participate, as do many art museums nationwide. Youth Art Month has been managed by the Council for Art Education since 1984.
National Art Education Association Publications
The National Art Education Association publishes two main publications: Art Education and the Studies in Art Education. Art Education is the official journal of the NAEA and is published bi-monthly. Each issue contains an instructional resource article. Copies of the NAEA News newsletter are included with this full color print magazine and sent in addition to digital versions of the publication the five times a year the NAEA News comes out.
Studies in Art Education is a quarterly journal that focuses on the more theoretical aspects of art education such as anthropology, psychology, sociology, philosophy, human development, art theory, art criticism and art history. This is the publication where research papers suitable for academic conferences are printed and shared. NAEA members receive discounts on the subscriptions to these publications.
NAEA Advisory is a short, electronic only publication that translates the research and theory in Studies in Art Education into action for educators such as instruction recommendations, advice on classroom management, art class assessment methods, classroom organization and incorporating National Visual Arts Standard into local and state standards. Content in the NAEA Advisory is often written by K-12 teachers for K-12 teachers.
NAHS is the newsletter for the National Art Honor Society. It comes out twice a year in January and May with news on student chapter activities, artwork by students, award winners and financial aid information.
The NAEA prints a number of texts suitable for use as art class textbooks. You can also submit a book proposal to them for potential publication through the group.
National Art Education Association Dues
NAEA dues for national membership are universal, but many state associations of the NAEA maintain a dues collection arrangement with the national organization; for these groups, the NAEA collects national and state dues and then gives the state associations the money. These state association dues vary from state to state. It is recommended to join the state association for where you work or teach, since the group is focused on professional education and networking.
NAEA and Continuing Education
The NAEA does not offer continuing educational units (CEU) for teachers because it is not an educational accreditation organization like the National Association of Schools of Art and Design or National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Members can get professional development certificates for attending NAEA events and request credit be given by their accrediting organization for continuing educational credit. Note that you do not have to be a member of the NAEA to be certified as an art teacher.
The National Art Education Association considers the visual arts to be a core subject, a view shared by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 that classified art as a core academic subject, a position the law never revised in its many renewals. It has taken the position that visual literacy (the ability to effectively use your brain and think, focus, process, create, present and communicate with the visual arts) should be part of Common Core curriculum’s goals.
The National Art Education Association also advocates for increased funding of art education whether in preschools or colleges. It sees art museums as an integral part of art education for students. The NAEA has taken positions on censorship, fine arts as a graduation requirement, art teacher evaluations, collaborative research, art competitions and a host of other topics.
We recommend that art educators engage with cultural organizations. It has pushed for the inclusion of “art” in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to create STEAM. The STEAM or science, technology, engineering, art and math educational approach infuses art and design principles into STEM lessons. In STEAM, art is equal to the other components.
The NAEA believes that students benefit from a comprehensive, broad and sequential learning in the visual arts taught by qualified art instructors. It believes that students who are given a strong arts based education are more creative than those who do not. It seeks to expand arts education and offers a number of grants each year to members who want to further their own education.