In the spring of 1949, approximately 100 Michigan art people met at Michigan State College, later Michigan State University, to organize the Michigan Art Education Association (MAEA). The first state conference was held in November of 1949. At that time, dues were $2.00 and conferences lasted one day and were held twice annually. Beginning in 1957, conferences lasted for two days and commercial exhibitors were invited to attend.
The goals and purpose of the MAEA are "to define and establish the role of art education, to give support to creative teaching, and to foster study and research in art education.” MAEA is one of 50 state organizations allied with the National Art Education Association (NAEA).
MAEA’s first constitution was officially adopted in April 1950 and has been revised several times since then. The Bylaws were revised and adapted in April 1956.
The MAEA’s newsletter, Michigan Art Education News, first appeared in September 1949 as a one page event update. In the late 1960s and early 1970s the newsletter was printed as a poster. Later, the newsletter morphed into a booklet format. The name of the newsletter has changed twice, in 1980-1981 to Art Rag, and in 1982 to ARTeacher.
MAEA honors its outstanding members with a number of awards. The Art Educator of the Year Award was bestowed from 1964 until 1970. Then, the award was divided into several awards, including: Art Educator of the Year; Elementary Art Teacher; Middle School Art Teacher; High School Art Teacher; Supervisor of the Year; and High[er] Education. Beginning in 1984, the Art Teacher of the Year returned to being a single award.
MAEA has conducted a number of activities for its members, including (mini) workshops, tours, meetings, presentations, visits to exhibits, etc. Beginning in 1963 MAEA held its first exhibit called the Michigan Youth Art Exhibit. This has evolved into the Michigan Youth Arts Festival (YAF), an annual traveling show of top high school art work from around Michigan.
In 1963, MEA Board of Directors, later called the Executive Council, began to acquire art for the newly built MEA Headquarters Building. During Governor Milliken’s tenure, some of the art decorated the Governor’s house.
(This information is mostly from the MAEA Celebrates 40 years of Excellence in Art Education, compiled by Cyndi Madry, MAEA Historian, 1989, a copy of which is in the collection, and the collection itself.)