What is AAAE?

Association of Arts Administration Educators (AAAE) is a membership organization representing the world's leading arts administration programs, all training and equipping students in arts leadership, management, entrepreneurship, cultural policy, and more. Our network of faculty and their alumni are the cornerstones of local arts communities across the globe. AAAE serves as a convener, a resource, and an advocate for formal arts administration education.


AAAE advances an inclusive, equitable, and resilient environment for the arts by supporting arts administration education faculty and programs and serving as a hub for knowledge.


We envision a world in which arts administrators are effective, responsive and proactive stewards of arts and culture who reflect the communities they serve. Their development as creative professionals is grounded in scholarship and practice.


Equity and Inclusion
We work to achieve equity and inclusion, seek global perspectives, and value representation from the communities we serve in both our membership and our student bodies. We recognize that we have arrived as colleagues in this field by a variety of paths, honor the insights each of us offers, and we respect the structural differences among the programs we represent.

We believe in building a strong network of educators wherein they can generously share and discuss insights, pedagogical techniques, and research findings. We foster collaboration and professional development, support our members in defining success, and champion excellence in the field. Sharing our learning and progress with the field strengthens arts organizations, policy, and practice.

Ethical Practice
We believe in sound management, good governance, and ethical practices in the arts. As an organization, we strive to model the principles of accountability, transparency, accessibility, equity, respect, and love of arts and culture.

We champion arts and culture as indispensable to a thriving economy and society by conveying the value of arts administration as an academic discipline and as a profession.


AAAE serves as a convener, a resource, and an advocate for formal arts administration education.

  • Distributing information about AAAE and its members, and about arts administration education and careers, to prospective students and the field more broadly.
  • Providing resources to arts administration educators for curriculum development, teaching and enrichment purposes.
  • Conducting a global arts administration conference for the AAAE Membership annually.
  • Providing members with information about current arts administration education issues, and about relevant legislation and government policies
  • Maintaining a communication channel for members
  • Developing and publishing curricular standards (requires member log-in) for graduate and undergraduate arts administration program curricula.


AAAE Offers Five Membership Categories (institutional, Developmental, Collaborator, Individual, and Student membership). Learn more about joining AAAE HERE.


The AAAE Board of Directors is responsible for the general direction of AAAE. Financial and administrative oversight is provided by an Executive Committee. Daily management and operations are provided by the Executive Director.



Ximena Varela, President
American University
Dr. Jaleesa Wells, Vice President
University of Kentucky
Diane Claussen, Secretary
DePaul University
Jim O'Connell, Treasurer
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Aaron Dworkin AAAE Co-EDI Liaison
University of Michigan
Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson,  AAAE Co-EDI Liaison
National Endowment for the Arts


Dr. Tiffany Bourgeois
The Ohio State University
Anne Frost
Humber College
Dan Green,  
Carnegie Mellon University
Dr. Yuha Jung,
University of Kentucky
Dr. Sharbreon Plummer,
Consultant, Artist


Larry Epstein, Ex-Officio
Drexel University
Dr. Ana Gaio, IENCATC Representative
City University of London


View all AAAE Collaborators 

The Wallace Foundation

AAAE is pleased to partner with The Wallace Foundation to enrich arts administration education with relevant and impactful resources on strategies for building, diversifying, retaining and engaging audiences for the arts.

Through a multi-year partnership, AAAE and The Wallace Foundation have developed higher education accompaniments to the Foundation’s audience development research. The Wallace Foundation has made it possible for a variety of arts organizations to experiment with diversifying their current audience mix; converting people who are inclined to attend, but don’t, into attendees; getting current audience members to attend more often, and more. These transformative explorations, captured in a series of case studies available in the Wallace Foundation Knowledge Center, provide great benefit to the arts administration classroom.

In a series of multimedia projects, AAAE has created content that facilitates the utilization of Wallace’s resources in the classroom. As arts organizations create change through data-driven strategy, students in AAAE programs can build their own professional foundations informed by the work made possible by The Wallace Foundation.

European Network on Cultural Management and Policy (ENCATC)

AAAE proudly partners with the European Network on Cultural Management and Policy (ENCATC) for collaboration, networking and cross-disciplinary engagement - for the purpose of strengthening research cultures, informing teaching and learning development and broadening potential international links to policy and industry developments. Established in 1992, ENCATC is a network of more than 100 member institutions and professionals in over 40 countries active in education, training and research within the broad field of cultural management and policy. ENCATC members have an impact on the education of thousands of cultural managers worldwide. ENCATC's mission is to stimulate the development of cultural management and cultural policy education by engaging and responding to new developments in politics, economics, societies and technology.


Milena Deleva
Executive Director

Milena Deleva holds an MA in Arts Administration from Baruch College in New York. Prior to joining the AAAE, she was the executive director of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation for 14 years, overseeing the organization’s offices in Bulgaria and the United States. Under her leadership, the EKF spearheaded numerous fellowships for writers and collaborations with the Open Letter Books at University of Rochester in the US, the National Writers Center in Norwich and University of East Anglia in the UK and was shortlisted for the The London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards 2021. Milena helped curate the New Literature from Europe Festival in Manhattan, along with EUNIC members from the New York cluster.

Milena also served the Staten Island Council on the Arts and Humanities as a capacity building consultant and the European Cultural Foundation in Amsterdam as Cultural Policy Education Group’s coordinator and a steering committee member for the Policies for Culture Program. She has held several fellowships in the field of arts management, including CEC ArtsLink at both New York Public Library and Lincoln Center, Amsterdam-Maastricht Summer University and Salzburg Summer Academy.

Milena is a co-author of Cultural Policy, Politics and Change (Amsterdam: Boekmanstichting, 2005) and the author of Technological Park Culture (Bucharest: Ecumest, 2005).


Haley Carlson, Programs & Operations ManagerHaley Carlson
Associate Director

Haley Carlson is a dedicated arts manager, advocate, and enthusiast, with a passion to advance opportunities for creatives in all sectors. She has worked at large and small arts organizations alike, such as Dia: Beacon, Southern Highland Craft Guild, and the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. She received her master’s in Arts Leadership & Cultural Management from the LEAP Institute for the Arts at Colorado State University in 2017. Haley is an active member in the arts and nonprofit world, serving on the board of S.T.A.M.P. (Sustainable Training for Artists, Musicians, and Performers) and volunteer Production Coordinator for the Giving Kitchen's annual Team Hidi Fundraiser.  In 2018, Haley co-founded the Dream Warriors Foundation, a grantmaking organization that serves womxn in the area of the Arts, Community Impact, Personal Crisis, and Entrepreneurship.

AAAE Represents Member Programs at the Below Institutions

American University
Arizona State University
Arts Extension Service, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Association of Arts Administration Educators
Auburn University
Baldwin Wallace University
Baruch College / City University of New York (CUNY)
Bath Spa University
Bellarmine University
Boston University
Brooklyn College
Butler University
Capilano University
Carnegie Mellon University
Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University
China Central Academy of Fine Art
Claremont Graduate University
Clarion University of Pennsylvania
Clemson University
College of Charleston
Colorado State University (LEAP Institute for the Arts)
Columbia College Chicago
Columbia University Teachers College
Converse College - Milliken Gallery
Dan School of Drama & Music - Queen's University
De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde
Dean College
DePaul University
Drexel University
Drury University
Eastern Michigan University
Elon University
Florida State University
Fredonia School of Music
George Mason University
Goldsmiths - University of London
Goucher College
HEC MontrÈal
Humber College Institute of Technology and Applied Learning
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
LASALLE College of the Arts
Le Moyne College
MacEwan University
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Michigan State University- Arts, Cultural Management, and Museum Studies
New York University
Northeastern University College of Arts, Media & Design
Northwestern University
O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University
Point Park University
Pratt Institute
Purchase College
Queen Margaret University
Rider University
Roger Williams University
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Seattle University
Shenandoah Conservatory
Shizuoka University of Art and Culture
Showa University of Music
Skidmore College
Southern Methodist University
Southern Utah University
SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology
SUNY Potsdam
The Education University of Hong Kong
The New School's College of Performing Arts
The Ohio State University
The University of Akron
The University of Alabama
The University of Texas - Austin
University at Buffalo - SUNY
University of Cincinnati
University of Colorado - Denver
University of Connecticut
University of Denver
University of Houston
University of Kentucky
University of Miami
University of Michigan
University of Minnesota
University of New Orleans
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
University of Oregon
University of Southern California
University of Tulsa
University of West Florida
University of Wisconsin-Madison
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
UW-Green Bay
Virginia Tech
Wagner College
Wayne State University
Western State Colorado University
Winona State University
Winthrop University
Yale School of Drama
York University Schulich School of Business
AAAE Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Letter of Solidarity