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Arts Councils

The Arts Extension Service (AES) is a national arts service organization located at UMass Amherst with a mission to “develop the arts in communities and community through the arts with professional education for arts managers, artists and civic leaders.” 

AES has a distinguished record of creating capacity building workshops, degree and certificate programs, publications for community arts leaders, and research on state or regional arts programs. All AES’s programs and publications are built on a foundation of more than thirty years of original research into best practices.

AES programs are delivered to a national or state audience, often in collaboration with state and regional agencies such as the Massachusetts Cultural Council or at conferences such as the Arts ME, in Bangor, Maine, or the Washington State Arts Commission in the state of Washington.  Our wide-ranging audience includes state, local, and regional arts leaders; working professionals in the arts; artists of all disciplines; students; municipal leaders, economic development professionals, planners, and other community leaders.

AES is a leader in arts management research and scholarship and in developing resources that meet the needs of today’s arts managers.  AES created the nation’s first online Arts Management Certificate Program, and now offers the only Online Bachelor's Degree in Arts Management in the country.  Now in its fifth edition, our Fundamentals of Arts Management textbook has been adopted by over 45 percent of college and university arts management programs; our Peer Advising program has spread to nearly every state arts agency in the nation.  Our signature Work Kits for cultural planning, arts education partnerships, evaluations and creative economy are built on a foundation of solid field-based research, and provide constituents with the practical tools and guidance they need to work more effectively. 

AES’s offerings include

Consistent with our mission, AES bridges the worlds of scholarship and practice. A look at the scope and delivery of our Creative Economy programs is a prime example. With funding from the NEA, AES developed the nation’s first Creative Economy Training Programs and delivered it to local, regional and national audiences. Four unique workshops were developed, along with a new workbook, to help participants to plan, evaluate and sustain their creative economy programs.  Over 100 MCC Adams Grant recipients are among the 998 who have participated in these training workshops since 2007.  Of survey respondents, 99 percent indicate they would recommend our training programs to others, and sponsors have noted significant improvements in the evaluation plans and program quality of participants.

AES also engages in groundbreaking Creative Economy Research.  In addition to writing original case studies that profile 26 creative economy projects in Massachusetts (to be published this fall), AES is collaborating with two UMass Amherst departments to research the creative economy contributions of UMass alumni on the Pioneer Valley region of western Massachusetts.  Let us work with you to quantify the creative economy impact of college graduates in your area.  

223 Middlesex House, 111 County Circle, University of Massachusetts Amherst • Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545-2360 • Fax: (413) 545-2361 • Email:

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