Arts Education Alliance

Photos Credit: Will Bucquoy

The Sonoma County Arts Education Alliance (AEA) is a coalition working to improve the lives of Sonoma County students through equitable access to high quality arts education. 

  • Members include representatives from arts organizations, certificated arts teachers, teaching artists, schools and districts, parents, businesses and nonprofits, and other interested Sonoma County residents.
  • Members participate in various ways and capacities, which are described below under AEA Committees and Working Groups. 
  • Sign up for the mailing list to receive important and timely updates about local arts education, advocacy, and opportunities to participate!


School visual and performing arts leaders are invited to join meetups of the School VAPA Leaders Cohort. These sessions will help school arts leaders build their own professional capacity  and “make the case” for local and regional VAPA coordination.  Learn more HERE.

AEA Mix and Mingle! Get to know fellow arts educators and advocates. Find out what’s going on in your region and throughout the county.  Thursday, April 13, 2023, 5:30-7pm at Mitote Food Park. Learn more and RSVP HERE


Use Creative Sonoma tools to find or post arts education resources!


Click on any of the following groups and initiatives to learn more about what they do and who is doing it!

The AEA Steering Committee oversees the broad agenda and actions of the coalition. It sets priorities, evaluates opportunities and needs, and develops plans to achieve the objectives.

  • A list of current steering committee team members is HERE

This group of arts education advocates (artists, arts orgs, parents, teachers, business and community members) organize community resources and initiate messaging to build public will for arts education. The Advocacy Team offers presentations for parent and community groups, as well as consultations with schools and school districts. If you are interested in learning more or might like to join the Advocacy Group, contact

 The current focus of this group is to connect with parents to share the importance of the arts in children’s lives.

  • A list of current advocacy team members is HERE

Education leaders meet monthly to develop and organize curriculum, lessons, and strategies in arts integration, social emotional learning, and distance learning.

  • A list of Working Group members is HERE

Through this working group, several cohorts of leaders in local arts education have been created:  school and district administrative teams, education leaders from arts organizations, and a cohort of community advocates that completed an AEA mini-course in arts education support.

  • Examples of local community advocate coalitions are Creative Bridges in Sonoma Valley.
  • A list of the 2020 and 2022 Leadership Development Cohort can be found HERE
  • A list of the Planning Committee can be found HERE

The AEA provides consultation and offers presentations to school, district, parent, and community groups about options to financially support and sustain arts programming in the schools. 

  • Learn about creating sustainable funding for arts in the schools through the Local Control Funding Formula and Title Funding. An example of this work can be found in this AEA June 2020 Webinar found HERE.
  • For general information on local funding and other resources, explore more HERE.

Under the leadership of Elizabeth Robertson and Erik Ohlson, the AEA gathered a cohort of individuals who coordinate, organize, and support arts education opportunities in schools across the county. The cohort met four times in 2022 and will continue its work and into School Year 2022-23. The cohort welcomes new participants! Contact Elizabeth Robertson for more information.

A list of the cohort can be found HERE

The Sonoma County Arts Education Alliance has established Youth Arts Leaders to lift students into positions of leadership with their stories, their voices. YAL provides infrastructure to lift up new student leaders. A first cohort of high school students in the arts received training in areas that support advocacy and are available to present to community and school group about the impact of the arts on students. YAL represent different arts disciplines and geographic locations of the county.

To learn more about the program and presentations by YAL, visit HERE

To have a Youth Arts Leader speak to your organization or group or if you are interested in providing similar training to a group of students, contact

If you would like more information on any of the above committees or groups, please email


After two years of research and collaboration across our county, the AEA released its Sonoma County Arts Education Framework in December 2019. The Framework is a tool for schools to increase equitable access to arts education throughout our county. 

  • The Framework is a FREE resource and includes a customizable Framework template.
  • Click HERE to learn more and to download your copy of the Framework.

Implementing the Framework

The AEA, in partnership with Creative Sonoma and the Sonoma County Office of Education, has been able to offer grant funding and consultation for local schools and districts to implement the Framework. Click on either of the titles below to learn about those programs. 

This Creative Sonoma grant program provides funding to Sonoma County Public School Districts to develop, enhance or implement their strategic arts plans. Application workshops take place on June 15 and August 25, 2022. Made possible by funding from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Learn more, register for workshops, and apply HERE.

Guerneville and Horicon School Districts were selected to receive this award, funded by the California County Superintendent Educational Services. The districts are tailoring strategic plans utilizing the arts to address district priorities utilizing the arts. Learn more about the award HERE.

Learn how three grantees implemented their arts education plans as a result of this grant, funded by the Sonoma County Office of Education, HERE.