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Identifier: MC 877

Art Educators of New Jersey Records


  • Majority of material found within 1940-2016

Scope and Content Note

The records of the Art Educators of New Jersey comprise approximately 14.9 cubic feet of material (14 record center cartons, one manuscript box and one phase box) spanning the period 1940 to 2016. A majority of the material is from the 1960s to the early 2000s; however, a substantial amount predates the 1960s, and some later records are also included. This collection documents the concerns of art education and the achievements of art education in New Jersey. Included in the records are the constitution and by-laws, minutes, financial records, membership files, conference materials, general files, publications, photographs and artifacts, and scrapbooks.

The structure of the organization is best documented by its CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS and by the policy manuals filed in the same record series. The MINUTES of the organization cover more than six decades and contain a wealth of material about the business and concerns of the association. The minutes of the executive and steering council, general assembly and sectional meetings are interfiled. Annual reports are also contained within the minutes, with the exception of treasurer's reports not attached to the minutes. As the AENJ was affiliated with numerous organizations, such as the New Jersey Education Association, the Eastern Arts Association, the Art Administrators of New Jersey and the Alliance for Arts Education (N.J.), some of those minutes are interfiled as well.

The MEMBERSHIP FILES and FINANCIAL RECORDS have few gaps. The membership files mostly contain lists of active members. The financial records include IRS information, yearly budgets and some bank statements, as well as an account book.

The activities and concerns of the organization are best documented in the GENERAL FILES. This record series includes documentation on teacher certification and a history of the group. The GENERAL FILES also contain newspaper clippings that document the community involvement of the organization. Newspaper clippings can also be found in the SCRAPBOOKS, but the latter mostly deal with Youth Art Month. Correspondence is also present in the GENERAL FILES and mostly pertains to programs or initiatives of the organization, such as art education requirements in schools and legislation. Correspondence announcing meetings, however, is found with the MINUTES.

The organization's PUBLICATIONS were issued in several different formats, but primarily consist of newsletters, annuals, monographs and workshop handouts. The AENJ's printed conference programs, however, are filed in the CONFERENCE MATERIALS, together with related meeting announcements, registration forms and various supporting documents distributed to the attendees.

The PHOTOGRAPHS AND ARTIFACTS contain photographs, mainly from AENJ events and Youth Art Month, as well as small objects associated with specific conferences.

The SCRAPBOOKS primarily are about Youth Art Month and contain newspaper clippings, photographs, certificates, proclamations and programs.


14.9 Cubic Feet (14 record center cartons, 1 manuscript box and 1 phase box)

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions.

<emph render="bold">Acquisition Information</emph>

This collection was donated in 1991, with additions received in 1995, 2007 and 2017.


The Art Educators of New Jersey is an organization working to promote and maintain visual arts programs throughout New Jersey and to support the professional development of its membership. The records in this collection represent the work of the organization from 1940 to 2016, with the bulk of the documents dating from the 1960s to the early 2000s. Included among the records are meeting minutes, newsletters, financial records, publications, photographs and scrapbooks.

<emph render="bold">Administrative History</emph>


The Art Educators of New Jersey (AENJ) was founded by art teachers who wanted to promote art instruction throughout the state. They had their first meeting on February 8, 1940, at the State Teacher's College in Newark, NJ. (1) The purpose of the organization is to "promote and maintain the highest possible degree of quality instruction in visual arts programs throughout New Jersey." (2) The initial meeting revolved around whether there should be an art division of the New Jersey State Teachers' Association, now the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA). The meeting ended with the group agreeing that there should be a Fine Arts section of the State Teachers' Association and adopting the name New Jersey Art Education Association (NJAEA). In 1942 the group received formal recognition from the New Jersey Education Association, which meant that ninety percent of its members needed to be members of the NJEA and that it could participate in that organization's events and receive monetary funds from the NJEA. The New Jersey Art Educators Association broke off from the NJEA in 1971, when it when it became an independent organization and changed its name to the Art Educators of New Jersey. The group also affiliated with the Eastern Arts Association (U.S.) in 1953, which led to membership in the National Art Education Association (NAEA). However, currently the AENJ has no affiliation with the NAEA, although some members belong to both organizations.


The organization of the AENJ is very structured. The top level of the organization is the Executive Council. There is an Executive Board which consists of a President, First Vice President/Program Chairman, 2nd Vice President/Bulletin Chairman, Corresponding Secretary/Publicity Chairman, Recording Secretary/Membership Chairman, Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer, each serving a term of two years. In 1972, with the adoption of the new constitution, the office of Executive Secretary was made a paid position. Also on the Executive Council are six Sectional representatives, one helping art teacher selected by the council, one college art teacher and one professional art teacher. The Executive Council meets every October, November, January, April and May and is open to active members only. The next level is the Steering Council, which consists of the executive board, the past president and the historian, who was appointed in 1973. They meet monthly from September to June, to formulate the goals and objectives of the organization. Below that is the Delegate Council, which consists of the Executive Board, the Steering Council and one representative from each of the student and associated groups. Their meetings address the recommended dues, the study and recommendation of legislative matters, etc., and are held biannually. Also, there are sectional meetings held within designated parts of the state that are conducted by section chairpersons for the purpose of electing Council members and carrying on the section's business. The sections are: North (Bergen Hudson, Passaic and Sussex), North Central (Essex, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Somerset, Union and Warren), Central (Mercer and Hunterdon) and South (Cape May, Cumberland, Salem, Gloucester, Atlantic, Burlington, Ocean and Camden). Lastly, there is the General Assembly which includes all members of the Executive, Steering and Delegate Councils, and meets annually. (3)

The organization has three different types of membership: Active, for art teachers who have voting powers and receive all publications; Associate, for classroom teachers, students in art education and others who are not full-time art instructors; and Institutional, for members from art departments in colleges, libraries, museums, art schools and other organizations interested in art and education. In 1940, at the organization's conception there were 18 members, each paying dues of $1.00. By the end of that decade, the group's numbers had risen to 301 members. In 1990, the membership was 943 members, each paying $20.00 a year in dues. (4)

The organization holds annual conferences (formerly biannual), which prior to 1970 were a part of the New Jersey Education Association's annual conference. The first conference was held in 1940, and its theme was "The Place of Art in General Education." Conferences last three days and usually include at least two keynote addresses, workshops, panel discussions, special events and exhibits. During World War II, the conference became concerned with war issues. In 1942 and 1943 the attendees focused on "Art Education in War and Victory" and the "Contribution of Art Education to the War Effort." Other conference themes have portrayed international interests, such as "Arts and Crafts of Scandinavia" (1953) and "Art Education in Afghanistan" (1956), or have focused on art in the social context, such as "The Individual and Society" (1960) and "The Arts as Agents of Social Change" (1970). In 1983, in response to technological advancements, the conference theme was "Art and an Age of Computers." (5) Among keynote speakers at the conventions were Joseph el Guercio, a painter, sculptor and crafts teacher (1955), and Jim Henson, president of Muppets, Inc. (1964), who spoke about "Puppetry – an individual approach." Typical workshops have included art techniques such as plaster, crayon, ceramics, jewelry and weaving.

One particular problem that the art educators would have with their conference was the exhibitors. In 1955, it was decided that the group should look more closely at the commercial section of the convention. They felt that perhaps the vendors were not exhibiting properly. This problem apparently persisted, since in 1966 the group had a "convention evaluation form" which aimed to help exhibitors present their booths in a more "professional manner." (6) NJAEA members were asked to go around the convention floor and write down vendors that had done a poor job.

State Policy

In the early years of the organization there was a big concern for teacher certification. The New Jersey Art Educators Association wanted more specific requirements for certifying art teachers. They found the existing regulations out of date and very limiting. The first of two key documents is a letter written to Miss E. Adele Hepbron, head of the Certification Committee, from the Secretary to the State Board of Examiners in 1945 detailing the requirements to be a certified art teacher. "An art teacher's certificate calls for a college degree in a four-year art teacher preparation curriculum. The degree record must contain forty-eight credits in art; a total of thirty credits in English, social studies, and science; eighteen credits in professional education including six in methods of teaching and courses in educational psychology, principles of education and elective education subjects; and 150 clock hours of practice teaching." (7) Miss Hepbron later wrote a report for the Committee on the Study of Requirements of Certification of Art Teachers in the State of New Jersey. The report concluded that requirements in New York and New Jersey were slightly higher than in other states. The second key document is a report on "Teacher Certification in Art: Aspects of the Problem" written by Dr. Robert W. Cooke addressing the different problems in the system of certification. (8)

As years went by, the organization thought that New Jersey needed an Art Director. This position would allow art education to have a voice on the state level. On January 7, 1955, Bernice Magnie and Mildred Callaway volunteered to help establish the position. This issue still remained thought the 1950s. In 1961, it was reported that Dr. Ralph Beelke felt that a state commission should be set up, instead of a state art director. However, the organization persisted in its position and wrote a paper entitled "Why a State Art Director?" This paper discussed the duties of the proposed position. In 1967 Dr. George Conrad sent a letter to Dr. Carl Marurger requesting that consideration be given to create a new post possibly titled "Director of Art Education for the Public Schools of New Jersey." (9) Apparently the position was created, but was canceled in 1980, when state funding for arts education was cut by $65,000. Dr. Susan Brainerds, who held the position of project director for the state department of education, was fired and was told there would never be such a position in the future. (10)

The NJAEA also played a part in education legislation. In 1968 the NJAEA took on the cause of Senate Bill 411. This bill would create the New Jersey School of the Arts (NJSA). A year later, the bill was passed and a high school was to be created for the areas of dance, visual arts, music, theater and creative writing. (11) However, the bill was never implemented. In 2000, the New Jersey Senate passed Senate Bill 1093. Under this legislation, faculty of the NJSA would assist secondary schools in meeting the state visual arts requirements. The NJSA was to have a director, secretary and other such positions, but an actual school at a facility would not exist. Another piece of legislation that concerned art educators was the art requirement in schools. In 1980, members of the AENJ testified before the New Jersey Education Association about mandating one year of art as a requirement for high school graduation. The requirement was changed from a half year to a full year.


The organization has numerous publications. In 1942, the NJAEA established "Art in Education," its first newsletter, to keep all members aware of sectional activities. (12) In 1969 the newsletter would be professionally printed for the first time and include the minutes of meetings and issues in the art education field. Another regular publication was The Annual, which began circulating in 1963 and was published at Glassboro State College by Dr. George Conrad, professor of art at that college.

Other publications were focused on issues. In 1959, Robert De Maine finished writing the state's new guide to planning art facilities. (13) Another publication came from the Commission on the Fine Arts in 1964. Governor Hughes set up this commission, which investigated the standards of art education and related needs. In 1965, the NJAEA sent the questionnaire "Concerns in Art Education in New Jersey" to all its members. This questionnaire helped to identify concerns in the field and what actions should be taken. In 1970, the AENJ published the first "Insights," entitled Insights into Elementary Art Education for Teachers of Art. The publication's purpose was to help elementary schools' art programs. Six years later, the organization published the second "Insights," entitled Insights: Art in Special Education. This publication was designed to help those art teachers with special needs children and was subsequently revised.

Special Programs

The organization also distributed scholarships and grant funds. In 1961 the first two scholarships, the Mary G. Roebling scholarship for painting and the Helen F. Boehm Scholarship for sculpture, were established. They were created by donors in cooperation with the Art Department of the New Jersey State Federation of Women's Clubs and the Arts Committee of the State Museum of New Jersey. The Grant Proposal Program was established in 1987 and provided money for visual arts proposals within the AENJ.

Programs sponsored by the organization included Classroom Renaissance and Youth Arts Month. Classroom Renaissance was a statewide arts project also sponsored by the New Jersey State Department of Education. The goal of this program was to improve the quality of school programs in art, music, creative writing, drama, dance and related arts through a variety of activities funded under Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. (14) Classroom Renaissance lasted from 1967 to 1970. In March 1969, what was known as Children's Art Month became Youth Art Month under the cosponsorship of the Crayon, Water Color and Craft Institute. In 1974, Youth Art Month gained statewide recognition when the governor signed a proclamation designating March Youth Art Month. In March 1980, Youth Art Month gained metropolitan interest when Times Square, in New York City, flashed the Youth Art Month banner on its big-screen television and launched about 1,000 balloons. Similar balloon launchings also took place in Elizabeth and Trenton, NJ, that year.

In 1979 the National Art Education Association established the National Art Honor Society for high school students. The group had grown so much that, by 1987, New Jersey was second only to Texas as far as the number of registered National Art Honor Societies. New Jersey had 453 students out of a national membership of 8000. (15)


The year 1990 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Art Educators of New Jersey. It held a logo contest, a flag contest and made all past presidents lifetime members. The celebration dinner was held at the 1990 annual conference. This anniversary year also saw the fifth edition of Insights: Art in Special Education, a new policy manual and a revised constitution.

The members of the Art Educators of New Jersey have worked to promote art education in school and to legitimate their profession. Through programs such as Youth Art Month and the Hands and Mind Institute, the group has been able to reach out to students' creativity. Not only has it promoted art in schools, but the AENJ has also fought to make art education one of the most professional careers in New Jersey. The Art Educators of New Jersey remains active, and current information about the organization is available at


(1) Minutes, Art Educators of New Jersey, February 8, 1940. Box 1, Folder 6. (2) Art Educators of New Jersey Constitution and By-Laws: Preamble, 1977. (3) AENJ Constitution, October 1, 1977. Box 1, Folder 4. (4) Fifty Years of Dedication and Service and Leadership, 1940-1990 (Art Educators of New Jersey, 1990), page 77. (5) Ibid., page 61. (6) Box 6, Folder 8. (7) Everett C. Preston, Secretary to the State Board of Examiners, to Miss E. Adele Hepbron. Box 5, Folder 23. (8) Cooke, Robert W., Teacher Certification in Art; Some Aspects of the Problem, June 1964. Box 5, Folder 22. (9) George Conrad to Dr. Carl L. Marburger, October 2, 1968. Box 6, Folder 8. (10) Fifty Years of Dedication, Service and Leadership, 1940-1990 (Art Educators of New Jersey, 1990), page 48. (11) Ibid., page 36. (12) Ibid., page 17. (13) Minutes, Art Educators of New Jersey, October 3, 1959. Box 1, Folder 20. (14) Fifty Years of Dedication, Service, and Leadership, 1940-1990 (Art Educators of New Jersey, 1990), page 53. (15) Ibid., page 58.

Arrangement Note

The multiple accessions comprising this collection have not been fully interfiled. Thus, although like materials are listed together in the container list, they sometimes are housed in different locations, as indicated by the associated box and folder numbers.

Inventory to the Art Educators of New Jersey Records
Edited Full Draft
Veronica Meyer, Fernanda Perrone, and Tara Maharjan
December 2002
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.
Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.