Students are not required to have career goals related to the arts; however, those who do may benefit from the academy's ties to the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, which deals with international cultural exchanges. Special guests from other countries will occasionally visit to teach and participate in classes and vice versa.
The Academy opened in August 2001, to students entering the 9th grade. The 2002-2003 year included 9th and 10th grade students. 11th grade was added in 2003-2004, and finally, a senior class was added in the 2004-2005 school year.
Arts Academy in the Woods is chartered by the Macomb Intermediate School District's Board of Education, who oversees its operations, including finances and curriculum.
AAW is located at 32101 Caroline Street, northwest of the intersection of Masonic and Utica Roads. From I-696, exit at Groesbeck Hwy (exit 26), go north on Groesbeck 2.6 miles. Turn left on Utica for 0.4 miles. Turn left at Masonic, and take the first right at Caroline St.