The organization exists to facilitate communication among scholars, teachers, students, artists, museum specialists, collectors, and all others interested in the arts of Africa and the African Diaspora. Its goals are to promote greater understanding of African material and expressive culture in all its many forms, and to encourage contact and collaboration with African and Diaspora artists and scholars.

As an ASA-sponsored association, ACASA recommends panels for inclusion in the ASA annual meeting program. ACASA is also an affiliated society of the College Art Association (CAA—Advancing Art & Design) and sponsors panels at its annual conference. ACASA-sponsored panels and roundtables focus on a broad range of topics concerning all aspects of African art, both historical and contemporary.

ACASA’s annual business meeting is held during the ASA meeting each fall. Meetings are also held on an ad hoc basis at the CAA—Advancing Art & Design annual conference in February. ACASA is governed by a Board of Directors elected by it members.

ACASA sponsors the Triennial Symposium on African Art, which is the premier forum for presenting cutting edge research on the art of Africa and the African Diaspora. At the Triennial Symposium, ACASA presents awards for leadership and the best books and dissertations in the field of African art. ACASA publishes a Newsletter which is distributed to members and to colleagues in Africa and the Caribbean. The organization also sponsors initiatives to promote the advancement of African art scholarship. These have included a book distribution project to send publications to museums and libraries in Africa and the Caribbean, a textbook project that resulted in the widely-used college text A History of Art in Africa, and travel grants to African scholars and American graduate students to attend the Triennial Symposium.