This past weekend, I had the opportunity to visit New York (thank you SDST!!!) for the National Art Education Association's National Conference.
This experience was a first for me.. I have been wanting to go to this conference for a very, very long time, but the distance and logistics of going was always an issue.
As an elementary art teacher, I often long for a chance to talk (in person!) with other art teachers, as it you can sometimes feel isolated at your own school. I try to reach other to other teachers online and through social media and blogging, but it is never the same as having meaningful discussions with creative people in person!
This place was brimming with activity (obviously, it's NYC!) and there were unlimited chances to meet other art teachers, share ideas, and generally just be inspired and motivated to find ways to better engage art students and create unique works of art.
My three main goals of attending where to meet other art teachers that inspire me, connect with familiar colleagues, and discuss new art lessons/art materials that will continue to breathe new life into my current art curriculum. Mission accomplished!
I attended a two sessions lead by my favorite art teachers/bloggers (of course they were crazy packed!) and reconnected the UArts gang from graduate school.
This session was jam packed, and focused on teaching Folk Art- lead by art teachers Cassie Stephens, Laura Lohman, Ginger Pacer, and Jennifer Alvarado. There I am near the doors, on the floor, making friends with a trash can! This was one of my favorite sessions of the conference- so many great elementary project ideas.
In addition to attending sessions, I walked around the convention spaces, viewed some incredible student work, and tested out some fun, new art materials. I even sat down for a bit (hard to find the time!) and created a ceramic artwork on a tile, used a scratch out method, glaze on glaze technique from the AMACO booth. Mostly, I just discovered a lot of materials that I may need to consider for the students for next year :)
During the off times, I had the chance to explore the city a bit. It has been a few years for me, so I visited the MoMA first (one of my favorite museums). I wanted to create a little virtual tour for my students when I returned, so I snapped a few pictures of the pieces I love the most!
That night, my family joined me, and we had a chance to explore the rest of the city, while I squeezed in some of the last moments of the conference here and there. Of course, we did typical tourist things.. and also spent a lot of time using the subway and figuring out where we were!
The last session I attended, was an "elementary carousel of learning", which allowed art teachers to have roundtable discussions about current contemporary artists. This is so important, because sometimes I feel that as art teachers, we spend a lot of time talking about old masters and non-living artists, and forget about the ones that are "alive and kicking!" Here are some of the highlights of this final session..
Overall, NAEA weekend proved to be such a memorable, art-filled, fun, exhausting (!!) experience. It leaves me feeling reenergized, excited and hopeful for what comes next in the art room :)