Top quality professional development is hard to come by for art educators. We are often the only art teacher in a building and are frequently starved for conversation about our subject and how it can best be taught. Our in-district colleagues are available through email and occasional meetings, but for the most part, our network has become global, thanks to social media. I appreciate the support of my school district in providing a substitute teacher so I could attend this amazing professional development event.
I went to San Diego for the three day National Art Education Association convention last weekend. With two days for travel and three days of intense, non-stop art education activity followed by three full school days, I am just now collecting my thoughts to reflect on the experience. First of all, landing in San Diego, where the sun was out and temperatures were in the high 60’s, was a shot in the arm after the long New England winter. Throughout the weekend, the warm weather buoyed us from hotel to convention center to attend the many workshops and meetings.
The video below shows best some of the amazing presenters and workshops I attended. As important to me were the Saturday night gatherings with the NAEA student chapters from MassArt (my alma mater), Boston University, and UMass Dartmouth. Another standout was the “tweetup” at 7am on Sunday of the art educators with whom I exchange “tweets” throughout the year to share lessons, ask questions, and give feedback. We are a global professional learning network, thanks to Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.
In San Diego, I met Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, who is a Native American artist of fame and incredible talent. Her work hangs in museums around the country. Although originally from a reservation in Montana, Jaune earned her BA at Framingham State University, just ten miles from my home. She also has an honorary degree from MassArt. My BFA is from MassArt and my degree in Elementary Ed and Master of Art Ed are from Framingham State. It was with these common bonds in mind that I approached Jaune after her presentation. Her eyes grew big at the surprise of meeting someone from Framingham across the country in San Diego and she reached out and gave me a big hug. With all of the amazing memories created at NAEA14, this is one that feels extra special to me.
As I always remind my students, “a picture tells a thousand words”… this video tells a million: