Guest Blogger: Melissa Miller on the NAEA Conference

Guest Blogger: Melissa Miller on the NAEA Conference

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Last weekend, I attended the National Art Educators Association Conference in Fort Worth, Texas with my classmates from the Columbia NAEA Student Chapter. Being surrounded with educators from around the country confirmed my belief that I am entering the best profession.  It was an engaging weekend, and I am inspired to utilize all that I was presented with. In the above picture, I’m the last one standing up on the left.

I was overwhelmed with the possibilities for each time slot.  The schedule was full of sessions, museum visits, and walking through the endless exhibitor hall.   There were special receptions during the evenings, and one night they had an opportunity for teachers to sell their own work.

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I was excited to see teachers present on topics during their sessions like integrating the arts into other subjects, building community relationships, and developing students’ skill sets through projects and strategies. Other sessions ranged from more theoretical topics like providing more choice in urban art rooms to more concrete ideas on blogging and inspiring students using sketchbooks.  I loved the sessions that specifically focused on drawing community connections by either pulling resources from outside organizations or by installing public art. I also had the opportunity to see my one of my former Columbia professors, Kitty Conde, give a presentation with Lois Hetland.

I attended one paid session, where we made kaleidoscopes.  The facilitator had a background in physics, which interested me because I have become more concerned in integrating art with math.  The kaleidoscopes were made from PVC piping, mirrors, some glass beads, and circular lenses.  The project was versatile; the facilitator encouraged students to decorate their kaleidoscopes with new media, particularly mosaic.

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I was absolutely amazed by how many exhibitors attended to share art products with teachers. They had everything from sand block stamps to whiteboard crayons to one of my personal favorites, a gel plate for monoprints.

I gave a short presentation on Notan color harmonies during the Student Roundtables. I was excited to attend a few other presentations on topics like how art education can be used to provide stability to students in military schools, fundraising projects for Haiti service trips, and easy ways to marble paper with students.

As the conference died down on Sunday, I decided to venture out and explore the art world that Fort Worth had to offer.  I went to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, where I saw my favorite Rothko painting and work by many great artists like Jackson Pollock, Ellsworth Kelly, Susan Rothenburg, as well as a few gems by Anselm Kiefer.  As a bonus, the museum had a clearance on many art books, so I stocked up for my future classroom.

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As many presenters explained their inspiration for projects, I was inspired to research more artists that I was unfamiliar with.  I have since enjoyed looking up artists such as Ray Johnson, Barbara Kruger, and Tony White.  I was also inspired by the large scale of resources, such as books, websites, lesson plans, and standard alignments.

Participating in the convention was incredibly useful, and I cannot wait to attend next year in San Diego.