The Artist, The Educator, The Advocate

The Artist, The Educator, The Advocate

The lady pictured above is Jessica Burton. At the end of this semester we are all going to deserve a nap, but she will likely be the most deserving. Cohort 22 has been making a conscious effort to step up our game as Columbia College’s Student Chapter of the Illinois and National Art Education Association—that is to say, we have been working to strengthen our presence as arts education advocates in the greater community. Jessica is our Chapter President. And somehow, between planning demos, and with midterm paper and project deadlines looming, she is leading the efforts in planning a fundraiser. She is also the Student Government Association’s Graduate Senator. When my brain was too crowded to navigate online forms, I gave her my credit card and she even purchased my ticket for the aforementioned fundraiser for me, and registered me as a member of the NAEA—which I had literally been procrastinating on for a year. We are developing our practices as educators, but the coming month is about remembering to find some time to still make art, and taking on the role of promoting the importance of arts education as far as we can extend our reach.

On November 2nd we will host our Annual Gala & Art Auction at Howells & Hood. Proceeds will benefit our efforts in the community as well as helping to fund our trip to the NAEA Conference in New Orleans this spring. The conference provides an opportunity for attending professional development workshops, networking, and picking up a lot of free supplies that we can have in queue for our future art rooms. In recent months our chapter has created a book of hybrid creatures for a young boy recovering from surgery, worked on the IAEA’s Art Advocacy flyer, hosted and funded a summer workshop on poetry and printmaking for middle school students, and set up booths at various festivals. The more funds in our account, the more we can do!

Tickets are available here and buy access to live music, food and drinks, and the chance to bid on original artwork.


Flyer by Carolina Arroyave

For the second event on the calendar in November, our grad lounge will become our gallery space. Who Do You Think You Are? curated by MAT first-years Kamryn Shupe Stimpson, John Sharp, and Alexandra Zeller opens on November 13th. I have yet to figure out when I’m going to make my art for this show (and you should see what Jessica’s planner looks like), but I have an idea, and I will find the time. Before I came into the MAT program I promised myself that I wouldn’t become the art teacher who doesn’t make art. All of that “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach” ridiculousness is absurd. It’s pretty hard to teach something if you can’t do it/don’t do it. Always practice what you teach.  


Meanwhile, we’ve been moving through demos in Secondary Methods. We were asked to choose a technique/process/material we were unfamiliar/unpracticed with. We’ve seen wet felting, batik, and airbrushing, among things. I got mine out of the way, demonstrating X-Acto knife safety as a pre-requisite for kirigami. I have yet to master either component, but I’m building that knowledge.

Tanya Tipton demos airbrushing.

Our Exceptionalities class visited Expressions From the Heart, an exhibit featuring artists with disabilities.

And, in rounding up the past few weeks, I’ve gone into my sixth year as an 826CHI volunteer. Pictured below, I’m showing a second grader how we can read through a visual narrative in a graphic novel without words, on the first day of tutoring in 826CHI’s new space.

Things have certainly been busy, but that’s the territory of a teacher. As much as you can involve yourself with the arts and education outside of your art room, the more you have to bring back to it.