Celebrating the Identity of Art Educators beyond the Classroom

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the closing reception for the the GMU NAEA exhibition, Celebrating the Identity of Art Educators beyond the Classroom. It was at the stellar NAEA headquarters, such a beautiful space. I am so flattered they asked me to give remarks! I thought I might share them here as well. Enjoy!

Good evening everyone,

   I would first like to acknowledge the artwork on display here this evening and the artists in the room.  It truly is a testament to the hard work and dedication that artist teachers have put into their craft. In fact, I think it’s incredibly exciting that these teachers have continued to stay creative and motivated in their personal art making practice.

   I’d like to reflect on the importance of art education, and embracing a creative life. Jerry Saltz said, “Creativity is not a talent; it’s a way of operating.” This speaks to the fact that art is not only a skill, but a way of life. Some people think art as something that is separate from our everyday lives, something we can pick up and put down when it suits us. But art is essential to the human experience, and to our lives as teachers.  As art educators, we have a unique opportunity to provide students with artistic skills, as well as nurturing the ability to think deeply about the world and challenge the status quo around us. The opportunities we afford to our students can not only provide them with a deeper understanding of the arts, but will also help build their confidence, improve their social skills while fostering a sense of community.

   Let’s be real for a second…as an art teacher in today’s world we straddle the line between tik tok and ted talks as a means to engage and inspire our students. But what happens when the day ends and we are in our own version of tik tok, do we continue to dance and play? How does our Ted Talk go?

    The wise bell hooks said, “In a world where knowledge is power, to be creative is to be powerful.” It’s our responsibility to ourselves to harness this power, to remain inspired to make art even after our teaching day is over.

   So, I urge you to continue your personal creative journey. Embrace the intersection between the art in your life with the art you create with your students. Make time to nurture and feed your creative soul to remain inspired. It is a win for you as well as those you teach. 

     I’m so moved by this exhibition, which features the artwork of art educators. These artists have found a way to continue in their creative pursuits while also devoting their time to teaching. In the words of music producer Rick Rubin, “Creativity is not a hobby, it’s a way of life.” 

Thank you for listening, have a wonderful rest of your evening!

Learning New Skills

 “You are always learning. At the end of each day, you know something you didn't know at the beginning. We're all learning on the job. This is true even when the thing you've learned is that you know less than you thought.”

― Jerry Saltz, How to Be an Artist

We recently spent some time visiting art rooms and rebuilding drying racks. This is simple maintenance that just takes time and attention to detail. I was pleasantly surprised at how satisfying it was to fix these simple machines. It was also very gratifying to know that was one thing we could take off of the art teachers to-do list!