A trip to New Orleans and back
The National Art Education Convention was held last week in New Orleans. What a great place to have a conference with 4,500 art teachers from across the country! The workshops and keynotes were thought provoking, the educators freely shared ideas, the food was outstanding, and the city filled with fun and opportunities to take in the arts and culture. There were three workshops presented by 5 Maine arts educators. The most amazing part to me is (always) the openness of teachers. “Where are you from? and What grade(s) do you teach?” are probably the most frequently asked questions – on the elevator, escalator, walking to and from sessions, in sessions, at meals and on and on.
Tim Gunn, educator and designer presented one of the Super Sessions and shared his wisdom and kindness. He provided multiple examples of how he teaches and mentors. He was on the faculty at Parsons The New School Design from 1982 to 2007 and was chair of the fashion design at the school, August 2000 to March 2007. He is well known for the reality show, Project Runway.
Earlier this week The Art of Education posted Tim’s 8 Lessons Art Educators Can Learn From Tim Gunn, post written by Jessica Balsley http://www.theartofed.com/2015/03/27/make-it-work-10-lessons-art-educators-can-learn-from-tim-gunn/. Number 7) TEACH – This is Tim’s coined acronym for success in teaching. It stands for Truthtelling, Empathy, Asking, Cheerleading and Hoping for the Best. I suggest that you check out the post for the other seven. It was great to see Jessica and the other Art of Ed folks at the convention as well!
In addition to attending the convention sessions, the location offers so many learning opportunities. One highlight for New Orleans was a walking tour that took us to the architectural highlights of The French Quarter. On many of the ornate building fronts there is a fancy pointy piece that juts out just below the balcony’s floor so those who have celebrated a bit too much during Mardi Gras can’t climb over the rail and into the homes. The tour ended at the oldest cemetery (of three) with above ground graves due to the water level. The stories were fascinating.
The highlight for food, that’s a tough decision! So many good foods including Beignets which are French donuts from Cafe Du Monde, Muffuletta’s from Central Grocery, giant Italian sandwich, Mother’s Restaurant that serves soul food. Oh and the oysters and Po’boys were yummy as well! My first time having grilled oysters!
The highlight for people to see: Olivia Gude, on the team who wrote the National Core Arts Standards, Lois Hetland, one of the writers of Studio Habits of Mind, and Cassie Stephens, blogger and elementary art teacher from Tennessee.
The weather was pleasant with temperatures in the 60’s. We ate outside and heard wonderful music several times. Getting up early and walking along the water as the sun rose was delightful.
Half a muffuletta
I am always proud when I attend national conferences – proud to be an arts educator! And, fortunate to have the opportunity to attend. There were about a dozen art teachers there from Maine. If you’ve never, I hope that you will consider, attending a national conference in the future.
Cassie Stephens, blogger, art educator from Tennessee