I always feel connected when I attend an art conference. The attendees and presenters lift me up and everyone is in a good mood. But this fall conference had a feeling of real heart and real energy.
Everything from the keynotes to the member art show and award ceremony told a story of how we need to be in tune with each other, make connections wherever and whenever we can, and find connections that speak to you—as an artist, an art educator, and as an individual.
Keynote speaker, Reginald Baylor, told us to help students make connections and reminded us that an average 6th grader should know a famous artist, just like they might know a famous athlete. In addition, Raoul Deal reminded us to connect to where we came from and let students connect through meaningful collaboration.
Jen Dahl reminded us that we all have leadership skills, even if we feel we are quiet. We all have skills that can be used to connect each other. I also really enjoyed Maria Mason’s session about “How to Find Your Own Groove.” I liked how she connected with several different methods of teaching through her experiences and made her own style of teaching. The photos she showed and her inspirational talk surely proved that she was connected to her students.
I think my favorite part was the awards ceremony for outstanding art educators and others who have done their part to bring the arts to others and us through education or other connections. Their stories were motivating, encouraging all of us follow our passions and share the visual arts with others. Most of the award acceptance speeches brought emotions of happiness and sincere gratefulness to my heart. They made me want to go back and spread the word and work hard in the most wonderful job in the world.
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