This was my second fall conference with WAEA and I was so excited that it was being held in my hometown. Milwaukee has so much to offer in terms of art and education and it was inspiring to see so many educators gathered in one place.
My fellow representative, Gretchen, and I presented a session on how to incorporate contemporary artists into lesson planning. We gave examples and ideas for elementary, middle and high school lessons. This year, we switched things up and made our presentation through Prezi, which is an online, virtual presentation board, much like a whiteboard. It is engaging, interactive and much more dynamic than a PowerPoint. We had great reactions to our Prezi, so if you have not played around with Prezi yet, you must check it out! (Prezi.com) Our presentation had a great turnout of over 40 attendees!
It was a good experience to show established art educators from around the state some of our favorite contemporary artists and where to find them. Gretchen and I paid homage to what we are currently learning in our studies at UW-Milwaukee’s art education program and it was well received by those in our session. Our session also hit on the conference theme of how art connects us. Many of the artists that we talked about in our session are people that we have made personal connections with through our lesson planning. I have experienced collaborations with artists at Bruce Guadalupe, the site of the conference, and in my own experience as well. The two keynote speakers, Reginald Baylor and Raoul Deal, are prime examples of contemporary artists that you could reach out and make connections with.
I enjoyed the breadth of the conference, as some sessions extended to different parts of the city. I am glad that conference attendees were able to get out of the conference walls and see the city and what it has to offer. I know for me that it always is a pleasure to be able to take a break and explore new things when you are traveling for a conference. After the many long nights Gretchen and I put into our presentation, it was nice to wind down, or wine down, at the MIAD Frederick Layton art gallery. Again, it provided space to collaborate and connect with friends, conference attendees and art educators. We had an amazing spread of food, drinks and entertainment!
Overall, the best part of being on the board for WAEA is all the connections I am building with educators across the state of Wisconsin. My two-year term as student representative is ending this year, but it doesn’t feel like the end for me. Gretchen and I plan to keep building relationships and stay involved with art education in Wisconsin. I hope to see everyone again in the future! If you did not attend our session but would like information, check out the WAEA Conference Google Drive for our documents or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org!