There were famous artists like Jeff Koons and Oliver Herring discussing their process for art making and mingling with art educators. There were residents of New York city, hired to offer tours to sites such as the High Line Park, Rockefeller Center, Chelsea Market, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Central Park and more. There were opportunities to make art and play too, with a giant Light Bright wall, hands on workshops and a coloring zone to just chill as needed. There were friends to make and catch up with. There was the rich cultural diversity of the city available on the streets with food carts, street vendors, performers and restaurants of high quality. There was Times Square, Rockefeller Center, MoMA, the Guggenheim, Central Park and more....so many choices and destinations! There was art everywhere in museums, on the street, in the architecture and the shops. Parties and social gatherings sponsored by NAEA, Davis Publications, #k12artchat and others provided the ambience for after hours socializing, dancing and mingling. Art Education rock stars like Tricia Fugelstad, Alice Gentilli, Samantha Melvin, Cassie Stephens, Laura and Matt Grundler of #k12artchat and Nicole Brisco were there too, and above all a wonderful contingent of Wisconsin art educators making the city more friendly wherever their familiar faces popped up.
The WAEA Board was well-represented with Jen Dahl, Tiffany Beltz, Devon Calvert, Jeanne Bjork, Jenny Urbanek, Kathryn Rulien-Bareis and Frank Juarez (former Board Member) in attendance. Many other WI WAEA members were there too as both presenters and participants including Sarah Fredrikson, Deb Brooks and Lisa Formanek. NAEA celebrated many well-deserving award recipients including WAEA's own, Tiffany Beltz and her outstanding work in 2016 on the Wisconsin Youth Art Month activities. Jen Dahl moved off of the WAEA board so that she can serve the NAEA Board of Directors.
If you've never been to a National Convention it is really something incredible! There are so many ways to enjoy the experience. Whether your district pays the entire fee or you have to pay for your own, it is an experience worth saving money for. The friends you make, the ideas you're exposed to and the rich conversations that happen because of the collegial atmosphere of learning make a National Convention a worthwhile investment. NAEA 18 will be in Seattle. Will you be there?
Thanks to the following photographers for their images highlighted in this slide show: Frank Juarez, Jeanne Bjork, Jen Dahl