West Central VP
In September, I was invited to attend the National Arts Forum on Arts Education Partnerships in Pittsburgh. This forum was alive with celebrating the arts and focusing on making it a priority to dedicate a high-quality arts education for every young person. It is known that the arts can turn around low performing schools. Arts education can help close the achievement gap and increase teacher retention and engagement. Guest speaker, Dr. Jane Chu, Chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Arts highlighted her message, “art exists for beauty itself.” As art educators, we know we need to keep the arts infused, and students engaged and empowered. We want all students to be fluent in all art media. The arts are not a frill, but a necessity. Another Keynote speaker, Bill Strickland, President and CEO of the nonprofit Manchester Bidwell Corp. and author of Make the Impossible Possible, was highly inspiring. His message continues to fill my head and heart. We are responsible for teaching the heart of what the arts are. It is the art that all our cities collaborate and connect upon across our nation. Bill Strickland’s vision is that every child, every day should create, learn, and perform…for it is “Art” that cures the cancer of the soul. Embracing and engaging in the arts closes the opportunity gap for student success. Engaging in the arts will only impact our daily existence. His message—don’t just advocate for resources, advocate to change the time we can be creative within our daily schedule.
Creative Thinking. Critical Thinking. Communication Skills. Collaboration Skills. Perseverance Skills. Studio Habits of Mind. Digital Image Transfer. Ingenuity. Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB). Inclusive Arts Practice. Visual Journaling, Drawing Interventions. SLO’s. All of these topics and so many more filled two whole days for me at this year’s WAEA Fall Conference. I came away with innovative ideas, the desire to try new (and incorporate old) media in my classroom and came away feeling renewed and inspired. I walked back into my studio ready to pass on the new “creative art spill” with my students. It is my desire to be surrounded by my students who are full of curious delight. I welcome in “the stirring” to facilitate authentic art experiences. In a time when we are forced to write student learner outcomes, keep in sight what we do that matters most, each and every day. Trust the creative process! Let arts-rich experiences arrive in you and through you! Continue to engage and motivate your students through the creative processes that builds bridges and connects us all.