Elizabeth Schlieger

VAC State Chair

As I write this column, it is now a week past the Wisconsin Art Educators Association State Convention held in Milwaukee this year, as I sit and reflect on the experience. First, I think it is significant to note that it has been about eight years since I have been at the WAEA convention, but once I received the email this summer about this year’s theme, Art Connects Us, I immediately contacted the chemistry teacher I co-teach a class with and asked her to join me in presenting. What a great opportunity, a forum in which to share something I am passionate about teaching that relies on a non-traditional collaboration within the secondary school level, with a group of people that are just as passionate about learning and making art. A place to share how we, as educators and artists, can find new ways to expand how students think about art and its connectivity to not only our current culture, but all cultures throughout history. Art is tied to science, math, literature, history, technology; which brings me to the Visual Arts Classic (VAC).

Walking in to the first morning of convention, I immediately started to reconnect with the educators that I have developed working relationships with through VAC. Relationships built through constant collaboration; first as a coach, then as a Regional Chair, and now as the State Chair. Feeding on each other’s strengths, supporting each other as we all learn in the effort to supply an alternative opportunity for our students to excel at something they too are passionate about. Other teachers that have committed their time not only as an advisor for their school teams, many without pay, but who also donate endless hours of their own time to refine themes, research artists and develop prompts. This collaborative spirit not only benefits our students, but also feeds us as educators.

Reflecting on both of these experiences, I am excited to report that many of our prompts this year are combining experiences and strengths in areas other than what some would say are traditional forms of art. With our 2015 theme of Earth, Wind, Fire and Art, students will find themselves needing to engage with teachers outside of the art room to gain access to the tools and knowledge needed to complete projects. I have already begun collaboration with our metals and woods teacher, physics teacher, and business teacher making sure that I can send my team members in their direction for additional support.

It is not enough to simply talk about how the many connections within our world can make learning more significant and engaging, we need to provide those opportunities and real life examples to our students as well.



Color Experience: Art and Science presentation can be found at:



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