#WAEA 2105 Convention Thoughts (and Studio Time)

WAEA Art e-times

Published in this month’s WAEA ART e-Times is my article on the 2105 WAEA Convention. I have my article below, but I have also included a link (above) to the e-times so you can read through the whole thing. Having the opportunity to teach in Waterford gives me the great pleasure to have the support of the community, administration, school-board, and fellow staff members (as well as the students – thank you students for your hard work) to challenge the young artists with what it is to be an artist in the 21st century. It’s not about making the pretty pictures, but it’s about the thought and consideration in the choices we make. Art is about the challenges and persistence to get through the difficult tasks. Making art is about the failures and successes, the time BETWEEN artworks that help us grow as artists. Enough already… here’s the article.


P.S. Remember Artists… I’ll be in the art studio at WUHS on Monday and Wednesday this coming week to work – but more importantly to help you out if you are in need of some studio time.


It’s been at least 17 years since my first (and last) WAEA Convention. I took little away from it then in comparison to what I learned this year. Maybe I was too young to truly appreciate what I didn’t know about teaching, students, or learning. Perhaps I was just naive in the ways of education. I just remember that I didn’t walk away with an appreciation of what was offered. As I look back on the 2015 convention, I find myself thinking more on what art education is, what it can be, and what it should should be for today’s student.

WHAT IT IS: Being part of the visual arts are problem solving skills that the arts offer but other academics may not. These skills however are ones that are helpful in the success other fields. Considering the hands on experiences we provide, the act of making allows risk taking and often encourages failure in the search for success that other fields may not. Process over product, something that we and our students rely on to create the world we create.

WHAT IT CAN BE: Our young artists (and older ones) can become stronger and more thoughtful members of society than their non-art counterparts. I consider the ideas about the National Visual Arts Standards and goal setting as examples. As grown-up artists (mature?), it seems natural that we should know what it takes to make successful, important, engaging art. However, implementing the use of standards and goals can allows for points of departure, reflection, and assessment in making the successful work that gets made. While our artists may not always be making art that changes society, is engaging, or is as successful as they (or we) thought it could be, at the very least it can begin to change the individual on a level that leads to larger changes down the road.

WHAT IT SHOULD BE: Sessions that looked at assessment and rubrics, techniques in art teaching and art making, and even the ever popular PDP, SLO and PPG reminded me how the arts need to make connections that engage with the larger community and (as I mentioned before) society. Seeing the arts out in the big world, not just in the tiny studio, is essential. I often feel that my students, as well as their families, teachers, and the larger community, need to be reminded that there are strong connections between what we do in studio and how it relates to what happens outside of the studio. Art is important in the world.

The arts (visual, musical, theatrical, written, to mention a few) need to be an experience, an encouraging place, an opportunity for experimentation, a happening, an object that encourages self-discovery, creativity, new ways of thinking, and invention that today’s world demands. I look forward to the development of new friendships, and connections that I made at this year’s convention. More importantly however, I look forward to the conversation, collaboration, and art making that inspired me, and in turn my students, from the 2015 WAEA State Convention.

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