One of my favorite moments at the 2011 MAEA Conference was the Awards Ceremony acceptance speech given by Barbara Rensenhouse. Barbara received the MAEA Distinguished Service Award. She has been a mentor for innumerable art teachers over her many years at Western Michigan University. Retired in 1991, she is well up in age but her words were sharp and on the mark as she urged us to affirm others for their work in the field. As we were honoring her, she was urging us to honor others.
This week I came across an article in the September issue of Art Education (the NAEA Journal) by Elizabeth Delacruz. She too, was giving an acceptance speech for an award, receiving the 2011 Ziegfeld award. In this speech, she lays out four frameworks to guide our thinking as art educators. What resonated with me was her idea that we should “take on an entrepreneurial disposition, referring to both an outlook and a cluster of behaviors. This ability:
- to understand particular needs in particular contexts
- to discern meaningful patterns
- to think big
- to innovate
- to envision something new and useful
- to conceptualize, design, and carry forward concrete plans of action with specific intended outcomes.
These are the skills and dispositions we hope to foster in our students.” These are 21st Century Skills.
Also recognized at the 2011 Conference was Kim Cairy, outgoing MAEA president, who was honored as the MAEA Middle Level and overall Art Educator of the Year. In her tenure as President, Kim embodied these dispositions. She is an exceptional leader. I have been so impressed with her. She is a parent, a teacher and a leader. She moves easily from one role to the other. When she first came into office I still remember receiving a card that she had hand-made urging us to think outside of the box. She is a big thinker and an innovator, yet humble and personally attentive to others’ needs. Thank you, Kim, for giving so much of yourself to the organization.
Who has influenced you in your art teaching and thinking? A mentor teacher or college professor? Someone you’ve never met but whose books or blogs you avidly read? Who do you want to thank?
During this season of Thanksgiving, please take the time to comment below and honor those who have helped shape you as an artist/educator, thanking them for their influence and help.