Sunday, January 1, 2017

Upcoming Art Education PD - January and February

As we begin the second half of our school year it is a great time to keep your eyes open for upcoming art education professional development. Here are some of the inspiring art education opportunities coming up around the state and online.

January 20, 2017
Detroit Institute of Arts

Explore the permanent collection with DIA gallery teachers who will demonstrate techniques designed to encourage engagement and build critical thinking skills for students. Educators attending this event will also get an exclusive preview of the DIA’s new Lumin augmented reality tour and discuss ideas for using this tool with students on field trips. The DIA is the first art museum in the world to integrate this 3-D mapping and smartphone AR technology into a mobile, public tour.

February 4, 2017
Detroit Institute of Arts

In this 1-day workshop focused on 5th-12th grade art educators, participants will experience activities that bring writing into the art curriculum. Using the DIA’s collection as a classroom, we’ll use the morning to think about the artist’s journey, learn journaling and reflection strategies for personal and peer work, and draft an artist statement. In the afternoon, we will focus attention on writing about the work of other artists using the skills we’ve acquired. All sessions will be experiential and conclude with a conversation about incorporating the materials into your classroom teaching practice. At the end of the workshop, participants will leave with a set of activities that are intended to generate meaningful writing within the arts curriculum.

February 14, 2017
Grand Rapids Art Museum

Grab a glass of wine and experience a lively and unforgettable night at the museum! Discover the tribal designs of Michigan tattoo artist Leo Zulueta, then create and print your own wearable temporary tattoos. Learn about modern and traditional tattooing methods and experiment with temporary tattoos and henna.

February 18, 2017

The Art of Education Conference provides great professional development online on a variety of topics. Here are some of the highlights you can look forward to at this winter's conference:

Some of the presenters include:

Mike Venezia - a talented author and illustrator who played an important role in the development of the 'Getting to Know' series. Mike will explain why he believes art - and art teachers - are so vital to our lives.

Kelly Phillips - Infusing STEAM Concepts into a TAB Classroom. Kelly will share some of her favorite ways to infuse the culture of STEAM into the art room! She'll share concrete examples of how she introduces STEAM concepts to her students in a TAB classroom, and demonstrate how these concepts can inform artmaking at every level.

Janine Campbell - Choosing to Change, and Changing to Choice. Moving away from the narrow view of what we are supposed to teach and what students are supposed to learn has transformed her teaching. Janine has challenged herself to instead give students the chance to find their own voice and connect to their work in meaningful ways. She'll share insights about what got her over the fear of change and what happened to her teaching when she said "yes" to choice.

Benefits to attending:

Some of the benefits of attending this conference include a goodie bag mailed to your door, you'll have access to the video presentations for a year after the conference airs online, you can attend in your pajamas, you can earn eight PD hours that count toward your SCECHs, TED Talk style presentations, etc...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Michigan Art Education Association 2014 Conference - "Art in The Heart"

It's that wonderful time of year again. We are one month into the school year and are finally getting into a great rhythm. We are building relationships with our students and developing classroom culture. Our students are creating amazing artworks and starting to tap into their inner artist. And the annual Michigan Art Education conference is just around the corner! The workshops and conference festivities can be found at

Online registration has opened up. Further information can be found at

The art educators in Region 8 are super excited to see everyone November 13 - 16th in Lansing, MI. We have a wonderful conference planned! 

Some of the highlights:
  • Join us Thursday evening for the Broad Museum Tour and Social Hour 7 - 9 p.m.
  • Friday afternoon there will be a Gallery Crawl through some of our amazing galleries in Lansing.
  • Friday afternoon there will also be a Looking Glass: Fusing "Fun" Raiser from 1 - 4 p.m. Learn about fusing with this year's student scholarship "fun"raiser! When you register, sign-up for a fifteen minute session for Friday and create your own dichroic glass pendant. Learn to score, break & chip glass at the fusing table in the vending hall (10 am - 3 pm). You can pick up your fired work on Saturday from the vending area. 
  • Saturday morning's keynote will address Implementing the New National Core Visual Arts Standards: What Every Art Educator Needs to Know 9:30 - 10:20 a.m.
  • Saturday from 1 - 3:30 p.m. Frank Lloyd Wright Homes Tour Have you ever wondered what it is like to walk through a work of art? Then come and experience homes in the Okemos area created by master architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Hear the history of several homes from their current owners and gain their unique perspective of living in a masterpiece. 
This year's conference is filled with tons of fantastic workshops that include but are not limited to ways to invigorate your curriculum, ways to promote your program and gain administrator backing, what are and how to implement the new National Art Education Standards, ways to nurture your inner artist, art room technology integration, fantastic keynote speakers, and so much more! 

Additional ways to get involved:

Saturday, November 15, 2014
8:30 pm - 11:00 pm
At the Radisson, outside the Capitol Ballroom during the Kingdom Hearts Gala 

Email any questions to    

      K-12 Ceramic Exhibition Presentation
      Include photos of your students’ work in the Kids ‘n’ Clay presentation at the conference. You won’t have to bring your student work to Lansing or worry about the breakage. Send a jpeg of student work as early as possible to Darcy Schreiber at:

·     Teachers may submit up to five pieces per level. Only one per student.
·     Please don’t send more than two images for each piece.
·     All pieces should be photographed with a white background.
·     Include Title, Student Name, Grade, School, Teacher Name with the images in the same email  as the jpg photos.



Please help us document the amazing experiences you will have at the 2014 MAEA Conference this fall in Lansing. We are hoping to capture as much of the conference as possible through your eyes. 
We’ve set up a Shutterfly account and we’d love it if everyone could take pictures throughout the conference and upload them to our Shutterfly account.

1. Take pictures at workshops, meals, while enjoying Lansing, during conference meals, or at keynote speaker events.
2. Log in to our group Shutterfly account (You do not create a Shutterfly account.):
Email – Password – maeaconf
3. Upload your pictures to the MAEA14 folder.
4. Enjoy the photos uploaded by other conference attendees. 

Questions??? - Contact Betsy Wellfare -

Ways to Volunteer
If you would be willing to volunteer at the conference (to take tickets, etc.) contact Adrienne DeMilner (

Garage Sale Reminder
Purge your classroom or home of unwanted teaching supplies. Bring donation items to the conference to sell (for a low cost) to people who may use them. 
The Garage Sale time and location corresponds with Region Meeting during lunch  at the Lansing Center on Nov. 15, 11:30pm – 12:00 pm @ Banquet 1-4.

Yarn Bombing
Please create Yarnbomb-ed items from your Regions for the Silent Auction – Bring them with you to the conference registration. Proceeds go to the scholarship fund. - 

Silent Auction Donations
Do you have art or craft you can donate to MAEA? Would you be willing to donate items for the Silent Auction? Maureen Roslanic (Retired Division Chair) is looking for donors. Funds raised by the auction will go toward the student scholarship fund. - See more at:

Projectors Needed!
If anyone one might have any we could borrow/check out in November for the week of the 9th through the 16th. They will locked up each night in a storage room for safe keeping. Help like this would really be appreciated!
Anyone interested in helping us out with this can feel free to contact me at

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Getting Good At Failing Big

As I was beginning my ninth year of teaching high school art I spent a good deal of time this summer reflecting on how the past eight years had gone. What were my frustrations? What were my successes? Which of my frustrations could be addressed and hopefully resolved and which needed to either remain on the backburner for another time or could be focused on and hopefully turned into successes. I deciding to tackle the concept of failing at creating art. The fear of failure is something we all face at various points in our lives. It can either stop us in our tracks or it can push us to new heights. I have faced this myself as an artist as well as almost daily in the classroom with my students. How can we get kids to stop worried about failing or ruining a work of art? Often the hardest part seems to be starting for some whether it’s a fear of screwing up something that doesn’t even exist yet or not even knowing where to begin. My new mantra this year has been “Trust your gut” and “Fail Big.” I have found that when I follow my intuitions I have the most artistic, as well as life, success. This has become an important lesson for me to pass along to my students. I encourage them to allow time to think about what they’d like to create within the guidelines of an assignment. Ask leading questions to get them thinking about all the possibilities out there. And when in doubt start with the first thing that comes to mind. This generally gets them started.

Inevitably they will all get the point where they are afraid to continue on with a work of art for fear of ruining it. That’s where the “Fail Big” philosophy comes in. It’s sad to admit this but it took thirty-three years for me to embrace this in my own art. I had this piece I was painting last spring that I loved. Then all of a sudden I did something where I hated it. I had a choice. I could stop there and let the piece of art die or I could give it some time, some thought, and with a deep breath I could find a way to fix it. After some experimenting and some courageous cutting I ended up with a mixed media collage that I love. I realized that by forcing myself to problem solve and find a way to make the piece work I ended up with an artwork that never could have existed without forcing myself to push through the hatred phase of creating.

This seems so difficult for students. They are so ready to claim a work ruined and discard it or stop working on an artwork before potential ruin could happen. Think of all the amazing works that aren’t getting created because students are letting fear stop them or letting failure stand in the way of finding a way to fix something. In an age of 21st century skills and the need to help our students develop into problem solvers this seemed like a much-needed focus for my classroom. I hung a large sign over the door that says “Fail Big!” and that’s what we’ve been working on ever since. I introduced the concept the first day to all classes and received many skeptical looks. I created a Fail Big place for artworks that were going to take a time out rather than allowing “ruined” works to go into the garbage can. This could allow some other student to come along and see a future for one of those pieces or for it’s original owner to reclaim it one day and give it new life. This step of the process hasn’t happened yet but the other results of implementing this have been astounding. We now celebrate failures as experiments. The students know that when they try something that might not work it’s a chance to learn something new that could be used in future artworks, even if it isn’t necessarily successful in this piece. When someone adds something to the pile we cheered at first as they gradually accepted the idea of embracing art failures. And now I hear all over the classroom students discussing ideas for how each can problem solve their way through an artwork, encouraging each other to push through toward success, and when something truly doesn’t work discussing how that technique or idea could work in a different art context. It’s amazing! And the art that’s coming out of this is so much more creative and daring than it had been in prior years. All in all I’d say that we are succeeding at failing and I hope future semesters of kids embrace these ideas as well as these groups have.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Conference Season: What to do if you can't make it

Artist Name: Amanda R
Every Fall I look forward to attending the MAEA conference. I know I will walk away feeling energized and full of ideas gleaned from sessions that are both relevant and will have great impact on my students in my classroom. Unfortunately, I am not able to attend this year's conference. If you are like me and staying home this weekend, here are three ways to plug into what is happening in Art Education even if you cannot always make it to the conference.

  1. Check out Online Conferences. With the use of Webcams, Screencasts, and Videos, there are several websites that are offering conference experiences for Visual Arts teachers who may not have the funds or flexibility to travel to their State or National Conferences. Websites like The Art of Education (which is offering a Winter Conference featuring a variety of sessions) and The Education Closet (which offers monthly Master Classes that are hosted by Arts teachers on various topics in Arts Education) are making it easier for teachers to catch up on Professional Development without having to leave their homes. A free conference that has resources from a variety of content areas that I have also presented for is the K12 Online Conference. Dating back to 2008, you can search through their videos and catch up on a variety of hot topics in education with several sessions created by Visual Arts teachers from all grade levels. Although this does not replace the time spent face to face with other Arts Educators from across the State, it does offer an alternative for those (like me) who are missing out this year. 
  2. Turn to Social Media. Even if I am not there, I can follow along with my colleagues and friends through their news feeds and capture bits and pieces to be inspired by through the magic of Twitter and Facebook. Although it might seem like you are being a secret stalker, take to your feeds during conference weekends and examine the pictures of demos, projects, and quotes that your friends are sharing. If something piques your interest, then favorite/like it and make note to ask more questions of your friend once they return from the conference. I have already gotten a lot of great ideas from friends in Indiana and New Jersey, whose Art Education Conferences were held earlier this month. Even though I was not there, I was able to share in some of the highlights through interacting with my attendee friends in our Social Media connections.
  3. Plan for Next Year. It may be too late to attend this year's conference, but it is a great time to start planning for next year. In 2014 the conference is going to be in Lansing. Don't wait until the last minute to decide to go; instead, use the year to start saving and planning and getting ready to learn and share next Fall. 
If you are going to the conference, please share your resources below so that others can learn along with you, too! What makes for a great conference and what are some of your favorite MAEA moments of year's past?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

You're it!

Last May I had the opportunity to attend the TEDxGrandRapids Livestream for Education event at Kentwood Fine Arts Auditorium. As we prepare for this school year, I wanted to take a moment and reflect on one particular speaker that has stuck with me throughout that day and over the summer.

The theme for this year's event was "Tag, you're it!" That feeling was all around as we were encouraged to engage in conversation throughout the breaks in the day, participate activities like decorating lunch bags for the Kids Food Basket, or while listening to the speakers illustrate the power of being "it" for someone.

Although I took away great messages from all of the speakers who discussed ideas both big and small, it was Simone Ahuja's story of Mansukh Prajapati that had the most impact on me.

Rather than write about it, I think it is best watched here:

I am sure that there are moments within this that stuck out to you, too. As an art teacher, clay is a media we use for so many things. We use it to make decorative sculptures, molds, functional items... but not until I saw this story of how this material was "reframed" did I see what an impact it could have on a community and change their lives.

As I prepare for the start of school in the next few weeks, I am going to think about this story and how I can reframe my own situation to include innovative and creative solutions that help students find their potential and explore their ideas. I am going to share this story with my students and encourage them to embrace the moment they are tagged to be "it" for somebody.

What are you doing to prepare yourself for the upcoming school year? What pieces of motivation are you bringing with you to help foster learning in your classroom? How are you going to be "it" for your students this school year?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer PD


The Michigan Art Education Association in collaboration with Western Michigan University and Finlandia University invites all Michigan art educators to participate in the Summer 2013 Professional Development Workshops, recognized in 2009 as an NAEA Co-Sponsored Academy.

Running from August 4 - 9, participants can select from seventeen 1, 2, and 3-day workshops with topics that range from studio practices to pedagogical innovations. In addition, we are honored to collaborate with the historic Pewabic Pottery in Detroit, location of a special workshop on once-fired ceramic techniques for the classroom.

Earn SCECHs or graduate credits, or come to simply renew the artist within and share ideas with art teachers from across the state. SCHECs will be awarded at three times the usual rate, so each 10 hour workshop will yield 30 SCECHs that can be applied to certification renewal or professional advancement.

For links to a detailed catalog of workshops, online registration, and lodging information please visit the MAEA For the best deal, take advantage of early-bird registration through July 9.  

For more information, please contact Bill at william.charland@wmich.eduregarding workshops at Western Michigan University, or Melissa regarding workshops at Finlandia University.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Make an Impact

MAEA 2013 Elementary Top 15: Gabriella R.
Washington Elementary

In many cases Art is the first on the chopping block when school budgets are tight; it can be easy to fall into the trap of anger over the cuts like the ones that were made in Lansing Public Schools. For many kids, Art is their time to shine and express the things they cannot in any other way. Art is the place where students can apply the learning that happens in other classes and give their learning meaning. And it is not enough to just get a class called Art - Arts-specific teachers are necessary to the development and implementation of Arts instruction that fosters the creativity and development of the whole child. When decisions are made that undermine this, it can be both frustrating and disappointing.

Instead of getting into the same arguments about this, I am going to propose something else. Get involved with the public review of two major Arts education documents that speak to the power of the Arts and give clear pathways to achieving quality programs. 

1. Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment Blueprint Public Review: 

This Blueprint outlines the Gold Standard in programming for Music, Dance, Theatre, and Visual Arts. The document is open for public review until June 30 and you can help shape this document into its best possible vision for the future of Arts education by filling out the survey with your ideas and input to make it better. 

2. National Coalition for Common Arts Standards Public Review: 

The public review for the NCCAS work will be available on June 30th here. You can read an overview of the framework for developing the new standards here.  To get started thinking about the new standards, you can view many informative resources including this Matrix that outlines the Conceptual Framework for Arts Learning.

One way to move forward and build stronger programs is to chart new pathways to get there. How do you think these documents will help Arts programs moving forward?