Posts Tagged 'conference'

NAEA 2017 Recap

At the beginning of March, Angela Medrano and I had the privilege to attend the National Art Education Association (NAEA) Annual Conference. While this conference is geared towards a variety of art educators, including elementary, middle, and high school teachers, professors and university students, and museum educators, the Museum Education Division holds a preconference on art museum education.

This year the preconference focused on Diversity and Inclusion in the field and the day was kicked off with a keynote presentation by Dr. Marit Dewhurst, Director of Art Education at City College of New York, and Keonna Hendrick, Cultural Strategist, Educator, and Consultant. Their talk gave an overview of issues of race and racism in the context of museums, defined shared terms to clarify meaning, and established structures for having conversations and creating brave spaces (as opposed to safe spaces) that promote dialogue and discussion.

Whether you are a museum educator, classroom teacher, or home school instructor, Dewhurst and Hendrick’s message is a relevant and important one. Want to hear more? Experience their whole presentation here.

Jessica Fuentes
Manager of Gallery Interpretation and the Center for Creative Connections

Friday Photos: Adventures in Chicago

Thanks to the support of the DMA and the Eugene McDermott Foundation, this past week two of my fellow McDermott Interns and I had the opportunity to attend the College Art Association Conference in Chicago. Having never before attended a conference of this magnitude, I was not sure what to expect when we arrived at the Hilton Chicago early Wednesday morning. The pictures below capture a few of my favorite moments from the conference, including the architecture of the Hilton, my favorite lecture series, and the Chicago skyline covered in a soft, white snow. Enjoy!

The hotel was packed with art historians, museum educators, professors, and curators rushing to attend their first session of the conference. I was immediately impressed with the variety of attendees, diversity of the sessions offered, and the grandeur of our location. The Hilton Chicago was breathtaking and I was happy to wander the halls of this beautiful building, originally opened in 1927. The lobby featured Roman columns, a vaulted ceiling, and a grand staircase.


I took this photograph during the question and answer session that followed one of my favorite presentations, called “Finding Common Ground: Academics, Artists, and Museums.” It included presentations by colleagues from various academic and cultural institutions across the country.


Just outside the Art Institute of Chicago, someone had decided to help a few statues stay warm with winter vests and scarves. It was a great example of the Chicago community interacting with the city’s public art installations.


Millennium Park in downtown Chicago features fantastic public art like Cloud Gate, aka the Bean. No matter how many times I visit this sculpture, I always enjoy the experience. Fun fact: when you stand in the center, your image is reversed on the ceiling and your reflection can be found all around the interior. Next time you visit, try to count how many times you can find your reflection!

As a native Chicagoan, it was wonderful to go home and explore the city through the eyes of a tourist! At the end of the week, however, I was ready to return to the sunny, 70 degree weather here in Dallas. 🙂

Hayley Prihoda
McDermott Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching

Staff Highlights from the 2012 NAEA Conference

Over 6,500 arts educators from museums, classrooms, and universities across the United States and around the world converged on New York City from March 1 – 4, 2012 for the annual National Art Education Association Conference.  Museum educators spent an extra day together on February 29 for a Pre-conference focused on exploring the implications of the digital age on our work in art museums.  The Museum Educator Pre-conference also includes time spent in art museums.  This year, the day took us to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, the Guggenheim, and the Museum of Arts and Design.  Many of us stole time later in the conference week and scurried back to these museums as well as others.

The DMA was well represented at the NAEA conference with eight educators attending and presenting.  We are fortunate to send so many staff — conferences are a great place to recharge and be inspired. We do our best to “divide and conquer,” splitting up to participate in as many diverse discussions, demonstrations, and presentations as possible.  During the 2012 conference, there were over 1,000 presentations and workshops!  I asked my colleagues to share a few highlights from their NAEA conference experiences.   What follows is a compilation of voices, notes, ideas, and resources.  Add your voice in a comment, and help us to expand this record of ideas.

A few provocations from the Museum Educator Pre-Conference:

  • What is the role of physical space in digital learning?
  • Museums are intermediary spaces for informal and participatory learning, primed for blended and cross-generational learning experiences
  • Museums should actively support “do-it-together” learning
  • We need social instigators rather than authoritative professionals to lead communities in the co-creation of museum experiences
  • We need to turn online spaces into nodes, not end points — making sure they are part of a well-conceived network
  • Institutions don’t have “openness” in their DNA.  How can we (art museum educators) be a part of changing this?
  • Be careful how you use technology — don’t think of it as a means to keep the status quo in the galleries.  Use technology to enter into dialogue with visitors on site and online.
  • In his closing keynote, Peter Samis from SFMOMA emphasized the importance of listening, and he referenced Design Thinking (Empathize, Design, Ideate, Prototype, and Test). Refine the problem, not just the solution.

Notable ideas and highlight from the Conference:

  • The BMW Guggenheim Lab is very cool and low tech.  The emphasis is on people discussing urban life face-to-face.
  • Amy Kirschke from the Milwaukee Art Museum said something to provoke thinking about docents in a new way.  “Not only are docents a Museum’s best advocates, but they’re also our largest multi-visit program.”  Since they’re here every Monday, how can we structure their training to make it fresh and exciting from one year to the next?
  • The importance of listening was stressed in several sessions.  How can we all be better listeners in our work with museum visitors of all ages?  How can we help docents and volunteers become better listeners?
  • Professor Olga Hubard from Teacher’s College at Columbia University led a session, To Theme or Not To Theme, which left me questioning some of the themes we use to promote our K-12 docent-guided tours.  I have observed several 4th grade tours recently where a docent will say “Our tour is called A Looking Journey,” but never says what that means.  I wonder: what does A Looking Journey mean to me?  What does it mean to teachers?  And most importantly, what does it mean to the 4th graders taking an A Looking Journey tour?
  • John Maeda, President of Rhode Island School of Design, presented about STEAM initiatives at RISD, such as a $20M NSF project focused on climate change.  Throughout his talk, Maeda emphasized the significance of an arts education and the importance of designers and artists in society.  Artists and designers have what the world needs: “visioning, understanding, clarity, and agility.”  Maeda also referenced an article by Fareed Zakaria in his talk.
  • Educators from the National Gallery of Art shared their experience in creating family programs focused on curiosity. Using the Artful Thinking strategies from Harvard’s Project Zero, they designed Artful Conversations, a program that is all about wonder. Families share what questions a work of art sparks for them and these questions shape the ensuing discussion.
  • Art teacher Kristen Kowalski discussed the sensory needs of children with autism and shared research about minimizing the symptoms of the disorder by integrating iPads into the art curriculum. For children with autism, art apps on the iPad help them to deal with sensory overload and allow them to create artwork that they previously hadn’t been able to do. Check out Doodle KidsFaces I Make and BrainPOP apps.
  • Two educators from the Portland Museum of Art shared about new opportunities they created for families to explore the PMA. They designed a rubric and observed the interactions of sixty families in their galleries throughout one summer, and used the data from these observations to transform and create program offerings, including a cell phone tours for kids, family gallery labels, and a new family brochure.
  • Colleagues from the The Brooklyn Museum shared information about their Teaching Lab.  The Lab is a bi-monthly professional development gathering of education staff that serves to (1) define and extend their teaching practice, and (2) encourage “reflective and reflexive practice”.  Lab sessions focus on Object Observations (investigation of a museum object while experimenting with ways of seeing, visual analysis, critical thinking, and the nature of responding to a work of art), Roundtables (discussions about issues related to teaching), Workshops (exploring issues in-depth, occurring in galleries when possible), and Fieldtrips (to explore educational content and process).  The focus is on teaching, not programming.
  • The conference proved to be a huge success for early career professionals. The Student Chapter population ranges from undergraduate to doctoral students who attend conference sessions to aid them in their educational path. There were over 900 students in attendance this year! The conference is the culminating annual event where students come together to share their passion for arts education and grow in their experiences as a collective group.

In the April newsletter, NAEA President F. Robert Sabol shares a few of his reflections about the 2012 conference and looks ahead to next year.  The 2013 NAEA Annual Conference will be in Fort Worth, Texas!

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Charm City Conference Memoirs

So there I was nearly one week ago ending a week in Baltimore, Maryland by trekking through the galleries at the Walters Art Museum soaking up all the visual and mental goodness that the works of art would allow me.  Beautiful Barbizons.  This respite of art viewing was the perfect transition between the National Art Education Association (NAEA) Conference the week prior and another busy work week ahead of me.

Fortunately, several of my colleagues and I were able to attend the NAEA conference in Baltimore this year to share our work with others and learn from fellow educators in museums, schools, and universities.  It’s a great opportunity to reflect and recharge so that we can get back to doing that important work that we all do.

This year’s conference theme was Art Education and Social Justice.  Museum educators kicked off their exploration of this theme during a pre-conference session held on April 13.  Artist Joyce J. Scott, a native of Baltimore and a bit of spunky lady, entertained us with a keynote presentation of images and stories from her life and challenged us with the ideas in her art, which often confront head-on tough social issues.  She is an active member of her community and a teaching artist.  Joyce says she ‘teaches kids to be just with each other’, and she encourages us as museum educators to think about how museums are the perfect context for this kind of teaching and learning.  Think about all of the great issues that museums could address. In break-out sessions that followed the keynote, we heard from colleagues across the country who are actively working for change within their communities.  Art on Purpose and The Baltimore Museum of Art integrated exhibition artworks and ideas into experiential programs for children, homeless people, addicts, and immigrants.  In another session, educators from the Worcester Museum of Art questioned where social change fits into our day-to-day work and led a conversation about “Is Art Enough?”  How does social change fit into your world?  Can arts education impact social change?  What is the role of a museum?

At the conference, NAEA set up a studio for the presentation of current strategic planning initiatives for the organization.  Attendees were invited to participate in focus groups and also design-thinking exercises that contributed to a new vision for the association and perhaps, a re-envisioning of our field.  Other exciting announcements included a new study out about the impact of No Child Left Behind on arts education.  This nationwide study was initiated and compiled by F. Robert Sabol, PhD and is a must read!  Likewise, the NAEA Web site has information up about the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and the Nation’s Arts Report Card.  My advocacy brain was on high alert by the end of the conference, and I came back to Dallas anxious to follow through on a few great ideas I heard at the conference about how to be a stronger advocate for the arts in my community.  The Philadelphia Museum of Art invites high level school district administrators and principals to hold meetings at the PMA.  In exchange for free meeting spaces in a beautiful art museum, PMA educators spend one hour with the group sharing about their work with students and teachers.  At The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, educators are now working with parents to develop more advocates for the arts.

I’ll finish up with a list of selected highlights from the many sessions I attended throughout the week:

  • Artist Luba Lukova – graphic design and social justice
  • Dewey and Freire – a presentation about the influences of philosophical theory on our practice in the 21st century
  • The Whitney Museum of American Art presents: “How Working with Artists Changes What We Do and How We Do It” — on Friday, May 28 the U.S. Marines will do a weapons display in the Whitney Museum, a program suggested by artist Nina Berman to “open up” dialogue around her artwork.
  • Recreating Creativity – a panel presentation from college professors discussing creativity within various contexts: history, psychoanalysis, and philosophy
  • American Visionary Museum Director Rebecca Hoffberger delivering the keynote speech at the Museum Education Division luncheon – “Museums are at their very best when they are broadcasting inclusiveness.”  The number one educational goal of this institution: Expand the definition of a worthwhile life
  • Bumper stickers: Art Makes You Smart.  Stand Up for the Arts!
  • Rika Burnham and Elliott Kai-Kee focus on the museum educators’ struggles for interpretation – How do we use our own interpretations in our work in the galleries?

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships
(NAEA Museum Education Division Western Region Director)


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