New York Bound – 2022 National Art Education Association National Convention

This week I received word that my proposal, “Designing A Post-Pandemic Artist-in-Residency Program”, was accepted at the upcoming 2022 National Art Education Association National Convention in New York City, New York. Approximately 1,400 proposals were submitted for this 3-day art education convention. This school year, the highly anticipated event will be offered in-person and virtually, which attracts art educators from across the globe.

Having the opportunity to present at the national level has been one of my highlights in my teaching career. The journey to where I am today took a lot of risk-taking, persistence, and personal reflection. I remember submitting my first NAEA proposal in 2007 and being rejected. Being rejected is part of being a professional, which isn’t enjoyable at all. However, it is a sure fire way to improve how you present your ideas. To make a long story short, my proposals were rejected from 2007 – 2013. For most, changing focus on something else seems to make sense. I knew that I wanted to present at the national level so I kept pushing. What I have learned thus far in my journey as an art educator is that it is important to be present in what is happening in your art room, in your teaching community, and in your creative world. It is also important to show your voice through the topics that are of interest, passionate about, or perhaps ponder upon in your profession.

Showing Milwaukee-based artist, Liala Amin, her virtual art exhibition in progress

The pandemic has changed the way we navigate the field of art education. It has carved a pathway for creative problem-solving centered on the implementation of digital tools and platforms aimed to revisit and redesign an artist-in-residency program in a secondary art setting. 

– Frank Juarez, Art Educator, Sheboygan North High School

When the pandemic and teaching started to coexist, a new vocabulary entered our teaching profession. Terms such as viewing room, virtual reality, interactive experience, digital content, and digital platform became part of our everyday language. The way we communicate with students has become more diversified yet complex. There is something to be said about transitioning a traditional art curriculum into a modern snapshot of how art education continues to evolve inside the classroom. Resulting in art education becoming more diverse, equitable, and inclusive for all student learners.

Teaching hybrid and virtual these past two [school] years has allowed the opportunity to do a deep dive into how we communicate our passion for art and art education with students, staff, parents, and the broader community. Through daily use of technology, engaging in online experiences can still be enriching and accessible when content is readily available to anyone in the United States and beyond. This has provided the opportunity to re-evaluate the effectiveness of an artist-in-residency program. Redesigning an in-person artist-in-residency to include more ways to invite artists from the United States into the classroom virtually made sense. With the flexibility of using both hybrid formats, students would continue to interact with more artists.

Where does one begin to design a virtual artist-in-residency program to meet the ever-growing needs of students and staff? It begins with a closer look into how a traditional art program can continue to implement technology to its arts programming even when school life seems to be returning back to ‘normal’. Next, what would it look like for your art program? What type of artists would be included? Would they be local, regional, and/or national? Perhaps international? How long would a virtual residency run? What would be the expectations of the artists? Would the arts programming include such as but not limited to: virtual studio visits, demonstrations, and lectures? What about funding? Part of the solution is to trouble-shoot and document progress. By revisiting the history and any documentation collected can resurface areas that worked well and areas that can use improvements. The rest is about the vision of what the artist-in-residency program can look like and how students continued to be engaged to an art world outside of the classroom especially to the works of BIPOC artists.

In what ways can we continue to share authentic experiences that are inclusive, meaningful, and impactful? With this new outlook of teaching and outreach, it streamlines a secondary art curriculum with diverse and rich offerings aimed into furthering student engagement and understanding. Living through this pandemic challenges the way we think and how we navigate it. Do we wait and hope to return to how it was pre-covid or do we tackle it head on to prepare and plan for a post-pandemic world that is full of possibilities?

Past NAEA Presentations: Secondary Best Practices and Exemplary Lessons: In/Outside Art and Art Education (2019 Award winner), Six Ways to Impact Your Art Program, DIY Gallery: A Deeper Look into the 365 Artists 365 Days Project, A Meditation in Movement: Exploring Space, The Midwest Artist Studios Project, Connecting Visual Literacy to Textual Literacy through the 365 Artists 365 Days Project, and Inspire & Transform: Life after the 365 Artists 365 Days Project.

Click here to learn about our artist-in-residency program.

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