What Does An Art Education Convention Look Like?

Frank Juárez

What does an art education convention look like will be answered differently by those that have attended one in the past or recently. For me, my participation started in the early 2000’s as an attendee. For many attendees, we listen to presenters from across the globe sharing best practices, strategies, projects, curriculum, etc to a room full of art educators. And, we wonder what it would feel like to present on a national stage such as the National Art Education Association Convention. I know I did.

Presenting at the highly anticipated convention is highlight of an art educator’s career. It brings attention to an art program, school, district, and even the state. For me, this is something that I wanted to be a part of. I knew back then that I had to give it a try. I took the plunge into writing a proposal in 2008, which was rejected. Then I tried the following year and it was rejected. I thought to myself that three times is a charm. Boy, did that fail. For the next four years, you guessed it, my proposals were rejected. Any sane person probably would have stopped submitting years ago, but this is something that I wanted to become a part of and experience. I already knew that as an attendee I was learning so much and have applied into my teaching practice, curriculum, and art room. I have seen progress. But to be able to share with others the successes that I have observed and experienced in my own art room is the best part of being an art educator in hopes of inspiring others. I kept submitting.

In 2015, my proposal was selected amongst the 1,000+ presentations offered at the 2015 National Art Education Association Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. I presented on connecting visual literacy to textual literacy. To this day, I still remember how nervous I was. Since then I have been presenting annually. What I have learned about this process is that you keep trying, editing, and submitting. Never take it personal. It does not hurt to have someone else proofread and ask questions. Also, be authentic. Share what you want to share and not what you think others want to hear. Always think about your art students. And, get involved at the state and national level.

What does an art education convention look like these days? Well, it is a non-stop walking, connecting, reflecting, and learning marathon sprinkled with a sense of urgency to learn from the nation’s top K- post secondary art educators.

This year the NAEA Convention was in San Antonio, Texas, I presented on Designing Your Very Own Virtual Art Alumni Talks at Sheboygan North High School, co-presented with SchoolArts Magazine Editor, Nancy Walkup, and fellow contributing editors, James Rees, Melody Weintraub, and Leigh Drake on Practices Experiences in Contemporary Art in Context, and co-presented with the Connected Arts Network (CAN) with CAN Project Director, Amy Appleton, and fellow CAN visual arts educators, Amber Arnold, Janine Campbell, Heather de Koning Foley,  Cassie Dunlavey, Leslie Grace, Matthew Grundler, Rachael Harrison, Melissa Hronkin, Lidia Menniti, Hilary Morefield, Tim Needles, Gayle Nicholls-Ali, Kimberly Olson, Ann Ossey, Chay Ross, and Raine Valentine on Connected Arts Networks (CAN): Leveraging Arts Learning Communities for Teacher Leadership and Student Achievement.

In addition to attending presentations, I attended our National Art Education Foundation (NAEF) Board of Trustees annual meeting. As the the NAEF Communications Chair, I shared my report as well as unveiled The History of NAEF (video) told by Robert W. Curtis, 1985 NAEF Founding Member.

Here’s a snapshot of what took place during a typical art education convention.

It may appear that the convention is full of keynotes, vendors, workshops, presentations and meetings, which does make up about 90%. The remaining 10% is about exploring the city, networking, and making new connections.

To see more photos visit me at @frankjuarezartist.

About the National Art Education Association (NAEA) | Link

The National Art Education Association (NAEA) champions creative growth and innovation by equitably advancing the tools and resources for a high-quality visual arts, design, and media arts education throughout diverse populations and communities of practice.

About the National Art Education Foundation (NAEF) | Link

The National Art Education Foundation (NAEF) invests in innovative initiatives to support instructional practice, research, and leadership in visual arts education. Learn more about applying for a grant or donating to NAEF.

About the Connected Arts Network (CAN) | Link

The overarching vision for CAN is to build a sustainable model of professional learning for arts educators to strengthen their pedagogy, instruction and leadership skills in order to better serve students. 

About the Sheboygan North High School Art Department | Link

The Sheboygan North High Art Department’s Mission is to create an inclusive learning environment that amplifies originality, identity, and collaboration through the use of 21st Century skills in both studio practice and communication. 

Let’s connect.

One thought on “What Does An Art Education Convention Look Like?

  1. Congratulations! Deepest respect for the art educators of the world… and kudos to presenting!

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