Monthly Mentor

Suzanne Goulet (October)
A Visual Art Educator at Waterville Senior High School, her business card reads, “Suzanne Goulet, Art – Traditional, Digital and Emerging Media.” In 1990, after hiking the Appalachian Trail and managing a small ski area, she began teaching professionally. In those 27 years she has created and guided classes of all levels; Introductory to AP (all approaches – no pre-requisite); Grades 9 – Adult Ed. A registered Maine Guide, Suzanne enjoys sharing her love of the outdoors and art with her students by advising the Outing Club (Fungi Photography, Watercolors and Canoeing, Pedals, Pedestals and Chopsticks, etc.) and is a volunteer sign maker with the Maine section of the Appalachian Trail (AT), and the International Appalachian Trail, also maintaining the historic Arnold Trail section of the AT. Suzanne recently completed the Continental Divide Trail (Mexico to Canada), is currently hiking, in sections, the Pacific Northwest Trail (Montana to the Pacific) and is adventuring through packrafting. Lucky enough to have an eagle’s nest in view of her classroom studio, Suzanne is eagerly awaiting this next year’s clutch. Click "GO" to read her full bio.

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Wednesday 10.11.17

Trying to Make Sense of it all – Why We Need to Connect (and Play).

From: Suzanne Goulet

I had a plan.

… A plan for how this NAEA Monthly Mentor blog opportunity would create questions for us to ponder our choices in the classroom. How ideas and discoveries that we share can propel our mission through the month of October.

Then the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival mass shooting shocked and bewildered us... and continues to do so.

The plan changed… in purpose

Colors

We are Stronger Together – We move Forward

The direction has not changed. What is different is the journey. Same path… but now altered. We try to work the logic. (Logic? Really?) We remember the names, and the faces. We connect.

Mary Dunn, a dear 5th grade colleague at the Hall School in Waterville, Maine, teaches us all with a lesson in empathy and getting-to-it-ness. How we can, we must, make these events in to lessons that we learn from, to reflect on - to feel for our students, to help them to grow, for our mission to thrive.

The forwarding of an article, and the posing of a question made us stronger, because of a shared experience. Mary got us to think about how we can work together to help our students… our community.

(the article that Mary shared... an argument for play… among other points)

Our journey forever changed.

Together1

The Mountains you have Moved – How, Why and with Whom?

What is something that you have come together with colleagues to forward/defend/change?

Consider the crystallizing moment that inspired you to action?

Who is your most cherished/surprising education ally/advocate?

You are a reflective educator, understanding of complex processes engaged on the journey to understanding and discovery, for your students, you, and your community.

You are connected.

Together2

-SG

Monday 10. 2.17

Plan for Success, Prepare for Greatness, and Leave Room for Play.

From: Suzanne Goulet

This summer I knew I was doing two things: be in the presence of the world’s tallest tree and stand in the path of totality for the Great American Eclipse.

These magnificent and amazing events did occur, but what also made up the summer of 2017, and how they happen are integral to my professional practice.

Planning and preparing

Locating Hyperion (tree), watching weather, knowing the path, and some late pre-eclipse evening magic made experiencing and sharing totality an amazing event in Hillsboro, Missouri.           

Eclipse

Research pays great dividends for accomplishing goals.

We have goals for our students. We know where we want to help guide them. Utilizing research and learning best practices is an ongoing part of this preparation.

A number of years ago I committed (plan and prepare) to making an annual donation to the National Art Education Foundation (NAEF) to support this research and the funding of innovation. Please consider this mindful and significant practice when renewing your professional membership.     

Naef

Play is powerful

The journey always starts in upper-right-hand corner, USA (Maine). The 2017 adventure started with dynamic, relevant, and engaging art education professional development and art making with Team East (Eastern Region) colleagues. Hosted by Maryland AEA and AE District of Columbia, this was a creative start. Regional Leadership Conferences are always unique in delivery and content – make a plan to play together.   

TeamEast

Travel is by vehicle (SAV – Sanity Assault Vehicle), Hyperion is in northern California, so I headed west on I-70

Education takes a lot of energy. Effective practice takes a lot of planning and research. Play allows for benefits of what we did not plan/anticipate to occur. Celebrate this for yourself, and your students.

The Flight 93 Memorial, star engulfed soaks in hot springs with wild burros, beholding feeding Humpback whales from the Golden Gate, celebrating gatherings with family and friends, re-discovering forgotten NV boomtowns, and taking in the Center for Sonic Arts (check it out) played in to the days of summer.

Doing more research on Sonic Arts…and innovative ways to incorporate visual art, media and design…with my students.

To see and hear The Tank.

The play continues...

The Tank

-SG

Wednesday 09.27.17

Cross-Grade Level Collaborations

From: Kristin Vanderlip Taylor

Teaching art in a K-8 school provides me with rich opportunities for cross-grade level collaborations. I try to build in at least one occasion per year for my middle school students to work on a project with the primary students in Kindergarten, first, and second grades. Sometimes it’s a one-visit collaboration, like our Earth Day earthworks in the Kindergarten yard, in which the Kindergarten teachers first shared Andy Goldsworthy’s work with their students in a PowerPoint presentation and my middle school students watched Rivers and Tides, his documentary, to learn about how and why he makes the work he does. After understanding the parameters of using available natural materials in their own environment, my middle school art students teamed up with a few Kindergarten students in each group to build their own earthworks on the play yard in honor of Earth Day. To ensure that the lesson doesn’t become dominated by either group, all students are first taught how to communicate effectively in order to truly collaborate and combine ideas when working with others. I document each earthwork and photograph the students who collaborated to make it before they return the materials to their natural homes.

Earth day spiral collaboration
Earth Day Spiral Collaboration

Earth day spiral collaboration
Earth Day Collaboration

Earth day spiral collaboration<
Earth Day Earthwork

Earth day spiral collaboration
Earth Day Collaboration

Earth day spiral collaboration
Earth Day Collaboration

On other occasions, collaboration between grade levels becomes a multi-visit project, like the year my first grade students illustrated toy designs and middle school students brought them to life as three-dimensional forms. I was inspired by art educator Cynthia Gaub’s presentation at the 2015 NAEA convention on multi-age toy collaborations and decided to try something similar with my students. During a unit focusing on art that we use, first graders examined toys from long ago and compared them with their own toys today. They then illustrated a new toy they would like to have, including both the front and back views (turnarounds). They had to be specific in the details - colors, materials (soft and sewn, or sturdy and sculpted?), and size. Middle school art students selected one or two toys to construct, then met with their first grade design partners to ask any clarifying questions before beginning. Because we had more first grade art students than middle school art students, some worked collaboratively to complete more than one toy. Students had access to a wide variety of materials to fulfill their “client’s” instructions - fabric for sewing and stuffing, clay, Model Magic, recycled materials, paper mache, and much more, though some of it came from donations or secondhand shops to avoid high costs. During the several-week construction process, the first grade students could see their designs in progress as they visited the art room for instruction. At open house, the toys were debuted alongside the original illustrations. Parents were ecstatic - more than one Kindergarten parent wanted to be reassured that we would do something similar the following year so their child could participate! The day after open house, first grade students visited their buddies to receive their new one-of-a-kind toys. I was thrilled to see how proud my middle school students were and how honored they felt when their first grade partners were over the moon about their final designs.

Toys on table
Toy Planning with Buddy

Toys on table
Toy Planning with Buddies

Toys on table
Stuffed Dragon Collaboration

Toys on table
Stuffed Animal Collaboration

Toys on table
Toys on Table

Toys on table
Toy Reveal

Toys on table
Toy Reveal

Last year, second grade and middle school collaborated on zines, and this year I’m working through a few different plans for more cross-grade level collaboration. Possible options up for consideration include narrative exchanges back and forth several times, or task parties, based on Oliver Herring’s open-ended generative and playful work. If anyone else has been implementing cross-grade level collaborations, I’d love to hear your ideas!

-KVT

Monday 09.18.17

Finding Relevant Professional Learning Opportunities

From: Kristin Vanderlip Taylor

It’s been well noted that art educators often find themselves at a loss for meaningful, relevant professional learning (PL) opportunities, especially within their schools and districts (Battersby & Verdi, 2015; Berwager, 2013; Conway, Hibbard, Albert, & Hourigan, 2005; Gates, 2010; Milbrandt, 2006; Sabol, 2006). Many times, we have to look for outside sources like conferences, museum workshops, or state professional organizations to fulfill our desire for collaboration and communication with like-minded colleagues, especially for those of us who are the only art teacher in our school. Experiencing this firsthand, my friend Jeanne Hoel, who is the assistant director of education, school, and teacher programs at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), and I decided to partner to bring visual art educators from all over Los Angeles county together to collaborate and learn from and with each other. Excited by the idea, we initiated what is now a yearly event each fall called Think, Sync, & Drink at the museum as a way to get visual art teachers dialoguing, sharing their plans for professional learning for the year, and collaborating across schools and districts.

Because we had such positive responses to our first two events, Jeanne and I thought about how we might be able to cultivate ongoing collaborations throughout the year that might engage and inspire visual art teachers to further reimagine their own professional learning. After surveying event attendees regarding their PL needs and interests, we decided to form a smaller community of practice (CoP), which Wenger, McDermott, and Snyder (2002) define as “groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis” (p.4). Attendees from Think, Sync, & Drink were invited to join the CoP, which is centered around the idea of identifying and exploring individual PL pathways or designing visual art PL opportunities to facilitate for others.

Our CoP, now in its third year, has grown a bit each year with a number of members returning and newcomers joining. The partnership with MOCA, facilitated by Jeanne, has been an invaluable resource for meeting space, opportunities for engagement with the museum exhibitions, critical thinking about art education in the 21st century, and legitimacy in supporting PL that is designed and facilitated for teachers, by teachers. The CoP has provided members with meaningful and relevant PL that is ongoing and content-specific and values the contributions of each participant. Our hope is that this CoP may serve as a model for schools and districts that are struggling to meet the needs of their art teachers, or for museums to partner with visual art educators to develop other CoP to further support the ongoing collaborative professional learning we so need and desire.

If you live or teach in or around Los Angeles and are interested in attending the next Think, Sync, and Drink event at MOCA on Thursday, October 28, you may RSVP here. To find out more about the CoP, email Jeanne or Kristin.

-KVT


Battersby, S.L. and Verdi, B. (2015). The Culture of Professional Learning Communities and Connections to Improve Teacher Efficacy and Support Student Learning, Arts Education Policy Review, 116:1, 22-29, DOI: 10.1080/10632913.2015.970096

Berwager, K. C. (2013). Straddling the borderlands of art education discourse: Professional teacher identity development of preservice and novice art education teachers (Order No. 3562399). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1399574904).

Conway, C.M., Hibbard, S., Albert, D., and Hourigan, R. (2005). Professional Development for Arts Teachers, Arts Education Policy Review, 107(1), 3-10, DOI: 10.3200/AEPR.107.1.3-10

Gates, L. (2010). Professional development through collaborative inquiry for an art education  archipelago, National Art Education Association Studies in Art Education: A Journal of issues and Research, 52(1), 6-17.

Milbrandt, M.K. (2006). A Collaborative Model for Art Education Teacher Preparation, Arts Education Policy Review, 107(5), 13-21, DOI: 10.3200/AEPR.107.5.13-21

Sabol, F.R. (2006).  Professional Development in Art Education:  A Study of Needs, Issues, and Concerns of Art Educators. Reston, VA: National Art Education Association.  

Wenger, E., McDermott, R. A., & Snyder, W. (2002). Cultivating communities of practice: A guide to managing knowledge. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Press.

Wednesday 09.13.17

Feedback and reflection: starting right away

From: Kristin Vanderlip Taylor

Even though the school year is just a few weeks in, I knew that one of the most important things my students needed to practice right away was giving and receiving meaningful feedback. I am using the Studio Habits of Mind (SHoM) to guide my planning, instruction, and assessment, and “reflect” is one habit I know will be an integral part of everything we do. Because I have both middle school general art and advanced art classes mixed together, with sixth, seventh, and eighth grades combined, everyone is working at different levels and has had different experiences in art. Reflection is something they can all do successfully no matter their prior knowledge.

We discussed the differences between self-reflection, peer reflection, and my (teacher) reflection on student work. Each valuable in its own way, when used formatively these types of reflection can help students move forward in making choices about or revisions to their works in progress. The questions, however, must be specific and detailed; asking a “yes/no” question won’t provide the rich insight students may be looking for, and questions pertaining to whether someone likes their work or not aren’t necessarily informative either. I’ve posted a variety of sample questions students may use (such as “What suggestions do you have for… ?” or “How might I improve… or communicate … more clearly?”), or they may develop their own. Summative reflections, such as artist statements, may also help students better understand and evaluate their artistic process at the completion of a project. Even though the work is considered finished at that point, they may decide later to revisit it, or their reflection may help them discover new pathways for their next project.

While my middle school students get to practice giving and receiving feedback almost daily, it’s a bit slower going with my younger students, as I only see them once a week for 12 weeks. However, they are gradually beginning to integrate feedback into their discussions in art class and are no longer asking me if they are finished or if their work is good - a positive move in the direction of student ownership!

-KVT

Monday 09.11.17

Getting to know who’s in your art room

From: Kristin Vanderlip Taylor

The first weeks of school are always so hectic. Everyone just wants to start making art - including me! But part of starting the year off right means getting to know who’s in the art room. Whether I’m working with young students or university adults, establishing time to learn about each other is one of the most important things I’ve learned. Everyone has something going on - something good to share, something that’s bothering them, something they want to ask.

With younger students, we spend twenty minutes of our first class together checking in and catching up. Everyone gets a chance to share something on their minds. In middle school and in college, my students complete surveys with questions helping me get to know them better - about their interests, their families, responsibilities outside of school, access to technology/art media. This year, I hand wrote notes in response to each middle school students’ survey so they knew how valuable their thoughts are to me. For my university students, the surveys help me understand the other demands they are juggling, which reminds me to be cognizant and respectful of their time. It also gives them an opportunity to share things that are important to them that I otherwise might not know – some are reluctant to speak up in class because of language barriers, some have had negative art experiences before, and others just want to connect more personally, which is always welcomed!

Sharing information is definitely a two-way street; our students are just as curious about us as we are them. I try to make my teaching environments as welcoming as possible by letting my students know that they can ask me anything; if they’re too shy, they can write notes and I’ll write back. I may not answer EVERYTHING (why do middle school kids always want to know our age?!?), but I try to be as encouraging as possible so they get to know me well, too.

Sometimes students share information that they might not have, had we not worked on relationship-building from the start. I’ve learned who’s shy, who misses loved ones, who has family issues that may interfere with their work. I’ve also learned when to provide support and advice to students, as well as knowing when to ease up on assignments because things are just too busy. I know we are all eager to get going, but this small act can make all the difference in how the rest of your year turns out!

-KVT

Friday 09. 1.17

Finding time for our own artistic practice (or, play!)

From: Kristin Vanderlip Taylor

As teachers, we know that “summer vacation” is often a misnomer; we spend much of that time “off” engaging in our own professional learning, attending district-sponsored PD, or planning for our upcoming classes. And once school starts, we don’t stop any of this - it’s ongoing, on top of our instruction. That’s just the nature of the job. But it’s important to remember that we need to take time for ourselves - even if it’s profession related!

Being enrolled in Pepperdine University’s Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy program for the past two years has pretty much eaten up any of my non-teaching time (I wouldn’t call it “free” or “extra”, as we know both of those are a myth when you’re in education!) However, this summer I made it a point to pull out my own art materials and just start playing again. At first, I went through that struggle of not knowing what I wanted to make...and then came that fear of it not being any good. It was my husband who suggested that I stop thinking so hard about it and just have fun. What a notion! I was reminded of all the times I said exactly this to my students.

So, I took his advice and lo and behold, I had fun! I stopped judging the process and tried working in ways I hadn’t before. I found myself back in the flow of creating and was reminded of what I’ve been missing. Now that school has started, I know that my time will once again be much more limited (hello, dissertation!), but I’ve vowed to myself that whenever I’m able to, I will squeeze in even a few moments to play with my art again. I hope that you are able to make that space, too… and just have fun!

-KVT

Friday 08.18.17

Stress, Change, and Mindfulness at the Start of a School Year

From: Jody Boyer

Last Thursday the new school year began for me at Norris Middle School in Omaha, Nebraska. Norris is the largest middle school in Nebraska with over 1,150 kids between the ages of 11 and 14. This is a lot of adolescent energy! But this year is also a little different. Our building is in the middle of a multiphase, multiyear 30 million dollar renovation. This is terribly exciting for my educational community. Simultaneously it is stressful...very stressful. My classroom has changed location three times in the last eight months. I feel blessed to have the privilege of a new room with natural light and enough space to truly explore arts education in ways I have not before. But all of this is a great deal of change and a little bit like riding a roller coaster: exciting at first, but now I just want to get to the end as soon as possible!

BoyerWK3_Photo1
My amazingly gorgeous new art room, near completion, in the summer of 2017

Before work this morning while doing my morning swim the feeling of a roller coaster came back to me as I went through the long “to do” list in my mind. Check off this, I missed that, so on, and so forth. Then the voice of Dennis Inhulsen, Chief Learning Officer for NAEA, butted into my mental ramblings. It was his voice leading Western Region leaders through a mindfulness activity this summer: “Breathe”. Yes, that is what I need to do. Find some balance, and just breathe!

Mindfulness, deep breathing, thinking with intention. In times of stress I try to remember these three things. Interestingly, at the Western Region Leadership Conference, Dennis also shared that the most popular NAEA webinar this past year was about mindfulness and creativity. It seems that balance and mindfulness are on the minds of a great number of art educators across the country!

Thus, in this hectic week of moving and unpacking my new art room (yeah!), this week’s blog post is focused on a few tidbits that may help you stay balanced and begin to explore mindfulness in the coming school year!

Strategies for finding balance in the teacher work/life mix:

1. Create a routine that gives you space, time, and respite in your work day. Even a few minutes can refresh your soul. During my plan time, I often walk two laps around the exterior of my campus when I need a little space and time to think. This only takes me 10 minutes, but does wonders for my bank of patience and helps clear my mind before the next set of kids come in.

2. Pick two to three days a week where you do not take anything home and you leave the building in a timely manner. If something is not done, don’t worry, it will get done the next day if it has to be!

3. Give yourself a treat budget. Then hide a few gift cards for your favorite splurge in your daily calendar, agenda, or even in your supply room! Better yet, have a friend do it for you so you don’t know when they are coming!

4. Build a buddy system within your building and outside your building. I have a few trusted colleagues to go to when I need a good laugh or a really good cry.

Resources to get started with a mindfulness practice: 

1. https://www.mindful.org - This is a great resource to explore mindfulness from a broad perspective.

2. https://www.calm.com/schools - This organization is offering free mindfulness training for schools!

3. Mindfulness, Creativity and Art Education Webinar from NAEA. If you missed it, the webinar was recorded and is available to view on demand by members for free here!

Happy Beginnings to a new school year!

--JB

Tuesday 08. 8.17

Reflecting on the Unknown, Perseverance and Discovery at the Cedar Point Biological Station

From: Jody Boyer

Nearly 10 days after my artist residency at an active field station I am still pondering how to connect scientific investigation to my classroom pedagogy. What exactly does that look like? Is it the creation of STEAM lessons, alignment to standards, or integrating the scientific method into my arts classroom? While thinking through these questions this morning I distracted myself from the complexities of the problem by reading a wonderful article in which writer Maria Popova explored how artists work in the realm of the unknown. Popova quoted sculptor and installation artist Ann Hamilton  from her essay “Making Not Knowing” – “One doesn’t arrive — in words or in art — by necessarily knowing where one is going. In every work of art something appears that does not previously exist, and so, by default, you work from what you know to what you don’t know. “

As I reflected on the first day of my art residency at Cedar Point Hamilton’s words rang true. That first  morning I felt an overwhelming sense of the unknown. I had researched and created for myself a framework of investigation for the week, brought a myriad of supplies with me and set up my workspace. Everything was prepared. But standing at the beginning of the metaphoric path of the artistic process all I felt was lost. Lost in the unknown. I often feel this way in my studio practice. But in a new environment, free from distractions of family and work, the aura of not knowing was sharp and knife-like. Instead of wallowing, I did what I had come to Cedar Point to do, I got to work. That first day I experimented, got frustrated, kept pushing, and created 12 small mixed media pieces. Those first 12 pieces are clumsy studies exploring a new amalgam of materials and processes. I am not happy with any of them. But they are a starting point in a new way of making. They are a discovery into the unknown.

Boyerwk2_photo1Artwork is Progress: Alternative Photography Experiments Exposing Under Plexiglass at the Cedar Point Biological Station

While thinking about discovery my mind also wandered to lunch on the third day of my residency where I overheard a group of students discussing their frustrations in regard to their search for parasites within dragonfly larvae. One student in particular, Silverio Barrio, mentioned he had collected and dissected 24 dragonfly larvae before he found a single parasite to analyze. Barrio’s frustration was clear, but so was his sense of accomplishment at discovering a parasite on his 25th dissection. One aspect of a field station is to bring scientific research to life by giving students an authentic experience of field research. Clearly an authentic experience was at times not what the students were expecting. This reminded me of aspects of practicing and teaching the artistic process and I was curious.  How is it that scientists continue to push forward when they face difficulty? Where does the drive to continue come from when the process seems to be not working, potentially even failing? What feeds the will to continue when faced with seemingly endless barriers?

After lunch I visited the Cedar Point biology lab and introduced myself to the young man I had overheard. I asked Silverio if I could chat with him about his frustrations. With grace he immediately apologized thinking I was concerned about his demeanor, but I expressed that I was interested in how he managed his frustration. In our conversation he mentioned that other students in the course had dissected over 100 dragonfly larvae before finding a single parasite specimen.As I looked down into a jar of dragonflies, I was reminded of my own visual research back in the Lubber Lab on the other side of the field station.  The day before I too had felt a road block in my creative process. Silver and I discussed how we approached these instances of scientific and artistic frustration. We both are driven by a sense of discovery and find solace in the perseverance of working toward our goals.

BoyerWk2Photo2Silverio Barrio, at center in red shorts and blue shirt, and other students searching for dragonfly larvae in a Rural Ogallala Pond.

Now thinking back to my initial question of how to incorporate scientific investigation in the visual arts classroom. Perhaps it is not the alignment of standards, the use a traditional scientific method or STEAM lessons that I need. From my time at an active field station I learned that scientific investigation and artistic investigation are really not that different. What I need is to foster a classroom environment framed by the quest for discovery and builds perseverance for failure. Whether you are searching for new parasites in the guts of dragonflies or embarking on the creation of new art the quest for meaning and understanding likely starts with jumping into unknown waters and often requires you to keep searching regardless if you can see the bottom of the pond.

BoyerWk2Photo3Standing at edge of a Rural Ogallala pond, wondering what is in the water.

-JB

Tuesday 08. 1.17

A Media Detox at the Cedar Point Biological Station

From: Jody Boyer

Last week I had the privilege of completing an artist residency at the University of Nebraska’s Cedar Point Biological Station. Since 1975 Cedar Point has functioned as a field research facility and experiential classroom for the biological sciences, geology, paleontology and most recently the visual arts. Since 2014 Cedar Point has included an artist-in-residence program that invites artist to stay for a week, giving artists the space and time to create new work, observe research at the station and experience nature from a new perspective. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some of the experiences and insights I gained as an artist and arts educator during my residency at Cedar Point. 

The drive into Cedar Point descends down a long road just to the West of the 3.1 mile long Kingsley Dam, which created Lake McConaughy, one of the most scenic lakes I have visited in the Midwest. In the midst of all this sudden beauty I grabbed my cell phone, snapped a photo, and proceeded to send the image to my kids. Or that is, I attempted to do so. The rocky cliffs that surround Cedar Point interfere with cellular service and I was officially off the grid. In that moment I truly felt in awe of Cedar Point. I also felt how deeply and possibly too connected to the interaction of social media I have become.

BoyerPhoto1_Week1View of Lake Ogallala from the Cedar Point Biological Station

Once I arrived, settled into my cabin, and took in the enormous beauty of Cedar Point I made a decision. I would disconnect in order to reconnect. For the next 48 hours I did not check my email, social media, upload photos, or consume anything from technology. I took a two day social media hiatus in the woods and immersed myself in the production of art. Minus the need to share, connect, upload, or validate my actions through social media. A media detox in the Sandhills prairie of Western Nebraska.  This was one of the best choices of my recent adult life.

BoyerPhoto2_Week1Lake McConaughy at Sunset

One of my take-aways from Cedar Point is the need I have for space and time in nature, to think and rejuvenate. As I reflect on the coming school year I wonder how I can create the sense of solitude, focus, and serene productivity I experienced during my artist residency, both for myself and for my students. How do I bring the feeling of a nature-infused environment to my classroom? Many ideas have popped into my head, but I am not sure if I have the answer yet. My hope this coming year is to explore how to bring aspects of my Cedar Point experience to my students, including making a space for disconnecting from media overload and reconnecting to our natural world. I invite conversations from other arts educators who are exploring similar interests, perhaps together we can collaborate on this adventure.

In the meantime if artist residencies, field stations and the natural environment are of interest to you here are some resources to explore.

To find out more about artist residencies in general and in your region and across the globe, visit the Alliance of Artist Communities

To find a field station in your region, look at the Organization of Biological Research Stations.

Consider investigating local Nature Centers for possible artist residency opportunities. A good place to start is to look at the Association of Nature Center Administrators, they wonderful listing of its member organizations across the globe.

BoyerPhoto3_BlogWeek1
Researchers Working Sandhill Prairie of Western Nebraska

- JB