Monthly Mentor

Natalie C. Jones (February)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Natalie C. Jones is an artist, small business owner, and the director of education at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. She has 10 years of experience working as an art teacher and teaching artist throughout the east coast and the Midwest. Click "GO" to read her full bio.



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Main | December 2008 »

Friday 11.14.08

CAEA State Conference (Guenter)

It is a week later since posting on the experiences at the Art Educators of Minnesota (AEM) state conference. I am now in Burlingame, CA just south of the San Francisco Airport at the California Art Education Association (CAEA) state conference. (If one had the time and money, it would be very interesting to travel to all of the conferences held by the state, province, and region members of NAEA.) The turnout for this year's conference was higher than expected. Our three keynote speakers included Harriete Estel Berman speaking on her metal sculpture, Tony Natsoulas sharing his thoughts and work in ceramics and sculpture, and Mike Venezia, author and illustrator. His chidren's series, Getting to Know the Worlds Greatest Artists is Childrens Press' number one best selling trade book series, and is a top seller in school and library sales.
Besides workshops and tours, CAEA offered a wide range of master classes that you could take for an additional fee. These sessions ran three hours in length and were open to a set number of folks so you had time and space for more indepth work and exploration of the particular medium being presented. One of the sessions I attended was Introduction to Bookbinding by Peter Thomas, author of More Making Books by Hand. In this session we learned and constructed both accordion and case bound books along with some very practical tips and resources from this experienced bookmaker.
This Monthly Mentor Blog allows you to get an inside scoop on some of this information. Here are the web links for these artists should you wish to know more:
Harriete Este Berman

Tony Natsoulas

Mike Venezia

Peter Thomas

Saturday 11. 8.08

State Conferences (Guenter)

The Art Educators of Minnesota State Conference, Media Madness in Art Education, was held on the campus of St. Cloud State University this weekend. The campus sits right along the banks of the Mississippi River and was well suited for the conference. The facilities were conveniently located and allowed for a range of workshops to occur. Workshops in computer labs and classrooms with wireless Internet access covered everything from PhotoShop techniques to iMovie photo montage to digital storytelling to the use of Web 2.0 tools. During my presentation I used a Web 2.0 application called Wordle ( to help provide a visual picture of the conference emphasis to everyone. I loaded all of the session descriptions into Wordle and it generated a word cloud. The larger the word is in the image, the more frequently the word appears in the session descriptions. Here is a visual summary of the AEM Conference.


My hosts were good-natured, thoughtful, highly engaged in the conference and extremely kind. Thank you and much appreciation to all of the Minnesota art educators for a thoughtful and engaging adventure. I look forward to seeing many of you when I return to Minnesota next April for the NAEA National Convention.

Friday 11. 7.08

Welcome to the Monthly Mentor Blog (Guenter)

The intent of this new Monthly Mentor Blog on the NAEA web site is threefold: to provide a place for offering advice, suggestions and ideas, to build a sense of community for NAEA online, and support networking by colleagues. There will be a different NAEA member offering thoughts, comments, and insights each month. What a great way to keep the blog fresh, current, and always intriguing!

The whole notion of the Monthly Mentor Blog grew out of repeated comments and suggestions from NAEA membership, NAEA focus groups, and NAEA Delegates Assembly efforts that indicated members want advice from colleagues and that, when needed, members want tutoring. So the intent with this blog is to have productive conversations that offer advice, encouragement, and keep you connected to your National Art Education Association. This is a member benefit for you. Read it, share it, return for new information and ideas, and submit your comments. There is a wealth of experience and expertise among this vast membership. We have much to offer each other.

Technology Travels
The Art Educators of Minnesota have invited me to be a keynote speaker at their annual state conference in St. Cloud. Their theme focuses on art and technology. Today I am traveling there and am having quite an adventure. I have been reflecting on technology and its use so I will share some of my thoughts and observations as I journey across the country today. My 5:30 AM flight out of Chico to San Francisco was canceled just as we were boarding. The radio on the plane was not working and it could not be repaired. The flight was canceled. What makes this difficult is that there only a few flights a day out of Chico. Technology can be frustrating at times, yes? I was put in a taxi and driven 100 miles south to the Sacramento Airport.

My rescheduled flight leaves in two hours. I am sitting comfortably at the Sacramento Airport now with free wireless Internet access writing the initial NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Technology can be extremely convenient, yes?

The flight out of Sacramento was delayed for a bit and a mechanic was called in to check some equipment. He used some technology to give him accurate readings so he could declare the flight safe for take off. Technology can be helpful and very important at times. I am now sitting in the Denver Airport waiting to catch another flight onto Minneapolis. It is 4:15 PM. I have been in travel mode for ten hours now and all along the way I have seen signs and uses of how technology is changing how we live, travel, and do things on a day-to-day basis. The Denver Airport is filled with open laptops and quiet clicking on keyboards and several folks can be seen walking around looking like they are talking to themselves until you notice their bluetooth earpieces. Technology can keep us connected to our work, family, and friends, yes?

It is now 10:30 PM and I have finally arrived in St. Cloud, MN. As I finish this very first blog entry I am sitting in my hotel room which has free high speed Internet access. Technology is far more accessible now than it was just a year or two ago, yes? Technology is many things to each of us depending on where we are, what we are doing and how we are feeling. With this NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog we take all of these aspects into account and use technology as a tool to communicate, learn, and explore the rich content and context of art education.

Stay tuned for some art education highlights and reflections from the Art Educators of Minnesota State Conference this weekend.