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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Wednesday 11.24.10

What NAEA Means to Me

The National Art Education Association means so many things to thousands of its members. I thought that I would share a few thoughts on this subject.

Initially I joined NAEA to present at their national convention in Atlanta in 1991. I belonged to a state organization that was not affiliated with NAEA. After attending my first National Convention I was “hooked” and have continued the tradition every spring.

With membership I also subscribe to “Studies in Art Education” and have purchased great quantities of NAEA publications. The professional journals and publications were paramount to my education in art education, continue my knowledge of the current theories and trends, and aid my research into interesting topics, or coursework that I teach.

NAEA has also stood for leadership. The leaders in our field present their findings and theories through publications and presentations. Our leadership in NAEA also includes The National Executive Board and Regional Leadership Conferences. I have been fortunate to serve as a state president and have been able to attend regional conferences and NAEA Delegates Assembly. I am amazed at the “Art Stars” I have continually met nationwide. NAEA’s leadership is strong and focused and can be found “at the table” in National arts forums. I have experienced incredible support nationally and regionally.

It is for all these reasons that I led Kentucky to affiliate with NAEA in January of this year. I would like to thank NAEA for this opportunity to serve as November’s Monthly Mentor. Thank you for reading my blogs.  I look forward to another convention in Seattle with NAEA. Please look me up if you get a chance!

 -Dr. Judith Haynes

Monday 11.22.10


Arts Integration, Arts Infusion, Arts Immersion, Arts Enhancement, and Arts Collaboration are all terms that are currently defining an area of arts education that involves the arts and other subject areas or the arts in a unified state. Any attempts at definition of these terms will be subject to intense debate reflected by a current dialogue we are having with the Arts Education leaders in my teaching state of Kentucky. 

Collaborations within the arts and within the subject areas at school can be fabulous and rich! The depth with which a topic can be explored and understood can be exemplified by unique arts creations.  This is supported by the highest level of Blooms Taxonomy revised in 2001. Creation is at the apex of the pyramid of thinking and learning. Hooray!!!

Setting the example of collegial collaboration has improved the esteem granted to my subject area and increased student interest in subject matter. The connections we make educationally are paralleled by the connections the students make and internalize. Excitement is generated by making these connections and improves the depth and breadth of their knowledgebase. Collaboration also exemplifies how deeply subjects can be explored. In an age of 15 second television blurbs of knowledge, I applaud this depth of learning.

My relationships within the school and community environments are enhanced and strengthened working together towards common objectives and common topics. In time, I found that teachers felt comfortable approaching me to ask for this collaboration to enhance a unit they are beginning.  Community members add the element of professionalism and reflect “what’s good about our schools”  to them. Arts professionals began in similar situations and are frequently willing volunteers.
The many and varied models of collaborations excite and interest me in their layers of richness and uniqueness. Let me know what works for you!

 -Dr. Judith Haynes

Thursday 11.18.10


There appear to be several ways that members come into leadership roles in their state and national organizations: 

Volunteer!  These are the folks that give freely of their time without coercion!

Recommendation by a friend/colleague that you would be “good” for this position. 

Arm Twisting by others in leadership roles that “need” you help. 

However you attain these roles, I would personally like to thank you.  Your giving is appreciated by those who are already in state/national leadership roles.  If we were in corporate America, we would be paid handsomely for these efforts. 

But the vast majority (approximately 90%), is not involved in any of the state or national leadership roles.  It’s not for everyone, but if you are interested, even the slightest amount, tell someone!  Anyone on the Executive Board for your state or your regional leaders would appreciate your help.  State conventions are a huge responsibility and amount of work, and there are many jobs that can be delegated to you. 

And it’s fun!  The comraderie that is obtained through board work is very rewarding and helpful.  Your school system might even encourage your efforts with time off to attend conventions, meetings, etc.  I am a believer in giving back to the profession that has underwritten my career!  As a professional in the field, not only do I join the appropriate organizations, but I volunteer with the grunge work of its continual operation.   And finally, career advancement may be a side product of leadership.  Many state leaders go on to achieve awards and honors, in recognition for their efforts. 

So, if you haven’t become active yet, now is a great time to volunteer.  And yes, all the Kentucky art educators, sign up now!

-Dr. Judith Haynes

Monday 11.15.10

Visual Culture

Visual Culture has accessibility to “everyone”.  I embrace this term wholeheartedly knowing the “elitist” attitudes that are dismissed conceptually.  Visual culture speaks to the student in inner city through graffiti and the hip hop culture.  It resonates throughout other students in manga and anime.  This all encompassing term for those things that demand response from our visual sense breaks down barriers that formerly were erected through art history. 

Participating in graduate art history seminars for me were challenging and intimidating!  Wordsmiths with astounding vocabularies presented art historical lectures employing dual projectors.  These scholarly pursuits felt so elitist that some students became disenfranchised and left the program.  

The wave of Postmodernist Theory seems to have expanded our understanding of the Visual Culture.  No longer do I have to show traditional artforms like painting, drawing, and pottery.  I feel liberated to discuss installations, skateboard art, collaborative community murals, and  design in everyday life items.    Now students can understand the scope and breadth of how art touches our lives continually and its necessity for human existence.

I recently returned from a trip to the Southwestern United States and was thrilled to see the pictographs and petroglyphs on the rocks near dwellings of ancient Native Americans.  My imagination recreated some aspects from their lives of continual struggle to gather and grow food, search for water supplies, and provide shelter and clothing for their families.  How were the pictographs painted on the rock faces valued?  What compelled many of the Native Americans to use a sharp rock to carve petroglyphs?  I found very little existing evidence that they showed concern for Science, Technology, English and Math (STEM). 

Why isn’t this prehistoric need to create and communicate visually apparent to more people?  I challenge anyone reading this to enlighten as many other people as you can about this relevant issue. 

And by the way, thank you to Postmodernism for making art more relevant and accessible! Now …..GO Spread the WORD………………

-Dr. Judith Haynes

Thursday 11.11.10


I teach in inner city.  I love my students and would not consider teaching anywhere else.  WE all have daily “baggage” we bring to school.  Middle class adults have different ”baggage” than the children I teach.  Sometimes the differences are so great that it is remarkable that I am accepted by them as their “art teacher”.  I am humbled by their needs and the desires. 

Physically and financially, their needs are great.  I cannot begin to fulfill those needs.  There are needs that their spirits share aesthetically.  Here is my expertise.  I love to find the aesthetic interests in each individual.  Tapping into these interests keeps me busy providing resources and trying to keep up with the latest cartoons, movies, and trends.  Many times I can tap into their aesthetic interests through the 82 binders I have developed of art historical and current topics.  And personal styles in art can begin to develop and blossom. 

Their worlds can expand and open with art.  Not every child I teach will be a Frida or Pablo.  But I have found the enjoyment they receive from looking at and knowing about other artwork.  It informs their artwork and life.  It makes artwork come off the pedestal and into their paradigm.  I want to provide them with something that no one else can provide them with: a separate discourse, multiple perspectives, and the ability to think through and within a material.  (Eisner, 2002)

Eisner, E. (2002). The Arts and the Creation of Mind. Yale University Press. 
-Dr. Judith Haynes

Monday 11. 8.10

Staying the Course

Many years ago a professor in my doctoral program remarked to me that I was “Superwoman”. This remark brought a smile to my face and a secret thrill within me. He was astounded that I, like many of you, was teaching full time, taking graduate courses, raising a young family and active in local and state art education organizations. This “Superwoman” came crashing to a halt professionally as cancer ravaged me for a year. In the following years I reordered my priorities.

And then I began to undergo huge amounts of guilt during this ”healing”time. Why was my career not on the fast track? Why had I not been published? Why wasn’t I more active in state and national organizations? My family had stuck with me through a doctoral degree and cancer. I felt that I was letting them down. I was letting my professors down. I was failing as a professional art educator.

During this time of career anxiety I attended a workshop at national convention presented by several women discussing significant women art educators. As they discussed the stellar careers of various women, they noted the times that these women had placed their careers on pause to attend to family and personal matters. Their contributions in the field of art education were duly noted to be as significant as those of raising a family and attending to other familial issues.

Here it was…..a huge weight was lifted from my consciousness. I was able to let this guilt dissolve. I can’t stress enough how this was a professional and personal breakthrough. Discussing these important issues with the women at the presentation was uplifting also. They validated my work as a mother, wife and caretaker.

My priorities had been in order and now my guilt was erased. I was able to resume my career in art education…..MY WAY!

-Dr. Judith Haynes

Thursday 11. 4.10


Lots of art educators are social creatures.  We love to make, view and discuss art .  So why not do this together?  Here are some ideas for activating a region where you live.  As the sole art teacher in many schools, the companionship and level of understanding and empathy from other art educators increases my motivation and enthusiasm. 

would like to thank those teachers living in the region that I teach in for their support.  You know who you are.  You are awesome, amazing people!

We get together for dinner and First Friday Gallery Walks.  Our group never seems to be entirely the same, but hey, the differences of attendees make it fun! We schmooze and walk, gripe and brag!  Our group is not limited in gender or age.  The younger teachers accept “us” veterans. 

Monthly professional development workshops also bring us together.  Here, a new technique can be learned such as paper making, Photoshop, making a pinhole camera, artists trading cards, etc.  Everyone has expertise and snacks to share! 

During the Holidays, we have a handmade ornament exchange party.  Everyone made an extra ornament for the hostess in her new home to help her decorate her tree!

Jurors are always needed for school/district contests.  Why not utilize your regions art educators for this process and use it as an excuse to get together.

And finally, no one should ever have to drive to board and state conventions alone.  Carpooling is fun, economical and the idea exchanges are amazing. 

-Dr. Judith Haynes

Monday 11. 1.10

Advocacy for Art Education

As an Elementary Art Educator for the past 25 years I have noticed a constant advocacy for art education that I have never been able to place on the back burner.  Many beginning art educators face the dilemma of R(eduction) I(n) F(orce).  I faced this issue several times as a public school art educator and as an adjunct art educator at local universities.  Although I have found that the major problem causing these RIFs is usually monetary, I have noticed that many of our colleagues do not present a professional demeanor. 

Professionalism for many art teachers is natural.  However, I speak to those of us who struggle daily with organization, wardrobe, communications, artistic creation and leadership.  Here are my thoughts on How to REPRESENT!

Organization is vital to the revolving art room door.  Planning and set-up for the entire year requires ‘pre-season” organization.  Daily organization not only includes readying supplies, instructional materials, and technical equipment, but also includes the anticipated glitches and hiccups that we must adjust for during the day.  And what about those unannounced glitches??????  Great organization keeps my day running smoothly and enables me to do my job well.

Wardrobe can be extremely fun to experiment with various textures, colors, and shapes.  I try to consider the viewers.  Meeting with any parents or professionals sends me to attire that fits into the mainstream.  Part of the professional demeanor is established immediately by attire and can add to the esteem that you will receive from your colleagues. 

Communications are vital to establish collegial relationships.  Find positives in difficult situations.  As many of us are the sole art teacher within the building, our relationships with other teachers are essential to maintaining the professional attitude for our subject area.  Building a network of support can be job security!

Artistic Creation should never be given up entirely because you are “too busy”. We entered this field because of our love for creation and its essential power fulfills many inner needs.  Practicing artists show students, staff, and parents that they ”practice what they preach”. 

Leadership is exhibited through volunteering for those tasks that make your schools, local, state and national organizations operate well.  School programs and committees benefit our students and staff.  These activities actually carve out your “niche” in art education.  Leadership also can be reflected in continuing your education throughout life!
Your thoughts are welcome and solicited!

-Dr. Judith Haynes