Monthly Mentor

Matthew Neylon (July)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Matthew is a graduate of the 2017 NAEA School for Art Leaders and cofounder of CONNECT, an organization that connects art teachers from independent schools around Atlanta with resources and relationships to excel and thrive. He has presented to hundreds of educators and artists annually, on various topics including wellness through the arts, trauma-informed arts education, storytelling, leadership, STEAM/art integration, and curriculum design. Click "GO" to read his full bio.



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March 05, 2019

Keynote Address for Youth Art Month Celebration at PMA - March 2019

By Holly Houston

Good Evening. Thank you to all who have made this amazing event possible. I am honored to be speaking to you tonight. I’d like to frame my remarks around five quotes that ring clear to me as an artist and art educator:

“Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best.” Henry Van Dyke

You have to start somewhere. You all CLEARLY have something to say and you say it so well (or your art would probably not be on the museum wall right now). Remember that if you are ever feeling that you aren’t the best artist and others have so much more talent, that you, too, have talent and if we all waited for only the very best to make art, there would be very little new art to enjoy. We ALL must contribute to the absolutely essential and varied world of art to see it continue to grow and flourish.

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
Art makes people FEEL. It gives messages of hope, sadness, happiness, anger, and so much more. It has the power to describe SO MUCH--from how you feel about your new puppy to your frustration about the amount of plastic in our oceans to a personal journey you have experienced.

Have you ever stood in front of a piece of art, either by a classmate or in a museum or gallery, and gotten lost in how it makes you feel? It is an amazing sensation! What I think is so very wonderful is that different pieces of art make me feel differently, and the experience I feel when I stand in front of a certain piece of art is likely to be different than what you experience. It might be similarly powerful, but different.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Be open to learning new things.
Surround yourself with people who can teach you new things.
Take chances. Try something new. That can be scary. Sometimes you’ll create a mess. But sometimes you’ll make a masterpiece. Isn’t that worth trying for?

“Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered.” Michelle Obama

There are a lot of things that fill your days. You are responsible for other classes, not just art. You play sports, like to read, have chores and jobs. If art is something you love to do, make it happen. Your artwork’s presence on the wall outside this room is evidence that you are a creative thinker who cares about making your mark. Let this empower you to continue to do so.

“Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else.” Fred Rogers

I feel very certain that your having your art hanging here in this month, in this year, is not going to be the end of your art career. This is the beginning. Let this be the fuel for your creative flame. Let this be your connection to museums and galleries for the rest of your life. YOU have your art hanging at THE PORTLAND MUSEUM of ART. That is very cool! You make us proud to be your art teachers, your friends, and your family. THIS is just the beginning. Please continue to sing with your art so that the woods of our lives will not be silent.

Thank you.



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