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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May 16, 2019

Connecting the Art World With Art Education

By Frank Juarez

IMG_6028Presenting at the Kinnektor Conference at Lambeu Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

For many of us, art has been a part of our upbringing. My first memory of making art was in grade school. I vividly remember competing against my best friend to see who was the better artist. I brought my signature Scooby-Doo to the table and he would draw his ninja. After the drawings, the other students would clap to determine the winner. The year was 1984. I was 9 years old.

In 2005, my life centered around art and art education. I was teaching high school art and creating my own artwork. I was content, but not fully happy. I knew there was more to art than teaching and creating so I started to move out of my comfort zone to find these experiences. I was very curious. I was driven.

During that time, I was already involved in a local art group called The Milwaukee Area Teachers of Art (MATA). It was a great source for art, art education, veteran art teachers and practicing artists. This is when I began to connect the dots with art and art education. I was learning first hand on how important it is to be involved outside of the classroom and bringing what I am learning into my teaching practice. Things that I have learned were how to advocate for art education, promote my art and program, search for exhibition opportunities, sell my art, and find ways to collaborate on projects.

I embraced these experiences and have been implementing them into my teaching practice ever since. It has opened many doors to a sea of opportunities and expanded the way I think.

I believe that the world of art is a 360-degree experience. Every aspect of being an art teacher, an artist, a gallery owner, a published author, and/or an arts advocate can benefit your students and their education. It guides you to determine which experiences you want to bring into your classroom. It allows your students to see the possibilities of finding their own voice.

Here is a list of suggestions to get involved:

  • State art organization
  • Local art group
  • Local art organization
  • Art center
  • Galleries
  • Institutions
  • SchoolArts Magazine

F7B57412-2986-4FC2-A495-87638B6EC131-20667-000016C0DF820A1DLooking at the work of Milwaukee-based artist, John Kowalczyk

JUA_2618Viewing “Untitled” by Jean-Michel Basquiat at the Seattle Art Museum

JUA_5411Photo taken in the East Market District, Louisville, Kentucky

IMG_1330Studio visit with Madison-based artist, Trent Miller



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