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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May 23, 2020

A Conversation with Art Educator and Art Therapist Jodi Aker

By Michelle Harrell

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Today, I’d like to introduce you to the last of the four art educators highlighted during this month’s blog series: Jodi Aker.  We’ve met three art educators who are helping their students express the trauma of their lives during COVID-19: Holly Bess Kincaid and EJ Gibbons,  and Sara Gant. Each educator brings a variety of expertises to help students cope and nurture their own self care and well being. My final interview with Jodi Aker gives us an insight into her practice as an art educator, arts therapist, and yoga teacher. 

In my interview with Jodi on my website, we discuss the private nature of visual journaling contrasted with the public nature of a visual journaling social media challenge. Jodi shares how she has used visual journals in her yoga practice to help make physical ailments visual and more concrete. She shares advice for those who are new to visual journaling and how she accesses student journals in beginning classes versus more advanced art classes. We talk about the challenge of grading visual journals. Jodi shares how her students are using their live sessions during remote learning and how COVID-19 has impacted her plans for teaching art in the fall.

Jodi has been co-leading the #JournalCare 30 day challenge contributing prompts such as Word Art, New Favorites and responding to all of them. Follow Jodi @3joedee on Instagram or visit her web site to see her responses and share your response by post it on social media using #JournalCare as a hashtag and follow along to see how others respond through their visual journal.

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-MH

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