Monthly Mentor

Krissy Ponden (June)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Krissy has been teaching art to elementary and middle school children for the past 15 years in addition to serving as the department chair. She is the co-coordinator of her school’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee and currently serves on the NAEA Commission for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion as the Middle Division Commissioner. Click "GO" to read her full bio.



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May 20, 2020

Meet Trauma-informed Expressive Arts Educator Sara M Gant

By Michelle Harrell


Art educators inspire me. Over the last three weeks, I’ve introduced you to two art educators, Holly Bess Kincard and ER Gibbons who use visual journals with students as well as their personal practice as art educators. Today, I want to introduce you to one of the most inspiring art educators I know: Sara M. Gant. At the end of the month, Sara will retire from teaching high school art to develop her work as a trauma-informed expressive arts educator in her Artworks studio in Jacksonville, NC.

You may already have been inspired by Sara through her presentation during the NAEA Professional Learning webinar last November: Supporting Student Emotional Needs Through Art: Practical Everyday Techniques for Art Educators. The webinar is even more relevant in today’s COVID-19 context than when I first heard it. Supporting students’ emotional needs is more important during these challenging times than ever before. If you follow her through social media, you also know what an amazing visual journal artist she is. Everytime I see Sara, I love to look thumb through her visual journals to see the richly layered text and doodles. Her work is bold, colorful, and fun. 

In this post on my personal website, I interview Sara about how she uses visual journals as part of her self-care plan as an art educator. Sara discusses how she has experimented with various sizes and types of sketchbooks until she found the right one. She explores how she approaches the blank page, and provides tips for those new to visual journaling. She discusses the peaks and valleys of creating as an art educator and how she felt at the end of a particularly long creative block of not working in her visual journal. Read our interview and create your own visual journal page inspired by Sara’s approach to writing and doodling to help you get into a flow or zone of mindfulness. Follow Sara on Instagram @artbrit to see her responses and share your response by post it on social media using #JournalCare as a hashtag and follow up to see how others respond through their visual journal.

Post your visual journal on social media using our #JournalCare hashtag and follow along to see what others create.

Gant News

 - MH


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