UW-Stout Art Education students at National Art Education Convention

APRIL 1ST 2016

For four days over spring break, eight UW-Stout Art Education students traveled to Chicago to attend the world's largest art education convention, hosted by the National Art Education Association (NAEA).  The trip was made possible by Arts Integration Menomonie (A.I.M.), as part of their mission to support future teachers of the arts. Art Education students had to apply to be accepted for this opportunity.  

Tami Weiss, program director for Art Education at UW-Stout, stated that “We had such a great response after sending four students to the state art education convention in Appleton last fall that I decided that we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to engage our future art teachers in the most meaningful professional development event that a teacher can have- a national convention.”

The convention featured presenters from all different walks of life and experience.  When combined with the attendees, all 50 states and more than 30 countries were represented at the conference.  “I met people from all over the nation that share the same passions that I do, and was able to see the community that we are as art educators as well as artists.  As a group we were able to share lesson plans and our new gained knowledge with each other,” remarked student Abby Henderson.  

Between the eight UW-Stout students, over 100 seminars were attended during the convention.  Notably, one of the most powerful seminars was called Focusing Without Sight led by Emilie Gossiaux.  Gossiaux, an artist who lost her sight in an accident, continues to teach and overcome her disabilities through art making.  Attendees of this seminar were given the task of creating a work of art that utilized different senses in order to engage the participants in a story. “This task proved to be more challenging than I had originally anticipated, but process was quite enjoyable, and made my group and I think outside of what we know about art from a purely visual standpoint,” recent  UW-Stout graduate, Kelsey Kuehl commented.

“Emilie now teaches classes on how to create art without sight and focusing on emotions from other senses. This was a beautiful way to experience artwork, something that you can understand even without looking at it,” observed student Olivia Revolinski.  “These are the types of teachers I only dream to be. Teachers that care and are passionate about their students and how much they can learn in their little time with us as teachers.”

For many of the students the experience of being in Chicago- a city filled with art- was the highlight. As part of the convention, students were also able to visit the Art Institute of Chicago, and see the Vincent Van Gogh exhibit.   “I’ll never forget it.  The museum was absolutely incredible. I felt as if I could spend weeks there,” said Sami LaClair.

“I cannot begin to describe how wonderful of a time I had while attending the National NAEA Conference.  From interacting and making connections with other art teachers, to viewing some of the most famous works of art in the world at the Art Institute of Chicago, I had an amazing learning experience that I know I will carry on to my future career as an art teacher,” shared Erin Jacobi.

The students’ trip, including registration, travel, lodging and even an added project-based session of each attendee’s choosing was sponsored by Arts Integration Menomonie (A.I.M.) a UW-Stout-based program funded by the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.  Weiss stated, “A meaningful experience like this impacts a future teacher’s desire to continue in the profession by connecting teachers from all over the state or nation with one another, and establishing a professional community of art teachers.”

According to Olivia Murwin, “The best part about having so many creative minds on one spot is that we can share our ideas with each other. I was having such a great time listening to other educators tell their stories that I almost forgot that most of them live on the other side of the country!”

Grace Rogers added, “I’ve had many opportunities through the UW-Stout Art Education program but this has by far been the most challenging and engaging, pushing me out of my comfort zone to try new things.  It was fascinating being able to attend as a current student who is also an educator because it gives me the chance to really see ideas from both sides of education.”

“I feel very lucky to have had this experience and would love to see and be a part of more opportunities like this one,”  commented Abby Henderson.

Olivia Revolinski shared, “I am very grateful and honored to be provided with the opportunity for this conference. It inspired me that there are inspiring people out in the field. Teachers that long for success for their students, being surrounded with that energy, was empowering.”

The following UW-Stout Art Education students were sponsored by AIM to attend the recent NAEA convention:

Kelsey Kuehl (December 2015 graduate)
Nalani Mules (current student teacher)
Grace Rogers (current art education student)
Abby Henderson (current art education student)
Erin Jacobi (current art education student)
Olivia Revoliski (current art education student)
Olivia Murwin (current art education student)
Sami LaClair (current art education student)

Sami LaClair summed up her experience with this, “Not a minute felt wasted. I feel like I was constantly learning and inspired and in my own element with so many others as well, and it really reminded me why I chose to be an art teacher. “

As for future opportunities, Erin Jacobi stated, “I would recommend to any art education students just starting out in the program, that you take advantage of opportunities that are given to you to make connections with other pre-service students and current art teachers.  If anything, it will only help you grow and develop as future art educators”