Conference Wrap-Up

Written by Melody Weintraub, President-Elect

We recently wrapped up our 2017 Fall State Conference, “Every Artist Tells a Story,” in Memphis (October 26-28), hosted by Memphis College of Art, (MCA) with over 120 members participating in nine Two-Day Workshops and thirteen Super Sessions! Arts Memphis provided a scholarship grant for twenty participants to attend our conference. Shelby County Schools recently provided NAEA/TAEA memberships to all of their district art teachers which immediately helped bump up our membership and add to the success of our conference.

Our keynote speaker was artist and art educator Olivia Gudewho is the Angela Gregory Paterakis Professor of Art Education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Professor Emerita at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

On Thursday evening our Awards Banquet was held at The Fogelman Center on the University of Memphis Campus. After a delicious dinner, awards were given to the following:

Tennessee Art Educator of the Year-Tina Atkinson

East Region Art Educator of the Year-Mary Katherine Chin

Middle Region Art Educator of the Year-Ted Edinger

West Region Art Educator of the Year-Amanda Tutor

Elementary Art Educator of the Year-Rebekah Laurenzi

Middle Level Art Educator of the Year-Beth Perthel

Secondary Art Educator of the Year-Carol Vinson

Administration/Supervision Art Educator of the Year-Heather Casteel

Higher Education Art Educator of the Year-Joy Bertling

Museum Art Educator of the Year-Brooke Griffith

Emeritus Art Educator of the Year-Flowerree McDonough

First Year Art Educator of the Year-Ericka Ryba

Pre-Service Art Educator of the Year-Gracie Knestrick

Higher Education Student Achievement Award-Heather Eades

Distinguished Service within the Profession Award-Brad Foust

National Art Honor Society Sponsor of the Year-Cindy Bennett

Friends of TAEA Awards-Richard Ranta and Watkins College of Art

Friday morning registration began with a breakfast sponsored by Memphis College of Art. Participants received a red swag bag full of art goodies donated by local and national vendors. After the morning address and super sessions, lunch was provided by The University of Memphis. Super Sessions included “Digital Curriculum and 21st Centruy Art Education” led by a conference special guest and SchoolArts Editor, Nancy Walkup. 

Workshops began after lunch. This year’s two-day workshops included:

Oilsticks with Paul deMarrais, Painting with Scott Manning, Clay with Wendie Love, Blacksmithing with Bill Price, Monotype Printing with Koichi Yamamoto, Fibers with Grace Eckert, Steampunk with Melody Weintraub, 3D Printing with Cat Normoyle and Sketchbooks with Joseph Christy. Following the first day of workshops, attendees heard the keynote address by Olivia Gude and then everyone moved upstairs for the Friday Night Reception. Food for the reception was hosted by Memphis College of Art. The reception included a live band, three hands-on workshops, vendors and an Artisan’s Market. The highlight of the evening for many was the Amurica Photo Booth Trailer where participants got their photos made and printed for a tip donation to Youth Art Month (YAM).

Saturday began with another keynote by Olivia Gude who shared her work with community collaborative mosaic murals. The audience was inspired by her work as well as her passion for visual arts education. Following her keynote, Amanda Galbraith, Kathy Dumlao, Heather Casteel, Angela Christopher and James Wells lead all attendees in a Breakout Session, “Creating an Arts Education Future.” Sessions included sharing student success stories, creating belief and position statements, crafting an influential message and establishing priorities for art education in Tennessee. This also included a selfie-video challenge where participants recorded a personal statement about, “Why Art Matters!” These videos were then uploaded onto social media sites as advocacy tools.

After the breakout sessions, everyone gathered back into the auditorium for Door Prize Giveaways and to acknowledge the service of Past-President and Conference-Coordinator, Donna Anderson. Each person in the audience was able to walk away with a door prize, thanks to the generous donations from so many vendors and organizations, including NAEA who gave a one-year membership and Tennessee Arts Academy who awarded a scholarship to the summer their summer conference in Nashville. Lunch followed, as everyone got a taste of Memphis barbeque from Stanley’s Barbeque which was sponsored by Davis Publications. The conference concluded back in the studios for the second day of workshops. All participants seemed to walk away with a renewed vision for arts education, fresh ideas to implement in the classroom and new art friends to begin a new chapter with, after all, “Every Artist Tells a Story.”