Save the Date:
● 2020 NAEA National Convention: March 26–28 | Minneapolis, Minnesota
● 2021 NAEA National Convention: March 4-6 | Chicago, Illinois
● 2022 NAEA National Convention: March 3–5 | New York, New York
Tips for First Time Attendees:
NAEA 2015: A note on NAEA Convention in NOLA 2015
by Tiffany Miller
NOLA and NAEA was such an amazing experience! It was my first national and such a rewarding, energizing, inspiring, validating experience!! I loved it! I didn't want the conference to end. And being in New Orleans, a city that embodies Art and Music to the fullest was so fitting! I just got back last night and feel sparkly and ready to attack the end of year with new ideas and a grounded perspective. Art teachers tend to be unique, compassionate, creative people! Aren't we lucky to be a part of such people! :-)
NAEA 2013: NEW YORK, NY
A brief recollection by Courtney Christopher:
Brushing aside the remnants of a once proud hairline the fastidious gentleman in an expensive suit sat in legs-crossed contrast to his sleek white chair. Regaling the 7000 strong audience of ardent admirers with tales of counterculture glory days, Peter Max slightly betrayed the aura by his more pedestrian concerns of accumulating wealth. Through the pock-marked hubris of an artistic icon, a national convention began. Out of the grand ballroom poured art teachers from around the United States. They spilled into the conference rooms and concert halls of the Midtown Hilton and the neighboring sky-scraping Sheraton. Coffee-fueled attendees bustling from one room to the next, hour after hour from 9 am to 9 pm for four days absorbing, revering, and occasionally panning, art techniques as diverse as killer sketchbooks, to “Strangers in a Strange Land” lectures on the fate of higher education, among others added to the frenetic New York tumult. You could tell when art teachers skipped sessions by the bevy of neon-yellow deep-well give-away bags haunting the concrete canyons of Manhattan each screaming ‘I am a tourist, please mug me’. Fortunately, New Yorkers were nicer than expected. No mischief ensued. Into this environment, Marvin and I plunged, tired, but excited enough to take a rain-splattered walk through Times Square, 30 Rock, and Grand Central Station. I was camera happy (see attached presentation). Possessed of remarkable good fortune and Marvin’s good will I received a rare opportunity to marvel at the soaring edifices cast in stone and steel, not to mention the extraordinary professional opportunity of twisting my teaching techniques into something acceptable.
We self-righteously bypassed Peter Max’s autograph line in favor of headier pursuits. Later, we vindicated our prescience, when a conference mate revealed she “schlepped” a 41-year-old Peter Max clock all the way to New York only to be told he would not sign it. He only signed the $40 brand new books. Opportunist. Meanwhile, Marvin went on a tour of Chelsea’s bulging art galleries and I went to a multitude of conferences. I saw “Making the Most of Creative Discoveries: AP Studio Art-based Research”, “Portfolio Perspectives”, “Jean Shin: Artist Series, Installation Artist”, “New Perspectives on Teaching Advanced Drawing in a High School Program”, and “Creating a Culture of Sketchbooks in a High School Art Program”. I realized that even at the national conference level a disparity exists in the quality of presentations. Some made me wonder if I could ever compete. So, I did what any self-respecting lout would do, I loudly decried the use of student ringers, and their bounty of time, or (my favorite) obscene budgets. Other presenters made me feel superior. Turns out, I can embody hubris as easily as Peter Max. Marvin returned from Chelsea wide-eyed and full of pizza. “Basically” he admonished “I can’t show any contemporary art in class because it’s all school inappropriate”. We consoled ourselves with a visit to MOMA just steps down the street. MOMA was crowded. We saw works featured in Art 21 as well as a few Diego Rivera’s, but hunger and agoraphobia soon chased us from the building. We attended evening sessions and then found an adult beverage or two.
Day two started with Janine Antoni. A conceptual performance artist she stood slight and demure before the throng of badly behaving art teachers in the Grand Ballroom. Soft-spoken with hair perpetually determined to obscure her face, she let her grace flow. It washed over the audience in a quiet tide. By the time she stopped a sea of respect lapped before her. An auspicious beginning to a day culminating, after many sessions, in a trip to the Met. Halls of pyramid stone and Persian daggers beckoned and did not disappoint. Marvin and I generally geeked out over the Ingres’ grisaille Odalisque, the Sargent works, and a set of satirical prints we liked so well we bought the book. It was hard to leave the modern wing with its Picasso’s and Brancusi’s, in no small part due to the labyrinthine building, oh yes, and our artistic dedication. Returning to an evening session we experienced 101 things to do with Golden Acrylics. By 9:30pm, worn out, we traipsed back to the Sheraton to rest up for Chuck.
Chuck Close wheeled in to thunderous applause, subsequently proving he deserved it. Recounting his life, a theme emerged; work. Words wove together in patterns of pragmatic creativity. WORK. Work every day. Just get in there and work. No one left that hall uninspired. Another day of sessions and a trip or two through the exhibitors left my artistic interest and stamina drained. Marvin of course soldiered on, soaking up as many ideas as his able faculties could absorb. In late afternoon we braved MOMA once again, getting in trouble in Cindy Sherman's exhibit for taking pictures. Later, we closely inspected the DaDaists. Afterwards, I skipped out of an evening session to attend the theatre. My Dad gave me some money to see a Broadway play so I sat enthralled in “Wicked”. Dreamily, I returned to sleep. One more day would bring a set of amazing young people and a flight home.
The young people represented alumni of Scholastic arts awards and scholarships. An environmentalist sparkling with incredible verve preceded a toymaker and an astro-physicist. Eloquent, funny, and humble they embodied the importance of a creative life, promoting the future leadership in valuing art as a necessary method for resolving life’s most pernicious problems. These speakers sounded pitch perfect harmonies, encapsulating work and creativity to close a national caucus with style and hope.
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