Educators can always use new ideas to implement in their classroom. Art educators in particular seem to always be on the lookout for new and interesting classroom projects.
When I was teaching in Texas I got involved with an art organization called Texas Art Education Association. There was a local group in Bryan/College Station. I became a member and got to know several local art teachers. The local group met once a month, I think, and usually someone from the group would bring supplies and teach us an art activity they used in their classroom. I got many great ideas when I went to these meetings.
TAEA has a conference once a year. Many teachers told me I really should try to go to the conference. But, I would have to take off work, prepare for a substitute, blah, blah, blah… Excuses. Anyway, one year I actually went. I had no idea what I was missing all those years. What an incredible learning experience the conference was.
I came home with new ideas, a shopping bag full of art supply samples and catalogues from the trade show, new friends and art connections. I learned how to fuse glass, make a book, abstract a drawing and do a self-portrait. These are just the demonstrations I went to.
There were numerous different lectures and demonstrations available. When you signed up for the conference you were given a list of all the classes and workshops. You were allowed to reserve your spot in two of the most sought after workshops. The rest of the workshops were first come first serve. I had a blast. I am so glad I finally participated.
As a member of TAEA I became involved with VASE. VASE stands for Visual Arts Scholastic Event. It is sponsored by TAEA. If you are an art teacher in Texas you really need to look into this. The mission statement for the event is as follows:
“The mission of the TAEA Visual Scholastic Event is to recognize exemplary student achievement in the Visual Arts by providing art students and programs a standard of excellence in which to achieve.”
Through the years several of my students entered VASE. It was a great educational experience for them. Each year I could see growth in their work. The students were required to be interviewed by judges to discuss their work and their creative process. I have to admit that some of my students suffered from stage fright, but they quickly over came it. Each year the students looked forward to the event more and more. It was great to hear the experienced students giving advice to the novices. By the way, the students were judged according to how much art education they had, so beginners were not competing with Art IV students.
Getting to look at all the art work at the end of the day was a wonderful treat. The hardest part was waiting while the judging was going on. But TAEA even had some entertaining activities for the students to participate in.
VASE started out as a high school event, but has added a junior high competition as well. I won’t go into all the details here, but if you are interested go to the VASE website.
According to the TAEA website, VASE is the only art event of its kind in the United States. I do not know what other events are available in other states or nations for that matter. I would love to find out. So, art teachers around the world let me hear from you. What student art events are available where you are? Also, what art associations do you belong to?