Afterthoughts from the 2006 NAEA Conference

“Crown Fountain” by Jaume Plensa; “Cloud Gate” by Anish Kappor; “Flamingo” by Alexander Calder.

One of most enjoyable parts of my trip to Chicago for the NAEA conference last week was getting out of the hotel and roaming the city in search of public art, which there is plenty of to see. As for the conference itself, I was able to attend only a few presentations due to being tied up in meetings much of the time.

I was most impressed with Krzysztof Wodiczko’s talk about his large-scale slide and video projections on architectural facades and monuments. A gentle man who leaves you with much to think about through his work and words.

Kelly Maron and Russell Horvath, two Illinois art teachers, discussed a postcard exchange project they implemented between their students who live only an hour’s drive from each other, but are “worlds apart.” Maron and Horvath encouraged other art teachers to use the postcard project idea to connect with other schools around the country. For more information, visit The Postcard Project and the Yahoo! Groups site that have been set up to facilitate finding and swapping postcards between schools.

Florida art teachers Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillian took time in their session on artist trading cards (ATCs) to talk about the Pinwheels for Peace project that led to over 500,000 pinwheels being produced and planted in over 1,350 locations around the world last year. To learn more about the project and how your students can participate on the next International Day of Peace (September 21, 2006), visit the Pinwheels for Peace site.

Pennsylvania art teachers Mary Elizabeth Meier and Kris Fontes discussed how they present artist trading cards in their classrooms and arrange for ATC Family Nights after school. See the Union City Arts Education site for more information and galleries of ATCs made by students, teachers, and parents. Also, check out Kris Fontes page and you’ll see why she was selected by the Pennsylvania Art Education Association as Outstanding Middle Level Art Teacher for 2005! Some great student work shown there.

Lastly, Mary Elizabeth and Kris are collaborating with me on the ATCs in the Classroom website, which was launched just a few weeks ago. If you have an interest in doing ATCs with your students, be sure to check out that site over the next few months as we continue to develop its resources.