Last Friday I was fortunate to be able to attend the 2014 VATA Conference at Shelburne Museum. There were many aspects of this day that were inspiring and rejuvenating. It was really exciting to be in a room full of art educators from around the state, knowing that we share many interests, passions and challenges. The keynote speaker, Jessica Balsley of www.theartofed.com, is a noted art educator, blogger and leader in art education professional development. She spoke about how to be an "Empowered Art Teacher." I appreciated how she acknowledged the challenges that many art teachers face, while giving tools and suggestions for how to build successful, meaningful art programs. Overall, this day served to remind me about why I love my job and why I feel that art is an essential element of education. I am excited to bring some of Jessica's ideas for empowerment into my classroom and my practice and I look forward to continuing to empower students through the arts.
The Shelburne Museum was the perfect location for this conference, and we were lucky enough to have some time to explore the exhibits and observe school children on field trips in action. I visited the printing factory to watch as the Shelburne Museum alphabet was printed on an old printing press.