Art Educator as Artist

NAEA Town Hall Conversations | June 8, 2021

Art Educator as Artist

View the June 8 recording here

Download the accompanying handout here

Join us for the June NAEA Town Hall Conversation as we collaborate to inspire your inner artist. We know you are likely immersed daily in artmaking with your learners, but can we help you tend to your own practice? Connect with a variety of arts educators who have found ways to honor their own artmaking as well as create unique experiences for their communities through projects and workshops. And, it’s perfect timing, as we prepare for summer and look forward to picking up our own tools and dedicating some quality time to making, creating, and expressing!

Complete information on all NAEA Town Hall Conversations is available here.


Michelle Angela Ortiz
Visual Artist, Philadelphia, PA

Michelle Angela Ortiz is a visual artist, muralist, community arts educator, and filmmaker who uses her art as a vehicle to represent people and communities whose histories are often lost or co-opted. Through community arts practices, painting, documentaries, and public art installations, she creates a safe space for dialogue around some of the most profound issues communities and individuals may face. Her work tells stories using richly crafted and emotive imagery to claim and transform spaces into visual affirmations that reveal the strength and spirit of the community.

For 20 years, Ortiz has designed and created more than 50 large-scale public works nationally and internationally. Since 2008, Ortiz has led art for social change public art projects in Costa Rica and Ecuador. She has served as a cultural envoy through the U.S. Embassy in Fiji, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Venezuela, Honduras, and Cuba.

Cheryl Pope
Artist and Adjunct Full Professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Cheryl Pope is an interdisciplinary visual artist that questions and responds to issues of identity as it relates to the individual and the community, specifically in regards to race, gender, class, history, power, and place. Her practice emerges from the act and politics of listening.

Pope is an adjunct full professor at the School of the Art Institute Chicago and is represented by the Monique Meloche Gallery.

James Rees
Artist, Researcher, and Teacher, Provo High School, Provo, UT

While maintaining his studio practice, James Rees has taught art for more than 29 years at the university and high school levels. He currently serves as an At-Large Commissioner for the NAEA National Research Commission and has previously served on the NAEA Board as the Pacific Region Vice President and the Secondary Division Director. He is a Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholar and has also received several awards for his teaching, most recently as the National Art Educator of the Year from NAEA. As a practicing artist, Rees has had several residencies and fellowships throughout the United States. He is an Art21 Educators alum and has worked as a mentor teacher for School of the Arts Institute of Chicago’s Teacher’s Institute for Contemporary Art. He is also an appointed panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. He is passionate in his advocacy for the arts and serves on several national advisory boards and state art education committees.

Marissa Reyes
Chief Learning and Engagement Officer, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR

Marissa Reyes is the chief learning and engagement officer for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. She has more than 20 years of experience in the arts and culture sectors, including serving as the director of learning and public programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and as associate director of programs at Urban Gateways. In her current position at Crystal Bridges, Reyes’s primary responsibility is the strategic and creative leadership of the museum’s full range of programs, including school partnerships, lectures and gallery talks, symposia, student tours and workshops, family days, teen programs, and community engagement.

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