Innovative Practices in Visual Arts, Design, and Media Arts

NAEA Town Hall Conversations | November 23, 2021

Innovative Practices in Visual Arts, Design, and Media Arts

View the November 23 recording here

Download the accompanying handout here

Join experts in conversation as we explore innovations that have arisen out of the necessity of this unique moment in time. We’ll explore on-the-ground creative strategies for instruction; student demos; displays and exhibitions; social emotional learning (SEL); and STEAM for classrooms, studios, and media labs. Also, we’ll take a look at this topic from the practicing artist’s point of view.

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


Melissa A. Butler
Writer and Educator, Reimagining Project, Pittsburgh, PA

Melissa A. Butler specializes in the art of noticing and holistic learning design. She holds an MEd in Curriculum Theory from Penn State University, an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town, and National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist. A classroom teacher for 23 years, she is founder of the Reimagining Project, and has built a career of diverse projects embedded in practices of noticing. Whether writing books, facilitating workshops, supporting families, designing for learning, or working collaboratively with organizations, her expressions are guided by questions around slowness, silence, not-knowing, boredom, perspective-taking, intrinsic motivation, curiosity, play, freedom, trust, and love.

Nettrice Gaskins
Assistant Director, Lesley STEAM Learning Lab, Lesley University, Roxbury, MA

Nettrice Gaskins teaches, writes, “fabs”, and makes art using algorithms and machine learning. She has taught multimedia, computational media, visual art, and even Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles with high school students who majored in the arts. She earned a BFA in Computer Graphics with Honors from Pratt Institute in 1992 and an MFA in Art and Technology from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1994. She received a doctorate in Digital Media from Georgia Tech in 2014. Currently, Gaskins is a resident in the Autodesk Technology Centers Outsight Network and is the assistant director of the Lesley STEAM Learning Lab at Lesley University. Her first full-length book, Techno-Vernacular Creativity and Innovation, is available through the MIT Press.

Ekene Ijeoma
Artist and Director, MIT, Boston, MA

Ekene Ijeoma is an artist, assistant professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT, and director of the Poetic Justice group at MIT Media Lab. Through his lab and studio art practices, Ijeoma researches social inequality across multiple fields to develop communal empathy through sound, video, sculpture, and installation art. His work has been presented through exhibitions and initiatives at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Contemporary Art Museum of Houston, Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis, Annenberg Space for Photography and The Kennedy Center. Ijeoma’s studio practice has been supported by grants and fellowships from Creative Capital, Map Fund, Wave Farm, New York Foundation for the Arts, and New York State Council on the Arts. In March 2021, he presented Breathing Pavilion, his first public artwork in New York City, with the Van Alen Institute and Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. Breathing Pavilion was a public light installation consisting of inflatable columns that pulsate a warm glow and emit white noise to illustrate deep breathing. As a visually and sonically guided meditation, it leads participants through reconnecting with themselves and their communities.

Tim Needles
Art Educator and Author of STEAM Power, Smithtown Schools, Sound Beach, NY

Tim Needles is an artist, educator, and author of STEAM Power: Infusing Art Into Your STEM Curriculum. He is a technology integration specialist and teaches art and media art at Smithtown School District. A TEDx Talk speaker, his work has been featured on NPR, in the New York Times, and at the Columbus Museum of Art, Norman Rockwell Museum, Alexandria Museum of Art, Katonah Museum of Art, and Cape Cod Museum of Art. He is the recipient of NAEA’s Eastern Region Art Educator Award and the AET Outstanding Teaching Award, ISTE’s Technology in Action Award and Creativity Award, and the Rauschenberg Power of Art Award. He’s the ArtEdTech Special Interest group’s president-elect, a National Geographic Certified Teacher, PBS Digital Innovator, a NASA Solar System Ambassador, an ISTE Community leader, and Adobe Creative Educator and Education Leader Emeritus. He is active on social media at @timneedles.

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