Western Region Column: Feb/Mar 2022

NAEA News Feb/Mar 2022

The columns for this issue of NAEA News were written prior to the 2022 National Convention. As such, you may find information about Convention sessions and references to past occurrences in the future tense.

In the hopes of reaching out to our diverse group of artists, I am either quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson or Emerson, Lake & Palmer when I say “Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends. We’re so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside.” With that, we are celebrating the completed fall conferences, many of which were in person, and inviting you to join us at the upcoming NAEA Convention in New York City. We had excellent opportunities to get back together to learn, reflect, and enhance our practice this fall, and we are looking forward to a fantastic event this March.

Arkansas had a 2021 in-person conference. It was so wonderful to see everyone in person and the conference was so fun. We had keynote speakers—Debi West and Libya Doman. We had ceramics presentations, as well as a fun trip to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock art department, where we melted metal and painted a CAR! I think a fun time was had by all!

In October, Illinois started the year on a great note with our inaugural yearly NAHS & NJAHS Leadership Conference. At the conference this year, we offered a hybrid program—in person on the 1st weekend of November and on our virtual platform the following weekend. The Collaboration for Excellence program wrapped up recently. Now we are compiling lessons that will be available to our membership. Lastly, we wrapped up our 2nd year of Schools of Distinction.

AEAI recently held an in-person fall convention, October 23–24. Around 150 attendees met at Guerin Catholic High School in Noblesville to participate in many hands-on workshops and presentations. The theme was “Reflect, Revise, Refine, and Repeat.” Keynote speaker Jessica Balsley from The Art of Education University entertained attendees with many new strategies for recharging their teaching. An award ceremony was held to honor 2020 and 2021 AEAI Award recipients. AEAI announced Barbara Miller as the Indiana Outstanding Art Educator for 2021. Barbara is a teacher at Penn High School in Mishawaka.

Texas started 2021 by looking forward to face-to-face activities and displays. We had a great YAM reception at the Governor’s Mansion. Student shows across Texas met with enthusiasm. In the fall, we rethought the live conference and made it safer. Our members surpassed our expectations and converged in Round Rock for the Texas Art Education Association Conference. We end our year with the new virtual experience.

October 2021 saw Wisconsin returning to an in-person conference! We had a great turnout despite the circumstances and were able to welcome two amazing keynotes, vendors, and food trucks. We held our awards ceremony and maker’s market as well as a fall board meeting. We are now looking forward to a great YAM celebration with a new chairperson and new venue!


AAE Board Members at Convention.

In-person awards ceremony at our conference held at Normal, Illinois.

Indiana’s 2021 Outstanding Art Educator, Barbara Miller, accepts her award at the AEAI Convention Awards Ceremony.

Masked fun from the TAEA Convention.

WAEA welcomed Nils Heyman and Daniel Bryant as keynote speakers.

Kimberly Cairy, Regional Vice President
4th–8th Grade Visual Arts and Design Educator. Tel: 989-751-6402. Email:

Theresa McGee, Art and Digital Media Educator, Hinsdale Middle School, Hinsdale, IL. Tel: 815-474-6319. Email:

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