Magazine article School Arts

Why Join an Art Education Organization? Part 1

Magazine article School Arts

Why Join an Art Education Organization? Part 1

Article excerpt

Why should we participate in professional art education organizations? Why spend extra money for dues? Why not just join the same education organization that the rest of the school faculty belongs to and forego the hassle of asking administrators for release time to attend art conventions?

There are many good reasons for belonging to your local, state, and national professional art education organizations. When you actively participate, you develop networks with other art educators. Professional organizations provide opportunities for professional development, service, and leadership. Your teaching improves as you keep up with new ideas about methods, materials, techniques, and philosophies for teaching art.

Networking

As the only art teacher in my school, I was sometimes considered a little strange by the rest of the faculty when I wandered into the faculty room with clay covered hands and paint spattered clothes. After awhile, even I was beginning to wonder about myself. Then, at the first National Art Education Association (NAEA) Convention that I attended, when I walked through the exhibitors' hall, I suddenly realized that I was not alone. There were hundreds of folks like me all over the room creating art as fast as they could. Here was a body of artists, who happened to be educators, who couldn't wait to create art.

A valuable reason for being active in your art education organizations is that it is fun to meet and work with other art educators outside of your own little world. When I first attended local art conferences, I met some other teachers and art coordinators, and then gradually, as I returned to these events, I met these familiar faces again, and eventually these professional acquaintances became friends. As we laughed through our efforts in hands-on workshops, we forged friendships.

As I've met other educators in my region, state, and nation, I've discovered that many share similar problems and worry with the same issues. For example, I was surprised to discover that I was not the only art teacher struggling to convince school guidance counselors that college-bound honor students who desperately want to take art will benefit from enrolling in an art course. …

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