Art Family

It's Sunday. My birthday was yesterday and yes, of course I wore my birthday crown all day. Why wouldn't I? I spent my birthday surrounded by my art family at the Tennessee Art Education Association Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. So, today I am feeling inspired, refreshed and blessed by the amazing things I learned, experienced and made at the conference. Tomorrow, I will enter my classroom with my Art Bag packed full of new ideas, skills and renewed passion for teaching...and I also managed to pick up some "freebies" for my students who will ask me if I brought them something from my trip. I also presented a workshop on Narrative and Folk Art. I shared Faith Ringgold's Narrative Quilt, "Tar Beach." I spoke about Faith and how she has inspired me. I also shared the work of Louisiana Folk Artist Clementine Hunter and compared it with my Aunt Sibyl's folk art--both equally wonderful art story-tellers. I also shared my own narrative work..a triptych music box that I made in honor of my mother and artist Aminah Robinson. I showed those who came to my workshop story blocks that my students had made. Then they made art blocks with their own stories painted on them. It was a moving experience for some of them as they began to remember their stories and consider them as art. It moved me to hear their stories and to see their art. It needed to be needed to be expressed. Art has that power. I hope that if you teach art and if you are reading this that you belong to your state art organization. If you join the National Art Education Association, you already are a member, but you need to connect. Go to your conference. Meet your art family. They need you..and even if you don't realize it, you need them. If you're not an art teacher, and you still have a story that needs to be expressed, grab a scrap of anything and begin to make marks that expresses how you feel about that memory. Hopefully it will be a pleasant the reunion I experienced yesterday on my birthday.