Monday, November 11, 2013

Greetings! From Day 2

It is a beautiful fall morning here, just south of Boston. 
Driving down to the South Coast, not to be confused with the South Shore, the last two days, the sun warmly greeted me, rising through the trees much like the image above. I don't always get to appreciate the beauty as I rush off to work in the morning. The chance to relax with hardly anyone else on the road and my music coming through the speakers, was very welcomed.

The second day of the MAEA regional conference was held at UMass Dartmouth's New Bedford Campus, also fondly called the Star Store. Before the university purchased the building, sometime before 2001, the building was a store, hence the name. The artisan program is housed here in addition to gallery and studio space.

My studio space was behind the column on the right in the photo above. I had a large table, a section of cork board and access to print tables and the dye kitchen pictured below.

I spent a lot of time here junior and senior year, wearing my blue apron, plugged into my first ever iPod.

The first session I took yesterday was absolutely for selfish reasons and I'm not afraid to say it! (Nor was I the only one!)  I spent many hours at these printmaking tables as an undergraduate and when I saw that my professor was leading a workshop, I absolutely had to sign up. While he couldn't remember my name, he did remember my face!

The photo process printmaking that was demonstrated for us would seriously need to be adapted, modified and previously prepared if it was to work with even high school students. I think the biggest take away as art educators was the idea of inquiry. There is so much left to chance, or the unknown, between light exposure times, how much time in the developer, what certain materials and pigments will and will not do... the list could go on... but printmaking can provide students with a sense of play and questioning that students can so often loose with painting or drawing. I guess that's what I took from the session. Others may have had a hard time with it, but beyond printing making for oneself, I can see it could benefit the students.

The second session I attended was about how a small, disjointed, hardly recognized art department became a power house in a now regional-ized high school. The quote above is placed on every bulletin and program this department publishes. I left the session empowered by some great ideas and much to think about over the next years...

I totally skipped the lunch provided by the conference, even though the buffet the day before was awesome. Instead I opted for the local burrito joint, No Problemo. I "checked-in" on Facebook and let me tell you, my friends were all sooo jealous. There are a bunch of places to eat and shop in New Bedford, in fact the little down town area, complete with cobblestone streets, has had a bit of a comeback in recent years. But nothing beats No Problemo. The food is fresh and tastey and the music and skate culture is popular with the clientele and staff alike. Its the kind of place that writes on the chalk board near the tip jar "a free kiss with every tip." (I didn't get mine.)

This has gone on way too long. I will wrap up with this:
The UMass Dartmouth Art Education Association Student Chapter had a great presence at the conference. You could tell that each was involved in some capacity or another, from attending the sessions, to guiding conference goers, to discussion panels. The buttons on the right and in the middle above were being sold by the chapter as a fundraiser. They are trying to raise enough money to represent UMass at the National Art Education Association Conference in San Diego this spring. In addition to the buttons, students produced 8"x8" art works, displayed in a gallery the second day of the conference, and held a silent auction.  Both are fantastic ideas (that I might need to steal borrow, for art club) and I wish them luck with their endeavor!

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