Professional Learning

The Importance of Attending an Art Conference

There are many reasons why art teachers don’t attend local art conferences. Some of the most common reasons include the cost of attending (including cost of hotel, food, using a personal day or the district paying for a substitute) and people not thinking the conference is worth their time. I beg you to reconsider attending your local conference, you won’t regret it!

Here’s Why Every Art Teacher Should Attend an Art Conference

1. Learn about what’s happening at the state level in art education.

Many states are making changes in art education standards. Attending a conference helps you get up to date regarding these changes. The state of Iowa is in the process of adopting a statewide core curriculum for art. The conference allowed me to learn more about the upcoming changes.

2. Get FREE stuff!

Art education conferences are filled with vendors wanting to show you their new products and give you free samples. Some of these freebies include: markers, glaze, posters, pens, pencils and paper. What art teacher doesn’t like free stuff? Plus, they often have display copies of books and other supplies so you can look at them and try them out before you purchase.

3. Collaborate with other art teachers.

Art conferences are filled with other art teachers. Find a way to collaborate with them. I met numerous art teachers who were willing to share their contact information and share lesson plans or strategies they have used. One teacher even offered to have my visit their classroom. The art conversations didn’t stop once the convention ended. I went to dinner with another art teacher and attended an opening art reception at the art museum. Then I shared a hotel room with a different art teacher. There was art talk from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed. I was in art teacher heaven.

4. Get to know new art teachers.

Create connections across the state. You never know when you will have a question and you will need someone else’s expertise. The more conventions you attend and the more people you meet, the bigger your circle of knowledge becomes. Make new friends, but keep the old!

5. Become empowered.

At the Iowa Art Educators conference, I learned: how to better assess my students using both formative and summative assessments, how to advocate for my art program, the importance of public art in our communities and more importantly, in our schools. I walked away from the conference filled with ideas, eager to teach new lessons and was reminded how I am the voice for art in my school and community. I’m empowered to speak louder.

Check out Bloom’s Taxonomy… do you notice anything different?

image via
image via

Art and creativity is important- it’s at the top! (Evaluation used to be at the top.)

6. Grow as a professional.

Art teachers need professional development that is ridiculously relevant to art. In addition to the AOE classes, a conference allows teachers to learn and grow as an art professional. Many conferences offer graduate credit if you attend the full conference and complete a small assignment.

7. Have Fun! Make ART!

There are many opportunities to make art at art education conferences. The Iowa conference had a stencil making class and glass fusing class. Doesn’t that sound like a blast? If you don’t end up attending a hands-on art class, at least you will walk away with many new lesson ideas for your students to get messy and creative.

Why do you take the time to attend Art Conferences?

What is your most memorable “Ah Ha” from an Art Conference?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Cassidy Reinken

Cassidy Reinken, an art educator, is a former AOEU Writer. She enjoys helping students solve problems and reach their potential.

More from Cassidy