Professional Practice

What’s on Your Art Teacher Bucket List?


Being an art teacher is pretty awesome! Not only are we experts in the act of artmaking, we are walking encyclopedias of information about media, process, and technique. We’re also well-versed in history and culture because we have to be to understand the “what” and “why” of art. All this knowledge contributes to some pretty terrific goals and dreams. If we could do anything, whatever it ended up being would be amazing. I know you believe me, but check out these art teacher bucket list items from the AOE team and see for yourself!


What art teacher doesn’t have a list of amazing artwork from around the globe they are aching to see? From the Great Wall to the Great Pyramids, the world is full of amazing art. Most art teachers could easily list a passport full of locations from museums to monuments to traditional art forms they would love experience in person.

See Art History Class IRL

“My bucket list goal was to visit the places in Europe I had seen in art history class. Haven’t seen them all yet, but I’ll get there one day!” – Jen Borel

Jenny at Pisa

Check Off the Seven Wonders

I’d love to make it to all of the New Seven Wonders of the World! I’ve seen Chichen Itza and the Colosseum, so I have five left to go.

Visit Your Favorites

“I’m all about Pre-Columbian Indigenous art of the Americas. Mesoamerica and Andean regions especially. Seeing it was out of this world” – Matt Christianson


Share Your Favorites with Family

“I studied abroad in Florence, Italy for a semester which fulfilled a TON of those bucket list items. Now my bucket list is to take my daughters. I want to watch them experience what I did. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to see the looks on their faces.” – Lindsey Moss

Learn Cultural Art on Location

“I would totally recommend seeking out local arts centers when you travel. You never know what you might find! Taking a calligraphy lesson in Japan was an amazing experience! – Amanda Heyn


Professional Goals

There are so many ways art teachers can learn, grow, and achieve, and there are incredible professional development opportunities available to us. Can you imagine spending a week or two dedicated to learning about your favorite medium, technique, or pedagogy? Please, sign us all up! Plus, there are tons of things we’d love to do with our own art, assuming we can find the time in between the life-changing world travel on our lists.

Take Your Artmaking to the Next Level

Some of us aim to show more work, but can you imagine doing it competitively? Molly Wiste is a competitive woodcarver who has participated in competitions as far away as Australia.

“I compete in international carving competitions to push myself so I’m always improving. I achieve more on the edge of my comfort zone; if I’m not a little scared, I’m not growing as an artist.”


Participate in the Perfect PD

Can you imagine a whole week to dedicate to learning and making art? Lindsey can!

“My friend did the SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) art teacher summer residency. You go and make your own art for a week in these workshops, and you don’t have to cook or do laundry. Heaven! I am desperate to go.” – Lindsey Moss

Write a Book

My book The Open Art Room, co-authored with Ian Sands,  is publishing this summer. I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember. I wanted to write, but never thought I’d be able to. My first book, about incorporating student choice at the high school level, is being published this August and it’s an incredible feeling knowing that my ideas are valued!

Be a Leader in Art Education

For Jessica Balsley, the founder of The Art of Education, all she’s accomplished started with a vision and goals. In her first blog post on what would eventually become AOE, she wrote: “I aim to be a dedicated leader in the field of art education and in my own district. I value leadership as one of the most important things in my career. In life, you have three choices, you can watch things happen, wonder what just happened, or make things happen. I want to make things happen and inspire others to reach their fullest potential.”


This incredible list only scratches the surface of art-related goals to accomplish. If you had to come up with 10 items for your own art teacher bucket list, what would they be? Would you travel, make more of your own work, learn new things, accomplish huge professional goals or try some of everything? Dream them up, write them down and share them with us!

Tell us, what’s on your Art Teacher Bucket List!?

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.


Melissa Purtee

Melissa Purtee is a high school art educator and a former AOEU Writer. She is passionate about supporting diversity, student choice, and facilitating authentic expression.

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