Professional Learning

8 Reasons to Attend an Art Ed Conference

There is something special–and incredibly motivational–about spending time with a room full of other art teachers. Art ed conferences provide a chance to see incredible presentations, learn about new topics in art ed, and bring relevant ideas back to your classroom. Attending a conference can give you the inspiration and motivation you need to be the best art teacher you can be. There are a variety of options–local conferences, national conferences, and even online conferences–and there are so many reasons for you to make sure you can attend at least one of them!

Below is a list of the best reasons for you to attend your next conference, online or in person!

1. Hear From Incredible Presenters

You never know what kind of artists, authors, and academics you will be able to hear from at a conference. For example, I had the opportunity to work with Sandy Skoglund at a Nebraska Art Teachers Association conference two years ago. And, this year’s New York state conference will have contemporary artist Nick Cave.

Art Ed Now has featured famous artists like Faith Ringgold and Romero Britto, as well as well-known authors such as Drew Daywalt, Mike Venezia, and Danny Gregory. Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson was even the featured presenter at the Summer 2017 conference. Keep an eye out for an upcoming announcement on who will be presenting at February’s Winter 2018 conference!

2. Learn About the Most Relevant Topics in Art Ed

The important thing about conferences is that because the content is new each year, it reflects the most relevant topics in art ed. Art Ed Now is no exception. Whether you’re looking for curriculum ideas, new lessons, classroom management strategies, or anything else, there’s a good chance Art Ed Now will have what you need.

If you are looking to find out about the most recent happenings where you teach, find a local workshop or attend your state conference. There, you’ll be able to find information about your specific state standards or requirements.

3. Dive Into the Topics You Care About

Everyone is passionate about something different when it comes to art ed. One of the best parts of attending a conference is that you will have the chance to chat and interact with like-minded individuals who share your interests.

You can also curate your conference experience to focus on the topics you care about most. Whether you love assessment, creativity, or technology, chances are someone else feels the same! Seek out the presentations and people that allow you to follow your passion. It will make your entire conference experience better.

4. Network with Other Art Ed Leaders

As you attend more conferences, you’ll start seeing familiar faces in both the attendees and the presenters. At both the local and national levels you may even find people that you “know” from online, whether it’s through Facebook groups, The Art of Education, or personal blogs. Don’t be afraid to seek them out, and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Over time, these presenters and attendees become a group to whom you can reach out to improve what you do in your classroom. Enjoying a conference with like-minded individuals becomes one of the best parts of attending!

5. Set Aside Time to Create

For so many people, the opportunities to create hands-on work are few and far between. If you can find one of those rare occasions, and it’s during a conference, so much the better! Be on the lookout for workshops, studio spaces, and materials that will allow you to spend time making art during your time at the conference. It doesn’t get any better than that.

6. Load Up on Swag

Have you seen the amazing things you can come home with from a conference? I am always fascinated by those teachers who bring an entire extra suitcase to carry all of their free supplies back home. When it comes to price, you can’t beat free, right?

One of the best benefits of attending the Art Ed Now online conference is that the swag gets shipped right to your door. A free box of art supplies, delivered to your front door the week of the event? Who doesn’t want that?

7. Grow As An Educator

Let’s be clear–this is undoubtedly the most important reason for attending a conference. For as much as we talk about wanting and needing relevant and meaningful PD, conferences are absolutely the best opportunity you can find. Make sure you take advantage when the chance comes your way. Find new ideas, reflect on those ideas, and figure out how to implement those ideas in your classroom to become a better teacher.

8. Become Inspired

Discovering new, relevant, and exciting ideas for your classroom is an ongoing challenge. There is no better place to find what you need than an art ed conference. You will leave feeling refreshed, inspired, and excited to go back to your classroom!

There are a lot of reasons to attend an art ed conference, but none as important as this: it will make you a better teacher. Whether you are looking for information or inspiration, you can find what you need when you are together with other art teachers. Whether it be a local workshop, a state conference, a national convention, or an amazing online conference, make sure you make it a priority to attend one soon! You will thank yourself for making the decision!

What are your biggest reasons for attending art ed conferences?

How do art ed conferences help make you a better teacher?

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.


Timothy Bogatz

Tim Bogatz is AOEU’s Content & PD Event Manager and a former AOEU Writer and high school art educator. He focuses on creativity development, problem-solving, and higher-order thinking skills in the art room.

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