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10 AOEU Articles that Have Stood the Test of Time

Did you know the AOEU Magazine has been around for over ten years? It’s true! On June 8th, 2010, Jessica Balsley published the first post titled My Mission of Teaching. What started as a personal blog has now grown to a full-fledged magazine with a staff of incredible writers.

Let’s take a look at how far the Magazine has come, including 10 articles from our archives that have stood the test of time.

Before we get to our top ten list, it’s important to understand where the Magazine came from. When founder Jessica Balsley set out to earn a master’s degree, her focus was on content-specific professional development. As you may have guessed, ten years ago, there was almost no content-specific PD for art teachers! 


Luckily at AOEU, we have so many ways to find relevant PD made for art teachers by art teachers. Be sure to check out PRO Learning, where you can earn PD hours as you dive into specific areas of art education. Or, check out our NOW Conference for an inspiring day of PD!


So, Jessica set out to create her own, and the blog was born. After a few years, the writing team grew, and readership skyrocketed. We knew that what we were creating went far beyond the blogosphere. We officially transitioned from blog to magazine and never looked back. Over the last ten years, the AOEU Magazine has continued to be a source of ideas and inspiration for art teachers everywhere.

Check out these amazing stats!

  • Over the last 10 years, 30 different writers have contributed to the magazine.
    75% of writers go on to teach courses or do other projects with AOEU, and 30% of writers join AOEU’s part-time or full-time staff!
  • Over the last 10 years, more than 2700 articles have been published. 
    That’s a whole lot of great ideas about art education!
  • Over the last 10 years, readership has grown steadily, and articles are read hundreds of thousands of times each month.
    We love that once art teachers find us, they keep coming back!

The last ten years have been truly incredible, and we can’t wait to see what the next ten bring.

One of the coolest things about the magazine is that the foundation from the very first blog post still rings true in everything AOEU does today.

In Jessica’s first post, she wrote, “I want to make things happen and inspire others to reach their fullest potential.” She also said, “I hope to not only motivate my own students to explore their world through art but help motivate other educators to continually advance the field of art education.” The magazine has been a steady voice in art education since the very beginning. Let’s take a look at ten articles from the archives that have stood the test of time.

10 AOEU Articles That Have Stood the Test of Time

Below you’ll find a list of ten articles from the AOEU archives that still ring true today. Click the title to read in full.

20 Characteristics All Great Art Teachers Share

just do art buttons

Are you in need of a pick-me-up? If so, check out this 2018 article, 20 Characteristics All Great Art Teachers Share, by Debi West. You’ll be reminded of the important role you play in countless students’ lives.

15 Memes Only Art Teachers Will Understand

unicorn barfing
Original image via Know Your Meme

If you need a laugh, be sure to check out this list of hilarious memes just for art teachers. This was a hit when Melissa Purtee put it together in 2017 and is just as funny today.

100 Sketchbook Prompts Your Students Will Love

sketchbook download

There’s a reason this is one of our most popular articles ever. With 100 fresh sketchbook ideas, it’s something teachers keep coming back to over and over. A huge thank you to Tim Bogatz, who put this gem together in 2015!

15 Things Nobody Tells You About Being an Art Teacher

Teacher training only takes you so far. That’s why it’s so important to have mentors in the field. When Alicia Kaczmarek put this article together in 2014, it resonated heavily with our readers. It’s definitely worth another look!

A Step-by-Step Guide to Standing Up for Yourself at Work This Fall

making a list

It’s no secret that we can feel left out or outright disrespected at work. In this article from 2017, Lindsey Moss gives you practical ways to stick up for yourself when things get tough. She offers concrete ways to advocate for yourself so you can have the best school year possible!

100 Silly Drawing Prompts

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Here’s another favorite list! In 2017, Abby Schukei put together this amazing list of silly drawing prompts. These would be perfect for bellringer work, free drawing time, or whenever you need a quick activity! Best of all, they’re great for students K-12.

The Art Teacher’s Ultimate Guide to Getting Hired

person with computer and computer bag

With so few art teaching positions available, it can be hard to get your foot in the door. This guide, created in 2017, contains everything you need to know to give yourself the best possible shot. Peruse interview questions, portfolio strategies, wardrobe advice, and more.

144 Artists to Pique Your Student’s Interest

144 artist download

Here’s another favorite list! In 2015, Tim Bogatz put together this comprehensive list of artists you should consider bringing into your classroom. With a healthy mix of historical and contemporary artists, there are so many ideas to explore.

How to Conduct an Exhilarating Underwater Photoshoot

underwater photo shoot

Have you ever heard of an underwater photoshoot? If you were a reader back in 2015, you might remember this idea from Tim Bogatz! This article marked a turning point where the magazine really began to dive into truly innovative ideas from a wide variety of writers. This article is definitely worth a re-read!

My Mission of Teaching

Desk with school supplies. Studio shot on wooden background.

Want to see where it all started? Be sure to read the very first post ever published at AOEU! This single post got the ball rolling for what would become a magazine, podcasts, a global conference, on-demand PD, a flexible curriculum, graduate courses, and a master’s degree. What an incredible ride!

We’d love to know; what is your favorite article from the AOEU archives?

How has reading the magazine over the years shaped your classroom practice?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors from across the nation and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University or any of its academic offerings.

Amanda Heyn is the Director of K-12 Professional Development at The Art of Education. She enjoys helping to create relevant, engaging PD just for art teachers.

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