Professional Practice

Introducing Nic Hahn as the New Host of Everyday Art Room (Ep. 176)

As you may have heard, the Everyday Art Room podcast has a new host this week–Nic Hahn! You may know Nic from her Mini Matisse blog, her Instagram, or her many Art Ed Now conference presentations. Today, ahead of her debut episode on Everyday Art Room, she sits down to talk to Tim about her new show, finding her place as an educator, and what she wants to share with art teachers around the world.  Full episode transcript below.

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Tim: Welcome to Art Ed Radio, the podcast for art teachers. This show is produced by The Art of Education University, and I’m your host Tim Bogatz.

As you know, or as you may have heard, we have a new host on our second AOEU podcast Everyday Art Room. Cassie Stephens has stepped away from Everyday Art Room, and our new host is going to be the one and only Nic Hahn. Best of all, we are going to talk to Nic today. She’s going to tell you a little bit about herself, a little bit about the new show, and how she came to host it, finally, what you can expect if and when you give it a listen.

Now, I don’t want to tell you too much about Nic. That’s something she can do in the interview and on her own show on Thursday, but I will say this, I have known Nic for a long time. I have admired her and her teaching for a long time, and I know she is going to be incredible as a podcast host. There’s a good chance that you know her too from her Mini Matisse blog or from social media or from Art Ed Now Conference presentations, or from any of a million places. She is well known throughout the world of Art Ed and for good reason. She is passionate. She is creative. She is hardworking and caring and an incredible teacher, and more than anything, and I think this is what makes her or will make her a great podcast host, she loves to share. So I’m going to give her the opportunity to do that right about now. Let me bring her on.

Nic Hahn, the new host of Everyday Art Room is here with me. Nic, first off, congratulations on the new show. Secondly, how are you?

Nic: Very well, thank you. Thank you. I am so very excited to start this podcast with The Art of Education University.

Tim: Awesome. I think everybody’s going to be very, very excited to hear from you. Just when we announced you, just so much positive feedback from everything. You are very well known in the art education world, but for those people that don’t know who you are or what you do as a teacher, can you kind of introduce yourself to our audience and also like can you just answer the question, like why in the world do you want to do a podcast?

Nic: That’s a good question, Tim. Okay. Let’s go into a short background, just kind of what has brought me to this moment right now. Basically I have had K-12 experience in art education and actually I taught with The Art of Education University in some of their courses once upon a time as well. So I like to consider myself… Oh, and I did spend a short time in preschool, very, very, very short time. But I could say preschool through adult learners is kind of my background. I’m sitting at 18 years right now, so I have a little bit of experience.

I’m currently in a job in Rogers, Minnesota where I’m teaching K-5 in suburbia, and it’s that district, ISD 721 has been my district for the last many years. I don’t know exactly what. I’ll wait until I get a new pin to tell me how many years I’ve been working for them, but for a long time. Like within that district, just many different levels and many different experiences, and I love my past because it’s taught me a lot about art education. Why do I want to do this podcast?

Tim: Sorry to put you on the spot with that one.

Nic: No. You know what, I love this question actually because it’s an easy one for me to answer. I really have a passion for art education and creativity. It’s why I started my blog, so I didn’t mention that. I have started a blog, I think it was 2010, called Mini Matisse. My daughter had just been born and I wanted a way to communicate with my parents at the time, and so I started this blog called Mini Matisse to communicate with them, but it blew up. It was the right thing at the right time. I started meeting art educators all over the world because of it.

That worked really well for a while, but then I discovered Twitter from the K-12 art chat team and I found that I had professional development using that platform and I was able to talk my geeky art education self with other art educators all over the world. That was cool. I started taking classes through The Art of Ed University, Creativebug, Sketchbook Skool, wherever I could find online classes or physical classes because I just loved creating. I loved challenges. So The Sketchbook Project is one that I’ve done recently, but I do challenges all the time.

Then I went to national and local, sorry, art education conventions just to start connecting with other art educators. Then finally I started at Instagram and that’s probably my most recent form of social media. Now all of these things I do very intentionally, and it’s to find my tribe, it’s to find the people that like to talk about what I like to talk about, and to give my husband a break from my constant chatter about art education.

So this is a great platform for this. I think it’s just something I’m truly engaged with and I can’t wait to share, well, just everything, everything about art and creating.

Tim: That’s awesome.

Nic: Yeah.

Tim: Just kind of thinking about, you know, what you said about taking on challenges, like taking on a podcast is a big challenge. You and I have been working together on this for a while now, because it is such a big job. You’re taking over from Cassie who has done some great things.

Nic: Yes.

Tim: The show is very well known. But can you talk about, I guess, with your show and her show, what is going to be similar, what you’re going to continue and I guess more importantly like what are you going to expand? What are you going to do differently?

Nic: Well I’m a huge fan of her podcast Everyday Art Room. She has done an amazing job. I think what I love about her version of this podcast is her passion. She too is sharing about her everyday life in the art room. Wait a minute. Is that where the title came from?

Tim: Yes.

Nic: Wait a minute. No. Surely her passion and just mostly her experiences in the classroom. So I think I’m going to continue with that quite a bit, the life lessons over the 18 years and the life lessons that I have daily, every single time that I go into class. The little tips and tricks, I love that about her when she was leading this podcast, but I also feel that there are so many art educators out there that know so much and have really good information to share with the rest of the world.

So I think this is going to be a really fun platform to bring interviews in. As I mentioned, I spend a lot of time communicating with other art educators throughout the world. Then my favorite is going to the national conventions and actually meeting them face to face.

Tim: Yes.

Nic: Yup. And, you know, just making those connections right away and having those conversations about what we’re both doing in the profession has led me to admire so many other individuals in our career, or in their career. So I’m hoping to bring lots of interviews. Actually, I already have some queued up I’m pretty excited about.

Tim: Okay. I want to talk about those, but I have to talk about me, too.

Nic: Yes. Let’s talk about you. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim: No, I was just going to say like the interviews are absolutely my favorite part of doing a podcast because there’s so much to learn from so many people. I love being able to give a voice to those people I admire, to have them share their ideas and kind of give a platform so more people can learn what they’re doing and more people can learn from those amazing people. So, let’s go ahead-

Nic: Well, let me just say though, Tim, that is another reason that I want to do the interviews is because of your podcast. I love hearing from the other people that you bring in. And both you and I hope me in the future here, what we’re doing is just kind of being that questionnaire for the listeners so that we can ask all the really deep questions and learn from others. So thank you for modeling that.

Tim: Oh, thank you. I hope we can continue that on my show and get a little bit of it in your show. But let me ask you, who do you want to converse with? Who do you want to learn from? Who do you really want to get on your show?

Nic: Well, you know what, I do have one recording already done with another person, and I’m really excited about this because it is a featured… well not a featured presenter, but a presenter with me at Art Ed Now, Billy Kheel. He was a participant.

Tim: Oh, yes.

Nic: Okay. You know him. But for those of you who don’t want, he was a participant on the show Making It. He actually came to my school and we worked together on a collaborative piece. I brought him in as a visiting artist and it was tremendous. So I weaseled my way back into his life recently. He’ll be my first guest. It wouldn’t wonderfully. He’s awesome and he has a lot of great information to share.

Again, I’ve reached out to quite a few people, like people that are on The Art of Education University team. My goodness, is that a wealth of information. So I’m hoping to bring in more people that work for The Art of Ed. I met a wonderful person named Emily Compton. We will be hearing from her. I am excited because she talks about assessment in art and how to make it fun, which we could all use, right?

Tim: Yeah, I was going to say, that is a difficult thing to accomplish. So that’s awesome. That’s awesome.

Nic: A long time friend, Don Massee has-

Tim: Yes. Love Don.

Nic: … said that he would maybe make an appearance. Gosh, what a wealth of information there. Then my roomies. So how I work the national conference is I just connect with people online and I say, “Hey, do you want to room with me?” And so far so good.

Tim: It’s been good.

Nic: No, it’s been good. Ashley McKee and Heather Herbay were my roommates this year and both of them might make an appearance here on Everyday Art Room.

Tim: Awesome. Awesome. Now, that sounds really cool. Like you said, there’s just so many perspectives. They have so much to offer. So I think that’s something to look forward to. But also, I guess kind of expanding that a little bit more. You talked just a little bit about assessment there, but what other kind of topics do you want to cover? Like are you going to just focus on a few things that you’re passionate about, like creativity that you talked about earlier? Or is it going to be more of a wide ranging show?

Nic: No, yeah.

Tim: I guess part two of that, you know Everyday Art Room has been very elementary focused, or are you going to continue in that vein or do you think there’ll be things that will be worthwhile for secondary teachers?

Nic: Good question. Okay. Yes. Because I have a passion for art education, it goes much farther than just creating. I love sharing classroom management tips. Maybe how to set up the room or behavior routines, or especially that. Man, I recently discovered some really new tips and tricks that I can’t wait to share because it has been really successful in my classroom, but just routines for the students and that sort of thing.

Of course we’ll talk about art education and the how to. I want to have conversations that might be a little controversial. Maybe choice-based learning versus group learning, or maybe craft versus high art and what makes those two different. Is there a place in the classroom for that?

I want to talk about something that I’m also extremely passionate about because it makes my job and life easier, is this school-home balance. Man, it is a challenge every day, but I think I’ve found something that works for me, and I can’t wait to share more about that on this podcast, is just finding balance and then feeding your creative self.

So not only am I an art teacher, but I’m an artist. And how do I feed that creative self? How can I encourage other people to do that? I find myself reading books, taking classes, watching youtube, do anything to learn new skills. Is this going to be a good fit for people who are teaching secondary? Yes. Because of my background of kindergarten through adult learners, I’ve found out that if you open up your lens and say, “I can apply this to my classroom in some way, shape or form,” I think you’re going to be able to listen to this and find something if you’re teaching sixth grade or ninth grade or maybe even adult learners, because learners are learners, and some of the information that we’ll cover in this podcast will be for kindergarten all the way up to adults.

Tim: Yeah, that’s awesome. But like you said, I think it’s tough to get people to kind of open up that lens.

Nic: Yes.

Tim: That’s something we struggle with all the time. Like the Art Ed Now Conference for example, where this teacher may be an elementary teacher, but her print making lessons are incredible for every grade, right?

Nic: Yes.

Tim: Like work for everybody where people are like, “Oh, she teaches elementary, it doesn’t work for me.” Just kind of dismiss it out of hand. So hopefully people can open up that lens a little bit more and, I don’t know, get some ideas and listen a little more closely to where you’re coming from.

Nic: Yup. Yup.

Tim: Let me ask you, I guess probably one last question here. You’re talking about all the different things that you love, all the different things that you want to talk about, but for you personally, what are you most passionate about? What do you really want to share? What do you really want to cover as you’re going through the coming weeks and coming months with this podcast?

Nic: You know what, that’s an easy one for me, too. I have a rule for myself in life and definitely on social media, but anything that you ever hear from me is coming from a positive light. I 100% will never try to create drama. I will never put someone down. I will never put something down. There’s room for all. That’s something you will get from my podcast absolutely always.

I knew parts of this, but when I went to NAEA conference this last time in Boston, I had a conversation with another art educator who said, “You know, Nic, you always look at everything in a positive light and everybody knows that about you.” I didn’t really realize that I was projecting that. But since that has been mentioned to me, it’s become a focus. It’s been more conscious than unconscious.

So that’s what you’re going to definitely get from me. You’re always going to have positivity. I try to own that every day. I seek balance to achieve that in my life. I surround myself with positive people and communicate that with my family. We actually have full out conversations about finding balance and positive outlooks. Of course this also goes into my classroom on a regular basis too, mindset, being positive, really just finding that balance between myself, which usually involves some sort of making or creating and teaching. So teaching both my students and also the other art educators out there, my tribe, teaching them what I know because I learned so much from them, finding balance as well with my family, my own family, but I’m going to extend that a little bit farther to my friendships, which I consider to be my family as well, the rest of my tribe.

So I have read One Time by Christi Nichols in her book, I read it really works if you do it. That’s true of anything. So when I make a concentration on being positive, it’s going to work as long as I do it, as long as I get enough sleep, as long as I’m eating right and creating exercise and creating and making on a regular basis, I continue to be balanced and positive. So that’s something I hope to bring to Everyday Art Room as well as continue within my own life.

Tim: That’s awesome and very well said and great to hear. I think everybody’s going to be really, really excited to hear more from you, Nic. Thank you so much for coming on, sharing a little bit about yourself and sharing some of your plans for Everyday Art Room because I think it’s going to be really successful. So thank you.

Nic: Thanks, Tim.

Tim: All right. You heard Nic mention her Art Ed Now presentation in the interview there with Billy Kheel from the show Making It. They did an awesome collaboration and it’s going to be an awesome presentation. Of course that gives me the perfect opportunity to tell you that you need to register for the conference, if you haven’t done that already. Go to to register. You may still be able to get a Swag Box full of all of those sweet, sweet materials, but I know those are running out soon, so go sign up. Like I’m going to be done talking in about 45 seconds here and you should immediately go sign up for an amazing day of professional development, some awesome presentations including the one and only Ron Clark, plus a plethora of resources and ideas for the coming school year.

We will see you there on July 25th, or if you can’t make it on that day, we will see you whenever you have time to access it throughout the next year, because you have an entire year with access to all of the presentations, all of the resources, all of the ideas that you are going to want to bring into your classroom this coming school year. Honestly, I can’t tell you how much you will get out of the conference, so make sure you go sign up.

All right, that is it for us. Thank you so much to Nic for coming on and I really do hope you will check out her show. The first Nic Hahn hosted episode of Everyday Art Room will be out on Thursday, so look for it in your podcast feed, or if you haven’t subscribed yet, do that. It’ll be ready to listen Thursday morning and should show up on the AOEU website later in the day. So give it a listen. I think you’ll enjoy it. And I think it’ll be worth your time.

Art Ed Radio is produced by The Art of Education University with audio engineering from Michael Crocker. Thank you so much for listening, and we’ll talk to you next week.

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.