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If You Imagine it, They Will Come

June 28th, 2010 by Kendra Yao

Last week, sixteen presenters and sixty-five attendees from across Oregon, and even as far as New York and Boston, came together for an arts education seminar at the Left Bank Annex here in Portland, for Right Brain’s first annual Imagine This: A Seminar on Bringing Creativity to Classrooms. As we returned to the office on Thursday, amidst our miscellaneous objects to re-sort, feedback forms to compile, photos and video to upload, and invoices to process we couldn’t help but *glow* about the accolades we heard from participants about the three-day event. While we know that this fruition of the seminar leaves plenty of room to grow, we are glad to know lofty imagining and hard work was met with ample interest and attendance, building a good foundation to continue provide area educators with a assortment of speakers and fresh ideas each summer.

Thirty sessions provided teaching artists, teachers, and administrators the chance to physically demonstrate best practices, propose “action items” to tackle pervasive issues, and imagine new ways to document and evaluate our students’ and our own professional work. By no means a statistically valid sample, I can offer anecdotally that a participant remarked that it was simply the very best conference she had ever attended for arts education, and that her thinking had been catapulted over the three days she attended, making it nearly impossible to keep track of her own new ideas for her own teaching. As I page through the returned feedback forms, words like “inspired,” “connections,” and “ideas,” are repeated through the stack.

I must give kudos to all of the Right Brain staff and partners (minus me) who put several hundred hours into planning the seminar, and to one Catherine Leedy, who stepped up to organize the gargantuan event. All conferences have their hiccups, but it’s not just luck at work when things have the smooth appearance that Imagine This did.

Best of all, I got to witness first hand the unbridled expression of educators while they took to movement, theater, dance, printmaking, and collaborative investigation to integrate their own learning with a variety of art forms, so we all could “practice what we preach.”

Of course, the challenge we have now, as always, is to try and extend the inspiration and connections to our colleagues who could not attend, and to the times “in-between” professional development, when there seems barely enough time to read or contribute to the latest articles and blogs of our field. As of today, we are back on task to foster continued dialogue and up-to-date resource sharing on our website and blog, as we continue to develop both, as well as connect other sources for artists and educators in arts education. Stay tuned.

More photos of Imagine This 2010:
Imagine This on Picasa

For a better idea of what the seminar encompassed, peruse the session descriptions here:
Imagine This Workshop Descriptions on Eventbrite

A compilation of some resources from seminar:
Online Resources for Arts Education Advocacy
Teaching Artist Resources
Emerging Technologies for Sharing Portolios [online porfolio sample, with tutorials and resources]

   

Kendra Yao