Sunday, April 23, 2017

Retired Art Educator Spotlight - Claudia Burns - Monday, April 24, 2017

I'd like to introduce you to Claudia Burns!

During Claudia's twenty-three year teaching career she taught all grades but spent most of those years teaching high school art. She retired from Ann Arbor Public Schools in 2014. One of her favorite things about teaching art is "when the light of recognition goes on, when a student expresses pride in their work or when a new skill is acquired, moments of collaboration between students, hearing a student articulate their learning as they reflect back on it."

Claudia's favorite art quote:

Claudia's most memorable teaching moment:
"For years I taught a group of Aspergers guys. Their group project one semester was a chess set (clay) and board (tiles.) I remember them regularly playing chess with that set afterwards."

She's been very busy since retiring from the classroom. Claudia worked as a developer/writer for the MAEIA Project, creating model assessments for MI art teachers. She was very involved in developing an Arts Integration federal grade project with the River Rouge School District. Currently, Claudia is learning about being a painter. She is also designing and creating icons, murals and mosaics for churches in the Ann Arbor area.

Below is an acrylic painting created by Claudia. She feels that it is important to not only teach art but to also create art oneself as an art educator. This piece was part of the 53rd Annual MEA/MAEA Art Acquisitions Purchase Exhibition

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Past Art Educator of the Year - Melissa Hronkin - Monday, April 17, 2017

I'd like to introduce you to Melissa Hronkin!

Melissa was recognized as Michigan Elementary Art Educator of the Year in 2014. She was also named the 2014 National Elementary Art Educator of the Year. She has been teaching K-5 art at Houghton Portage Elementary School in Houghton, MI for the past seven years within her eighteen year teaching career, of which sixteen have been as a full time art educator. During her career it is difficult to pin point one memorable moment so far but one that stands out was when a Kindergartner said "I know you are the art teacher because you smell like crayons." That was a pinnacle moment for her this school year.

In an article on the Minneapolis College of Art and Design website upon Melissa was said to believe that "creativity is not just about making things - it is about moving people with an idea. Her philosophy is that the arts provide the vocabulary for expression, and that is essential within a curriculum and for making sense of our ever-changing world." 

Since Melissa was awarded "Art Educator of the Year" in 2014 she's been continuing to hone her teaching skills and volunteering for MAEA. Her future plans are to teach for twelve more years, continue to work at her business with her husband (bees and mead), showcase art with her community. She went on to say, "I hope to continue to work on my own art and mindfulness in everything she do!"

Melissa's favorite art quote:

Melissa and her husband are licensed beekeepers in the Upper Peninsula running Algomah Acres Honey Farm. In 2012 she gave this TEDTalk in Marquette about bees and what we can learn from how the bee hive functions.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

MAEA Conference 2017 Presentation Proposal Submissions

Whether you are a student teacher, a first year art teacher, or a well seasoned veteran you all have something wonderful to contribute to the Michigan Art Education Association Conference this fall in Detroit. Please consider submitting your presentation proposals to help make this year's art education conference one to remember as we go Retro in the Metro.

Having presented myself at past conferences I can attest to how nervous I was that first time I sent in a proposal. Would it get accepted? Did I have something to share that the conference committee thought others would want to learn about? Then it was conference time and I worried whether anyone would show up to my presentation. If anything I had prepared to share with them was something they didn't already know. Was it something they could use in their own teaching practices? However, after the blur of that presentation had come and gone I reflected on the experience of connecting with my fellow art educators in a whole new way. My presentation had morphed into a wonderful discussion about technology in the art room and we all learned so much from each other that hour. I made connections with art educators I hadn't met before. Afterward I knew one thing. I had a wealth of experiences to share with others in the field. And I wanted to continue to present when I could. So I urge you to consider presenting in Detroit next November. It's an experience you won't regret. You'll make wonderful memories by being a part of the conference in a whole new way.

Due by April 30th

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Take Time to Rejuvenate Your Artist Self

You've worked really hard this year and it's time to plan some time rejuvenating yourself as an artist. Many of you are on spring break this week and there are great opportunities in our great state to gain inspiration for our personal artistic endeavors and our teaching.  Let this list be a starting point and if you have any suggestions please post in the comments below.


Marquette, MI

Saginaw, MI

Alpena, MI

Detroit, MI

Grand Rapids, MI


Naubinway, MI

Munising, MI

Hickory Corners, MI

Ann Arbor, MI

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Retired Art Educator Spotlight - Candace DeTone - March 27, 2017

I'd like to introduce you to Candace DeTone!

Candace taught elementary art for twenty-five years. Fifteen of those years were at Woodland Elementary for the Avondale School District. Prior to that she taught for six and a half years at Morgan Park Academy. 

Her favorite thing about teaching art is sharing the joy of creating, sparking young minds, and seeing children learn and grow. 

Candace's most memorable moment was "when a child had an 'ahah' moment, or when I could hear a pin drop in the classroom because students were in flow, or when I looked around the room to see a classroom full of kids busy working and fully engaged- either alone or with each other, or when a student told me or showed me the special way that they had interpreted a project."

Candace's favorite art quote:

Since retiring in 2015, Candace has been keeping busy traveling, gardening, getting her house in order, and setting up a ceramic/painting studio.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Art Educator Spotlight - Betsy Wellfare - Monday, March 20, 2017

I'd like to introduce you to Betsy Wellfare!

Betsy Wellfare taught art at Charlotte High School for eleven years where she ran an Art Club, traveled abroad with students to Paris, Spain, and Italy as well as directing student musical and play productions. In this video Betsy talks about her theatre and art programs. She still teaches various art and art history classes for Michigan Virtual University and Relevant Academy. This year Betsy is an Interim Art Education Instructor for Michigan State University and began working as a Field Instructor with art education interns in the Grand Rapids and Lansing areas. 

Betsy's favorite quote:

Betsy's favorite thing about teaching art is that it has allowed her to share her passion for art with her students and spark their creativity. Betsy's instruction focuses on her "Fail Big" policy where she encourages her students to embrace whatever happens during the art making process as they work towards artistic growth through creativity problem solving. Betsy's most memorable moment is when a student lights up during the art making process and they get swept up in the creative current.

Currently she's working on illustrating and writing a children's book about dinosaurs and is part of an art exhibit that includes some of her mixed media and embroidery work going on display during Art Downtown at the Light Gallery in Grand Rapids, MI. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Art Educator Spotlight - Christy Berry - March 13, 2017

I'd like to introduce you to Christy Berry!

Christy is a middle school art teacher at Jonesville Schools. She has been teaching art for fourteen years. Her favorite thing about teaching art is introducing an opportunity for students to use their creativity. One of Christy's highlights of her teaching career occurred last year when four of her students were in the top 100 and one of them was in the top 15 for student artwork at the middle school level. She also had 5 students have their artwork sent to China as part of the Michigan 4H China Art Exchange.

Christy's favorite quote:

Christy's Most Memorable Teaching Moment:

There have been many memorable teaching moments but one of the more recent ones was from this past month. It also happened to be some of my student's favorite art projects this trimester and their final. Every year I coordinate with the band teacher to work on a spring theme. This year it happens to be Tinga Tinga art. This came about with a chance video call with a  representative  Matinga Raztiga, from CBD (Communications By Design). As we were discussing ideas she showed the band teacher and me some art and music from Tanzania and she spoke about the Flood Garden Farm School in Arusha Tanzania, Africa. They are raising funds to move the school to be self-sufficient. We decided that we would make this year's Spring Band theme about Tinga Tinga art and connect with the students at staff at their school. My students had the chance to speak with Matinga and learn about the school and African artifacts from her home in Lansing, MI. During one of these classes were able to speak with the principal of the school in Tanzania and meet some of the students from there. They are eight hours ahead of us and it was nice when they were speaking with us. My students asked him questions and he invited everyone to visit. What was most shocking was that he was in a jacket and hat when it was 70 degrees outside. At that same time it was 50 degrees outside for our school and we had the classroom windows open because we were too warm. After speaking with Matinga my students started researching ideas for their inspired Tinga Tinga artwork. They needed to find characteristics of Tinga Tinga art and start a plan. After they had their plan they started working. Some students worked in oil pastels, others in acrylic paint, watercolor paint, pencil, color pencil, markers, and weavings. Their ideas were as varied as the materials. Afterwards, students presented their work and included information on materials used, how they connected it to a global society, and what they liked about it. Finally, their classmates could ask questions about their art. This past week students also finished up their postcards that will be sent over to the Flood Garden Farm School. Their final projects will be on display this spring at the band concert.

Here are two links to check out:
Go Fund Me Page:
YouTube video of the project: