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Director of Arts Education and Outreach, Kerri Sullivan, smiling with the Chicago skyline as a backdrop on a sunny day

ArtsEdNow: Finding Joy in Chicago!

Arts ED Now: Finding Joy in ChiCAgo!

In early November, I had the pleasure of attending the Conference for Community Arts Education hosted by National Guild Community Arts Education. If you aren’t familiar with the Guild please take a moment to visit their website and learn about the important work they are doing for arts education, www.nationalguild.org.

The four day annual conference was held in Chicago this year. It was an exciting time to be in Chicago, and not just because of the Cubs historic World Series win (though that was really fun to witness first hand). It was exciting to meet with like-minded people from across the country doing similar work, learning about some of the amazing work being done in arts education, having important and sometime uncomfortable conversations, and pushing myself to learn more and do more. At the conference I attended sessions such as:

Tccae_1he Art and Joy of Facilitative Leadership with John McCann

Who’s Got the Power: Art, Resistance, Hip Hop Civics and Joy with Dr. Bettina Love

Cultural Competency & Racial Literacy: 21st Century Frameworks for ALL Effective Arts Ed Leaders with Dr. Derrick Gay

Measuring Youth Arts Impact

Can We Teach Creativity: Using New Research to Inform Your Arts Integration Practice

Putting Mindsets Into Action: A Challenge and Opportunity

 

I had many personal takeaways from the conference. One of the best reminders I received is that I need to be more courageous, more transparent: it doesn’t do any good to hold on to my knowledge, I need to share it. My introverted nature makes sharing really difficult for me at times. I also learned more about what it means to be an introvert in an extrovert world and considerations and accommodations that can be made to help support introverts.

If you haven’t already, I recommend Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. I learned about how mindset affects behavior and that I need to pay attention acknowledge and be curious about my judgements. I learned that, to quote Dr. Gay, “being a good person is an on-going critical process.” I learned that we need to have difficult, uncomfortable conversations about identity.

We must do this for ourselves, our children, our future. I learned about academic mindsets and began to explore how they intersect with bias and structural racism. I learned about the importance of connecting with people and tapping into their tacit knowledge in order to move forward and grow. I am also was reminded of the need for joy. Joy in life, joy in work, spreading joy, creating joy, allowing joy, and being joyful. In the words of Dr. Bettina Love, “you cannot create a new world unless you dream it.  We need more joy.” These words ring especially true now.  I will keep working harder for joy.

 

 


The conference gave me a lot to reflect on. Visiting Cloud Gate, one of Chicago’s icon sculptures by artist Anish Kapoor. His art expresses the idea that "The experience of opposites allows for the expression of wholeness."

The conference gave me a lot to reflect on. Visiting Cloud Gate, one of Chicago’s icon sculptures by artist Anish Kapoor. His art expresses the idea that “The experience of opposites allows for the expression of wholeness.”

 

 

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I saw two amazing comedy improv shows: ComedySportz Chicago and Hitch*cocktails.
I highly recommended both if you ever find yourself in the Windy City.
Also, I spent a few delightful hours at the Art Institute of Chicago.

 

Go Cubs!
Congrats on the hard-fought win.
Way to teach us to never give up and hold on to hope!

 

 

Dancing gorilla has found the joy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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