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July 02, 2013

Dreaming with Artists and Educators

Last week, ArtStarts staff, board and volunteers gathered with educators, artists and fellow members of the arts community. Our common goal? To dream!

ArtStarts' second annual Dreaming Retreat focused on the question, "How can artists and educators teach each other and learn together?"

We were honored and thrilled to have a room full of bright, passionate and engaged artists and educators, all eager to put their heads together to ponder this question.

In groups, we discussed many ideas surrounding professional development for artists and educators, brainstorming topics, concepts, formats. The air was buzzing with the sound of ideas being expressed, built upon and remixed.

Then it was time for the tough work to begin: each group had to choose just 2 or 3 ideas to develop and present that could be future professional development offerings. We looked back at our notes from the brainstorming session and took note of the themes that reoccured throughout our various ideas. Finally, we considered where the greatest need for professional development that supports artists and educators might be. Armed with poster paper, markers and a pile of photos, the groups each prepared their ideas to share.

During the presentations, everyone had a "Like" stick that we could wave when we heard an idea that we wanted to support. The sticks certainly got lots of air time! There were so many wonderful ideas shared, which of course then inspired many more... There was an impressive range of creative ideas, from a monthly mingler for artists and educators, to specific workshops such as "Art for the Terrified" to a week-long summer camp for adults.

Suffice it to say that we were impressed and inspired by everything we heard. The day reaffirmed for us that there is a real need for professional development for artists and educators, a desire to bring these two groups together, and a passion to be involved to make these ideas into reality.

We plan to build upon ideas from the Dreaming Retreat and use them as a launching pad to develop a roster of professional development offerings. Stay tuned for more news as we work towards this goal.

We finished the day with an activity that made visual what we were all feeling about the day: that we are all connected in and through the arts. By throwing a ball of yarn from one person in the group to the next, we linked together our personal and shared experiences, and reflected on all that we'd started to create together.

Thank you to everyone who attended ArtStarts's Dreaming Retreat and contributed to productive, fun and inspiring day.

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