Our state conference is coming up very soon, in just a few weeks. Every year, I wonder if I will be able to go. Can I afford it this year? Will my principal let me take a few days off to attend? Is there any chance he would be willing to let the school's professional development account pay for it this year? Sometimes I get to go, and sometimes I don't. Last year I had to miss the conference  due to illness. Sigh. This video (by Tricia Oliver) is from that event, when Nancy Raia led a parade of art educators marching down the Fairhope pier. That conference was amazing, and I had to miss it! 
All the years I have had the opportunity to join hundreds of other art teachers across the state at our annual conference have been wonderful. Always, no matter how hard it is to scrape up the money and get time off, I feel reenergized, refreshed, and humbly blessed just to spend time with other art teachers. I am the only art teacher at my school, so I can't exactly "talk shop" with anyone on a day to day basis. It is so nice to get together with other art teachers and share stories! No one else at the school understands what it is like.

Attending the conference is a chance to hang out with your tribe, to learn new techniques, and to be inspired for the rest of the school year. This is a professional development opportunity, but it is also an opportunity to make lifelong friends and connect with folks who understand. Every conference I have ever attended proved extremely valuable to me; I always learn something new, something that will help me as well as my students. Frankly, the art teachers I meet never cease to amaze me! I have been lucky enough to interview a few of our amazing Alabama art educators here on this blog; Mrs. Betsy LoganMrs. Laura Reichert, Mrs. Marlene Nall Johnt, and Mrs. Becky Guinn.

Over the next few weeks, we will be posting interviews with more of our extraordinary Alabama art teachers. First, Rodney Porterfield of Mr. P. Studios will tell us all about how he puts together his amazing Youtube videos. Then, Beth Young tells the story of how she was able to get a fabulous grant and bring the quiltmakers of Gee's Bend to Decatur last year. These generous ladies visited schools and held quilting events for several weeks, sharing their life stories while raising their voices in song. I was able to attend one of these events, and it was unforgettable. 

If you can, you should make every effort to attend the conference. You will not regret it! This year, the Quiltmakers of Gee's Bend will be guest speakers and I can't wait! This is a tremendous opportunity to meet living legends; they are amazing artists whose work has been exhibited all over the world - their quilts are part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonean in Washington D.C.! 

Come get inspired! "The arts have you covered!" 
Here is a link to the AAEA website and registration form: AAEA Fall Conference

The conference will be from October 21-22 in Decatur, one of the most beautiful cities in Alabama! Decatur is located right on the Tennessee River:

This is a photo I took at a beautiful Decatur park last September when I visited the River Clay Art Festival with my family. My son enjoyed watching the draw bridge raise and lower for a passing barge. We also got to see a train travel over the bridge! 

Thank you so much to Linda Miller and Tammie Clark for all their hard work in putting together this year's conference. I am looking forward to another visit to Decatur! 

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