Art Educators Workshop Held for Local Instructors

Ahnaliese Bell, Staff Writer

Texas A&M University-Commmerce continued its long history of education dedication with the yearly Art Educators Workshop held on Feb. 14, and it focused on improving classroom skills for forty attending art instructors from local public middle and high schools.

Marilyn Thompson, art professor, organized the event. For the morning session, participants chose one of nine workshops. Each workshop covered a specific and useful of art or method of art, taught by a university instructor with a specialization in that field. In addition to teaching new skills, the workshops also offer a hands-on learning experience for the teachers, which is great because, as Thompson says, “Many of them don’t get to make much art anymore.”

Teachers who attend the workshop

can expect to attend two workshops, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Each workshop lasts two hours. This year, the workshops included options such as “Airbrush Painting on T-Shirts”, “Create a Textured Plaster Press Mold from a Clay Slab”, “The Indelible Mark: Drawing, Painting, and Pouring Ink”, “Lifecasting”, “Glass Fusing”, “Monsters and Fire”, “Digital Photographic Manipulation”, “Simple Portrait Lighting”,“Visual Communication Creative Journals”, and “Not Just a Circle: Paper Plate Sculpture”. The workshop cost $25 to attend and teachers were welcomed to pay and register ahead of time, though a few teachers opted to pay at the door instead. The $25 fee paid for an almost day-long event, two meals, two workshops, and lots of learning.

Educators were able to work closely with university faculty, professors, and collegiate level student teachers. This year’s workshop instructors were Gerard Huber, Barbara Frey, Emily Broussard, Josephine Durkin, Joseph Daun, Emily Newman, Vaughn Wascovich, Chris Blackhurst, Leigh Merrill, Chad D. Smith, Deanna Gibson, and Wyman Williams.

Chelsea Weaver, an art teacher at Sulphur Springs ISD, expressed how much she enjoyed the event, even after her third time going. “I love that there are two different workshops, and that you get a chance to connect with professors on campus,” she said. “And, of course, meeting different teachers.”

Many of the workshops available for teachers to attend revolved around the idea that art should be fun, educational, and inexpensive. A workshop taught by Dr. Emily Newman and MFA student David Namansky, “Games and Technology in the Classroom”, gave teachers some resources on how to use technology to teach art in the classroom without breaking the bank. Google Cardboard, for example, is a $15 VR headset that, coupled with a smartphone, can allow students to really immerse themselves in art.

In an afternoon workshop on “Photography: Sliding Box View Cameras”, taught by Vaughn Wascovich, teachers learned about a throwback style of photography that created more interest than the common “snap and go” style. Vaughn expressed that it can be difficult to teach new photography concepts. “We’ve already done pinhole, and we’re tired of it,” Vaughn said. “I’m a big fan of learning the rules so you can break them.”

Student teacher and Texas A&M University-Commerce alumni Heather Hoskins expressed what she liked most about participating in this year’s workshop. “Just getting to explore,” she said. “It was nice to have no control. To mess up and be okay with it.”

Overall, the event was a large success. Information about next year’s workshop, as well as Art Day (a similar workshop, but for students) is available on the TAMUC website.