Planning a Conference!

The Art Educators of New Jersey (AENJ) is New Jersey’s Art Ed. organization with over 1,000 members. I currently serve on the Executive Board as the President Elect and am also the Conference Co-Chair. My colleague, Ellen and I are planning this year’s conference, “Art is Infinite!”

We will be featuring over 125 workshops and speakers over the course of three days: October 3, 4 & 5, 2013 at The Hyatt in New Brunswick.

There are lots of fun and interesting things planned!  Click here to learn more about the conference.

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A Breath of Fresh Air!

I just gotta say, kids are awesome! My students, in particular, are especially awesome.

Six of my middle schoolers set up this year’s art installation, Aero for our Art is Elemental fire/air unit. My trust-worthy colleague and friend, and three time art installation helper, Kathy Ellis (8th grade Social Studies Teacher); along with the mom of two of my students, Tammy Riley (fiber artist & art lover) supervised the students as they made magic!  What a fun, fun time! I’m so grateful.

Thank you to my hard-working middle school student artists: Peter, Josie, Hannah, Zoe, Graham and Abagael. You were the wind beneath my wings today! I hope you had fun too – it sure seemed like it. And thank you to all 475+ middle school kids who made the components for this installation throughout the entire school year.

Aero will fly off the wall this Thursday. Visit it LIVE on Wednesday, June 12th for the district’s Visual and Performing Arts Extravaganza. 6 – 9pm.

Here are some pictures from today’s set up!

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Images inspire Words; Words inspire Images: Short Story Blog Posts

Inspiration and ideas come from everywhere….it’s sensory and stimulating – and it’s what makes life so interesting!!

This lesson idea came from a variety a wonderful conversations with colleagues and a children’s book called, Patches.  I set out to develop a lesson that required my students to write a short story blog post that was inspired by pictures – giving them inspiration for the character(s), setting and plot. The stories are great fun!

The follow up art making lesson to the writing assignment required the students to create a piece of art inspired by their story.  Above, are images of student works inspired by their stories.

Here are a few links to some students’ wiriting:


Erin K



Our class blog  


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Happy Earth Day!

One of my middle school student’s parents works for the General Services Administration at the Federal Building in Philadelphia, and contacted me about doing an art display in her building in honor of Earth Day.  As a mom of one of my students, she knows first hand about our Art is Elemental curriculum and thought it would be a great addition to their Earth Day festivities. How cool is that? Such a great opportunity!

We still had some spigots and flowers left over from last year’s “Tapped – a message from a bottle” installation, so we decided to give it an encore viewing! Three of my middle school students and one high school student volunteered to recreate it on a smaller scale!  Here are the students working to set it up (girls with power tools-love it). It will be on display for 2 weeks! Great job girls – Thanks Nancy!

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Youth Art Month!

Every March, we celebrate Youth Art Month! Even though it snowed today and seemed like just another creepy, wintery day…we get to remember that it’s more than that…it’s Youth Art Month!! We had our county celebration yesterday afternoon and I was delighted to feature 9 of my students’ works. I’ve attached a postcard. Happy Youth Art Month everyone!

Top: Michelle Pham, grade 8; Erin Costello, grade 10; Catherine Lin, grade 6; Alec Rogers, grade 12

Middle: Nikki D’Amico, grade 12; Melony Lennox, grade 11; Amelia Moore, grade 10

Bottom: Noa Boonin, grade 10; Tara Tallman, grade 6

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Why Art?

Here is a short video that features my students’ work and explains the importance of arts education in our schools. The skills that art making develops are at the very core of 21st century education.  Getting students to think around and through a problem is much more important than demanding that they get the “right” answer – the same answer.  

Art asks the right questions and makes people take the time to look, dig, question and respond. Kids won’t get smarter with a narrowed set of experiences. Why Art? We need it now more than ever.

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Seasons in Light – part 2

Here are some of our cut paper lanterns! Hope you like these as much as I do. Click here to see the artists that I showed my students for inspiration. Contact me at if you’d like a copy of the lesson objectives.

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Artist Research

Back in December, my students were assigned an artist research assignment. This was their mid-term assessment as well as the future inspiration for the ceramic Tea Set that they are currently working on. Below are some student examples of pieces that were “inspired by” their artist.  Each student chose the artist he/she wanted to research from my list of the “50 Artists Everyone Should Know” and created a new work of art inspired by that artist’s work, style or colors.

My students were also required to create a fun and factual, “note-taking page/artist poster” that will become a future page in their visual journals. Examples of student solutions to that portion of the assignment are featured at the bottom of the list below, starting with the Lichtenstein Poster.  Super fun stuff!


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Filled with Thanks and Gratitude

This past Saturday, we hosted our fourth Empty Bowls Dinner to benefit The Foodbank of South Jersey. Our Empty Bowls Dinners have become quite the community event, and they always leave everyone feeling full inside – not just with yummy food (all donated by community members and businesses) but also full of community spirit and pride. This year, we raised $4,000, bringing our total donations after four dinners to $16,000. (wow) The art students and the swim team hosted this year’s event, but the entire faculty, staff and community are also to thank for making this event so special. Maura McDermott, swim coach and math teacher, is the co-hostess with the mostest! My super fabulous art students contributed their talents, time and efforts in creating over 575 hand-crafted ceramic bowls and also worked the dinner. The keepsake bowl provides a lasting reminder that many people around the world have bowls that remain empty. Below are some pictures from the dinner.

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Join us for an Empty Bowls Dinner!

The HTHS Art Students and 2013 Swim Team are hosting an
Empty Bowls Dinner! 
Saturday, February 9th from
5:30 – 8pm in the High School Cafeteria.
$10 per person
Come join us for a Pasta Pot Luck community dinner and eat from a handmade ceramic bowl of your choice. As a way to remind you that many people’s bowls are empty…you get to keep your bowl!
All monetary proceeds from the event will benefit The Foodbank of South Jersey.
Learn more about the dinner and how to donate food for this community event!
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