Our featured artist, Devon Calvert, is originally from the little town of Fennimore, Wisconsin in the southwest corner of the state. He grew up with two younger brothers and loving parents who embraced the crazy idea that he go into Art Education.
I am so honored to be featured by an amazing company, Nasco, as their Featured Artist of the Month! I think it's awesome that they are highlighting educators as artists all throughout this year. You can call me Mr. April ;)
Our Featured Artist for the month of April is Devon Calvert, a Harmony and Consolidated Elementary Art Teacher in Milton, WI. Devon teaches K-3, and loves every minute of it. Devon has worked in ceramics, painting, graphic design, printmaking, sculpture and more, making him a perfectly well rounded teacher for young aspiring artists. A UW-Eau Claire graduate, Devon is also a WAEA Membership Chair.
Yesterday was a wrap on Youth Art Month as Wisconsin celebrated with their closing awards ceremony at the State Capitol! Student work has been displayed in the rotunda over the last several weeks for all to see. A handful of works were chosen as award recipients and honored at the celebration too. Although I kept mostly to helping out in the registration area, I took a quick second to snap this picture of a packed house! It was great to see such a large turnout in support of art in Wisconsin schools!
Lets just say that my recent trip to NYC for the National Art Education Conference was a blast! After jetting from Milton up to Minneapolis (with a flat tire repair on the way), we finally touched down in NYC on Tuesday morning. I was really glad that I went out there a little early because it gave me some time to get out and see the city a bit.
Our first day in NYC was spent checking out the surrounding blocks around our hotel. We were lucky enough to be a hop and a skip away from Times Square and Central Park wasn't too far either.
I attended some awesome sessions by some of art education's finest! Some of my favorites were a couple sessions on technology (one by Amy Zschaber and one by Tricia Fugelstad), a packed house session on folk art (Cassie Stephens, Laura Lohmann, Jennifer Alvarado, and Paintbrush Rocket), and a session on quilts by Don Masse.
Part of the reason I attended the conference was because I was asked to present in an Elementary Carousel on Contemporary Art. So I, and 3 other presenters, had 4 chances to present for 10 minutes during a session. I don't think I've ever talked that fast in my life! I just had so many ideas from Milton that I wanted to share with everyone! I was super happy with how my session went and will hopefully present again on the national level in the not so distant future! It was also surreal because one of the presenters with me was Don Masse who was really my influence for transitioning into a contemporary based curriculum. It was cool to be able to share a crowd with an educator that I look up to!
I also had the chance to see JEFF KOOOOOOOONS! I even ran into him in the hallway and said "hi" like a giddy fanboy. To tell you the truth, I'm not a huge fan of Koons' work but it was awesome to hear his keynote speech after I spent so long teaching about him last year with my 3rd graders.
Ursula von Rydingsvard also gave a speech that I attended! It was probably one of my highlights of my trip. I find it funny that she's this little old lady but makes these amazingly huge wooden monstrosities. It was really interesting to hear her talk about her work!
I was approached by Nasco and asked to make some model magic project examples for a couple lesson plans they had. So 2nd grade made food and 3rd grade made desert animals. It was nerve wracking for the students and I knowing that thousands of art teachers were going to be seeing them so we had to be on our "A-game"! I'm so proud of how they did. The sculptures will now travel around the U.S. with the Nasco reps for teachers to see!
Really the best part about the conference isn't going to the sessions or seeing NYC, it's getting a chance to connect with other art educators from around the U.S. and world! Many of these people I communicate with online but only get the chance to see them in person once a year.
Milton School District Art Exhibit
Artwork will be on view at the Milton House on
Tuesday, March 14- Sunday, April 23
Milton House Hours:
10 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Sundays 1-3 p.m.
Please join us for a Closing Reception on
Sunday, April 23
*Artwork will be available for take down after 2:30p.m.
We hope to see you there!
A coupe weekends ago, I made the trek up to Tomah, Wisconsin to take part in Margi Genrich's Giving Bowls event. Margi is a 3D art teacher in Tomah. While many schools put on the Giving Bowls event, I haven't found any others that do it like Margi. For a small fee/donation, her advanced ceramics students give lessons to people who want to learn how to throw a bowl. Then you get to glaze it after you've thrown it! After they have been fired, Margi has a big soup event where you can pay to eat soup and she also holds an auction to auction off all of the bowls.
I was pretty rusty at throwing but I managed to get a bowl made on my first shot!
A few weeks back I was lucky enough to attend the Wisconsin Art Education Association's fall conference. It's always one of the highlights of my year! I love getting to see all my art teachin' friends and going to awesome sessions on art. Before the conference even started, a couple of my paintings were exhibited in the membership show!
This is Jen Dahl and I at the membership show. Jen is the president of the Wisconsin Art Education Association and was also my elementary cooperating teacher. Before working with Jen, I was pretty set on being a high school teacher. Her influence changed my mind and I decided I wanted to teach elementary instead!
These three ladies are all art teachers from Eau Claire. Kathy Bareis (on the far right) was my middle school cooperating teacher. I worked with her for a couple years before eventually being her student teacher. While teaching middle school with her, I also had the chance to experience and become certified in Adaptive Art.
This year, I presented for the first time! I co-presented with my friend, Tasha Newton, on using Mystery Skype in our classrooms. Over the last year, our classes have skyped each other and played art related games against each other. We started a Facebook page for anyone who is looking for a Skype connection! Check it out and join here! I also presented on using contemporary artist in the elementary classroom! Contemporary art is a passion of mine and I have begun to really focus on it with my curriculum. I am also presenting on this topic at the National Art Ed conference this spring so this was good practice for me! If you would like my resources for the session, email me and let me know!
I also met a couple art teacher heroes of mine at the conference! The AMAZING Cassie Stephens flew all the way from Nashville to be our keynote speaker. For anyone who follows my blog regularly, you know how much I LOVE Cassie's projects. I use a lot of her stuff with kindergarten. I also got to meet Nic Hahn (Mini Matisse) who is all a titan in the art blogging world. Nic's as cool and humble as she is an amazing art teacher!
Last but not least, my amazingly talented girlfriend was award the Best Beginning Art Educator Award!
I FINALLLLLLY got the beginning of the year collaborative project hung up. For the first day of art, everyone was asked to decorate 3-4 popsicle sticks. We talked about how small, plain, and ordinary a popsicle stick was. But when everybody contributes several of them, those simple popsicle sticks become something much more complex.
A few weeks ago I ventured up north to St. Croix with a couple other teachers to go on a super rad pottery tour. 7 different ceramicists opened up their houses and studios to visitors. Each studio hosted several other ceramicists too so I got to see 25+ different artists. It was so cool seeing all the different work they made and seeing just how different each artist was in their approach to making their pottery.
This amazing artist won the PBIS High Five a few weeks ago. As a reward, she asked if she could spend some lunch/recess time making art with me. Of course I couldn't say 'no' to that! She wanted to make a sea turtle so we worked on her beautiful painting for a few days! I saw something similar to this on Pinterest somewhere and knew she would love it. So proud of how this turned out as well as all the rest of her work she has made this year!
Harmony and Consolidated Elementary Art Teacher in Milton, WI. UW-Eau Claire graduate. WAEA Membership Chair.