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Bethlehem, Pa., October 16, 2013 —The Pennsylvania Art Education Association (PAEA) will hold its annual conference in the city of Bethlehem on October 18-20, with several events scheduled on Moravian College’s Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus on Saturday, October 19. In recognition of the area’s legacy, and to reflect the association’s objectives, the conference’s main theme focuses on “Forging a Stronger Future: Reflect, Refine, Reignite.” This play on words represents Bethlehem’s history as a strong producer of steel and draws upon the process of how steel is formed. The theme also speaks to the conference’s hope to raise greater awareness about the arts and to help teachers think differently about teaching practices.
Similar to art, steel is comprised of many different processes in order to form a strong bond. This is the concept the conference hopes to extend to its attendees and, subsequently, their respective classrooms. In order to keep the art programs alive and thriving, people must promote, present and practice different forms of art in order to gain awareness. Kristin Baxter, assistant professor of art at Moravian College and co-chair of the PAEA conference, stresses this importance. “The arts have suffered so much in public school, we wanted to create a conference to reflect that issue,” she said.
Keynote lectures will be presented by NPR Art Correspondent Neda Ulaby, National Art Education Association (NAEA) President Dr. F. Robert Sabol, and David Darts, chair of the Department of Art and Art Professions and Director of the NYU Steinhardt MA in Studio Art Program in Berlin, Germany, who will collectively address the topic of art awareness and teacher involvement. The conference also includes a NHS student art exhibition opening, student-focused social events with workshops and internships, as well as a design showcase, dinner and state awards ceremony. So far, more than 260 people have registered to attend.
On October 19, Moravian’s Hurd Campus will host a reception for the K-12 student art exhibition, a welcome address, the PAEA awards ceremony and an evening gala event. Baxter, Joseph Shosh, associate professor of education at Moravian, and Kelsey King ’14, curator of the student art exhibition and a Moravian art education student, will offer the welcome at 5 p.m. in Payne Gallery. Moravian Dean of Faculty Gordon Weil will also offer a welcome at the awards ceremony at 5:30 p.m.
In addition, Baxter will receive the Regional Representative of the Year at the awards ceremony for her involvement with the arts. She played a pivotal role in the conference coming to Bethlehem, asking the PAEA to consider it as a location three years ago. “I wanted to promote our art department and education at Moravian,” she explained, adding that the College’s Office of Academic Affairs was instrumental in hosting conference’s events.
By involving college students, the PAEA hopes to reach a new audience and instill an appreciation for the arts in a new generation. When asked about the workshops and internships available at the conference, Baxter stated it was a “good way for Moravian College students to become involved with working professionals.”
Over the past few years, there have been multiple cuts made to the art programs and staff in Pennsylvania. This is devastating to the arts since so many schools have already lost their art programs due to budget cuts, Baxter said.
To promote young artists and their work, Moravian College and the Payne Gallery are hosting the “Forging Our Future" exhibition, celebrating creative visual artwork by students in grades K-12 whose teachers are PAEA members, from Thursday, Oct. 10, through Saturday, Oct. 19. Teachers from throughout the state submitted student work in a wide variety of media, including painting, drawing, photography, printmaking and mixed media. In total, there will be 50 pieces of work.
Baxter believes this exhibition is a great way to get Moravian’s name out to the community and the state. It will promote the College’s art program to the youth, while also displaying the talents of those who have a strong passion for the arts.
For more information about the PAEA conference, visit its website, www.paeaconference.org.
Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America’s sixth-oldest college. Moravian partners with students to build a strong foundation for their future. Visit the College’s Web site at www.moravian.edu.