Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hey there, National Convention!

The 2012 NAEA National Convention was in NYC this year--
I remember when I found this out I was overjoyed, and I was even more overjoyed to attend! 

I was fortunate enough to attend my first Convention while I was in my first year of grad school at MICA-- both were conveniently located in Baltimore ([coincidental] score!). That first experience was invaluable and got me hooked. Couldn't financially swing it when it was in Seattle last year (as will most likely be the case for the next two years: it will be in Fort Worth and then San Diego) and I was in the throes of student teaching, ie: hair falling out, eczema covering my forehead, cracked tooth, and other stress-related pleasantries. But this year the stars aligned. While my school did not pay for me to attend, they were able to give me two days of professional leave, and for that I am grateful. Off I went, via Bolt Bus on Wednesday night after a day of teaching, to the city I so love.

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012:
I had a one-track mind when it came to my 10pm arrival plans: 1) hug my Hyunny, 2) consume Korean food at Woori Jip. Mission accomplished! I went to undergrad at NYU and then lived in the City for two years after, so it's still a second home. Many of my good buddies have picked up and left (sad face), but Hyun is still there to rescue me from Linsanity, hug me, house me, clothe me, feed me, bathe me, pamper me, and perhaps most importantly, make me laugh. And if all that sounds extremely intimate, well, it is! It's the kind of friendship that can only be borne from meeting in a dorm at the tender age of eighteen.

Hug her.

Eat this.
Hugged her, ate that (rice cakes with beef and mushrooms, sweet rice cakes with redbean filling for dessert, and Sapporo), booked it to the Bronx in the rain, stayed up 'til 2am catching up, passed out.

Thursday, March 1st, 2012:
After somehow managing to wake at 7am, I scarfed leftover rice cakes and got myself on a downtown D train. Waited in a packed line at Starbucks for some coffee as I tried to come to my senses (the funniest thing about going to a Starbucks near the convention site locations was that the lines were constantly packed with art teachers going to the conference-- they gave us huge yellow tote bags, so those were an obvious giveaway, but I was amused to note that art teachers are distinguishable in other ways-- funky glasses, painted boots, artisan-crafted jewelry, colorful attire, etc.), only to be greeted by this scene around 9am at the Hilton sign-in location:

Art teachers en masse = sign-in hysteria!
Believe it or not, you're looking at lines, not just a hoard of people. It was pretty difficult finding which line was which as they snaked through narrow elevator passageways then back through hallways not designed to accommodate such volume. I was grateful for my coffee and the pleasant people I was surrounded by in the D-H line. Shortly after signing in, I ran into my friend Lynn, and we made lunch plans. Then it was time to hit the sessions!

My conference ID badge.

I went to:

  • Active Engagement in the Elementary Art Room
  • Arts Infiltration! Better Visual Assessments in the General Classroom
  • Questions of Identity in Art Education: Reflection, Reflextion, RefleXion
  • Sew What?: Exploring Sewing and Textiles with K-8

Then it was time for lunch at Heartland Brewery with Lynn and her sis. Immediately after lunch there weren't any sessions that called out to me, so I went across the street to MoMA for the Cindy Sherman retrospective. Free admission for convention attendees, what what!

Cindy, please make the rain stop. I'm cold and damp.
Ok, you can stop giving me the crazy eye...


After my MoMA adventure (it was an adventure-- I swear, MoMA is always packed) I went back to the Hilton for one last session, but it was in a tiny room that was filled to capacity. I tried standing in the doorway for a bit, but I was just too tired for that. It was time to call it quits for Day One. Schlepped over to the Columbus Circle American Apparel where I'm sure I was judged for looking like a wet cat / hot mess and bought some shorts, in black, depicted on their website in this priceless image:

(If the model doesn't even look good in them / happy to be wearing them, who will? I wear them under dresses when the weather is warm so that when I am standing on a chair / crawling on the floor / dealing with gale-force winds during car loop duty I don't inadvertently scandalize the children.)

Then Hyun and I met at Whole Foods for a healthy dinner, only to be ruined by yummy chocolate chip cookies from Bouchon Bakery. Don't judge us.

Friday, March 2nd, 2012:
Stopped at Starbucks again, chuckled to myself about art teacher fashion again, and Day Two commenced. I went to:

  • Challenges and Creative Strategies: Classroom Management in the Elementary Art Classroom
  • Digital Art and the Primary Crew
  • Ponder the Potential of Pinwheels: Projects Inspired by Pinwheels for Peace
  • Break for lunch with friends Lynn and Emily at Maison
  • Looking to Write, Writing to Look
  • Artful Thinking and Visible Thinking at Work: Projects for Primary Grades Inspired by Project Zero
I really want to delve into these sessions I sat in on, but I'm so exhausted from the weekend that I don't currently have the brain power. Let's just say that they were awesome, I took a lot of notes, renewed my energy and creative spirit about teaching, and got inspired to maybe give a presentation myself one of these days. 

After Day Two, I went up to the Whitney for the Whitney Biennial (who knew it was a Biennial year!?). Convention goers got discounted admission, but a kind soul gave me his admission sticker, so I walked in for free! I was also carrying gorgeously delicious cupcakes from Crumbs to take back to Maryland (they are packaged in clear bags / clear containers so everyone can see your gorgeous goods) and had a cute conversation with a security guard about whether or not I could carry them around the museum when I encountered the large entry sign that demanded I toss any food. He said I could keep 'em :)

Learned about some new (to me) artists, most notably:

5244, 2010
Andrew Masullo

Nicole Eisenman

Sepulcher (Viking Burial Ship), 2004
Matthew Day Jackson

(Clarification: Only Masullo is in the Biennial.)

That night I met up with Hyun and another longtime friend, (Adam) Spiegel, and had Indian before going over to Dempsey's for a few drinks. And we talked and talked and talked and annoyed our server with our talking once we stopped ordering drinks. I didn't take a pic, but here's a pic of Hyun and Spiegel eating at Katz's Deli for my birthday meal in 2009. I'm going to pretend they're eating Indian in a divey spot on 6th. While smiling at the camera.

I love you guys! So bad.

So, that was my trip! And now I'm frantically scrambling to do laundry and errands and lesson preparation for the week. Yesterday, Saturday, March 3rd, 2012, after hopping off the Bolt Bus around 1:20pm, I started to prep and primp for the Barrister's Ball, which is essentially Law School Prom. But there was no time / energy for anything besides trying to pretend I wasn't exhausted. I did miss the last two days of the Convention, which continued on Saturday and today, but Law School Prom only comes three times for the three years of Law School, and hopefully there are many more Conventions in my future!

We lookin' good. Just sayin'.

Making plans for next weekend: sleeping, staying in, and more sleeping.
Sounds goooooooooooooooood :)


  1. OOOhhhhh - so sorry I didn't get to meet you! I've been posting like crazy about my NYC adventures, but you CLEARLY had better workshops and better food than me. And I didn't get to the Whitney :)

    I came in Thursday noonish and the hotel had NO record of our room. Freaking out.. I was rooming with a blog friend I had never actually met and was seriously worried she was a flake since SHE made the reservation. After lots of panicked phone calls to her as she rode the train from CT to Grand Central, the hotel FINALLY realized that someone had made a boo boo and there was indeedy a room. By that time I was exhausted and also unsettled. Erica (roommate) finally arrived and we got lunch and by that time, after a visit to the vendors, we went to a paid workshop and no others until Friday. My Friday/Saturday workshops were not great as a whole.

    But I did get to hear/see Chuck Close and meet some blogger friends so that made it all worthwhile.

    1. Phyl, I am so sad that I didn't get to meet you! I was unplugged all weekend-- I don't have a smart phone (yet) and I didn't bring my laptop, otherwise I might have read your post and met up! I did keep my eye out for you, though-- without any luck :( Just read all your posts from the Convention and I love all the photos you took, especially everything with Mr. E! Those cracked me up. So glad the hotel situation got worked out, I can only imagine the stress. It was exhausting just being there WITHOUT something like that happening! The Hilton was such a madhouse on Thursday.

      I should have posted an eating guide prior to the Convention. I take affordable and delicious NYC eating VERY seriously, haha.

  2. Your posts are so interesting and full of humor! Lovin' your blog, you seem awesome!