Thinking about networking. Visual Arts teachers unite!

Creating a network of Visual Arts teachers within CIS schools has been the focus of my Action Plan (Part 1).  I realized right away that I have already created a platform to open the discussion by founding the CIS Student Visual Arts Festival in 2017 with @drutherford.  When we created the CISVAF, we were focused on the student experience and on designing an opportunity for students to be inspired, collaborate, connect and share their learning, while working with professional artists in workshops around a specific theme. This festival has been the bulk of my 10x (@sethgodin) work for the past 3+years.

This past year, I have been collaborating with Matt Wyatt at SAC to help support the organization of the 3rd annual CISVAF for 2019 that is set to run this week!  This experience, as well as the opportunity of being inspired by #Cohort21 (which I will be eternally grateful for), has reminded me that I have been seeking a deeper connection with Visual Arts educators in CIS Ontario.  The goal of creating this network is personally significant; a quest to end my solo experience and begin a network of support, encouragement, and inspiration for other educators that might be feeling disconnected and in need of some cheerleading!

In speaking with @drutherford (Future Design School and Cohort alum) about this action plan, she brilliantly condensed my long-winded thoughts into: “HMW leverage the CIS Ontario community to drive innovation in visual arts?” – when you need help, ask a pro! Right, @lmcbeth!  I am thrilled that Diane will be running a Future Design workshop for Visual Arts teachers based on this HMW at this year’s festival.  Afterward, we will follow with a networking opportunity.  @jroberts @ahughes @dmonson @lbelanger @lwest ~ I’d LOVE your input and to hear your ideas about how to make this experience great!  I’m hoping we can connect at the next F2F as well.

I’m including the below images, as I am proud of my girls for finishing the collaborate artwork from the CISVAF 2018 this week.  The smaller 4 x 4 individual artworks are based on the theme, “Gender: Defined and Redefined” and together represent the CIS schools that attended.   At the festival this week, we are looking forward to sharing the 48″ x 48″ resin coated panel that it has evolved into.  How awesome for the student leaders who organized the event for the past two years to see and experience how the festival has evolved at SAC.  We can’t wait!

10 thoughts on “Thinking about networking. Visual Arts teachers unite!

    1. Hi Justin,
      Thanks so much for this feedback. I am so grateful to have this amazing community to help start this Action Plan. I imagine that a day of collaboration and networking will help to strengthen a vision for addressing the needs of VA teachers in CIS schools. I can’t wait to gather feedback and insights from the CISVAF 2019 on Tuesday and be ready to share on Friday. Seems like perfect timing!

    1. Thanks, Lisa! I can’t wait to connect again at the next F2F. It feels meant to be that we are in the same year of Cohort21! When Jan Campbell @jcampbell connected us a few years ago, at the onset of the CIS Fest, I was so grateful. Your willingness to share your experience in organizing the CISDF was immensely helpful and I truly appreciated every word of advice. It was so nice to finally have the opportunity to thank you in person in October! I will really look forward to hearing all of your ideas about how we can form this network and am excited about all of the possibilities that might come from this collaboration!

    1. Thanks, Eric! Cohort21 has definitely ignited a fire for more collaboration. It has solidified the positivity that this type of community can have on teaching and approaching your practice through a new lens. I will seriously be forever grateful for the experience!

  1. This is great stuff, Sam! I’m also interested in putting together a more transparent network for the Visual Arts in the CIS. I have found that, beyond the realm of teaching, artistic collaboration always produces unexpected and rewarding results! Looking forward to chatting on Friday!

    1. That’s awesome, Derek! I’ll really look forward to it! Part II of my Action Plan is to discuss Assessment in Visual Arts. I’d love to explore if there is a way we can set a Best Practices or Standard for CIS Visual Arts teachers. Is there a way for us to collaborate and go “gradeless”? At a minimum, focus on feedback and process, not product. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this too!

  2. Sam, I am so excited about your action plan. Starting a community begins a fantastic new opportunity for like-minded educators to connect, share, and inspire. I began an organization in Peterborough and am currently working on one across Canada to inspire youth. Let’s chat about organization and ideas for structure. Plus, you should connect with @amacrae regarding her experience in building the women’s network conference for CIS!

    Look forward to seeing you on Friday!


  3. So excited to see @drutherford come back to the #cohort21 community in this way — she will bring so much expertise to the CISVAF this year. It’s also such a great opportunity to provide students with an authentic audience for their work – can’t wait to hear about how it went!

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