Chatham High School Art teachers Eric Hreha and Kiera Spadaro presented at the 2016 Annual Art Educators of New Jersey (AENJ) Conference, held last month at the Ocean Place Resort and Spa in Long Branch. The theme of the conference was “Story and Art.”
Hreha and Spadaro presented an hour-long workshop entitled “The Art of Acceptance” to an audience of more than 30 secondary level art educators. The workshop focused on “Week of Respect” projects that the CHS teachers have successfully incorporated into the art curriculum over the past four years. Each year, teachers in New Jersey are asked to observe the “Week of Respect” during the first week of October and aim to integrate messages of acceptance and anti-bullying into the classroom. They discussed the objective of each project, as well as the materials needed, lesson plan documents, possible lesson extensions, project location and installation, and publicity.
Hreha and began by their presentation by highlighting the high profile Keith Haring-inspired sidewalk chalk murals that they completed with an estimated 300+ students in 2014 and concluded with an overview of the “Before I Die…” wall that they just completed late last week for the 2016 “Week of Respect.”
Feedback from the workshop was positive and several attendees expressed interest in utilizing these projects at their schools in the future.