It's December 1st and I'm reflecting on this past year and all of the personal growth and recovery I've been through and how my art and connections with my art family have remained a constant throughout this crazy time.
Personal Art Reflection: My new studio space was finally finished in early June and Bella (my mini-aussiedoodle) and I have moved in and are both enjoying our time relaxing and creating. (She mostly just relaxes and supervises the artmaking.) I'm wrapping up a series of works that I started in January of 2021. These pastels range in size from 5"x7" to 11"x14" and are a journey through the emotions of the year. Colors and mark-making were inspired by feelings and at times, memories of places I've visited. I'm getting very excited as I gear up for my first personal exhibition in January! Now that the work is (mostly) created, it's time to matt and frame it for the exhibition. I'm really looking forward to this opportunity.
Art Family Reflection: I just participated in my first NAEA Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Liaison meeting and it was so inspiring to be talking with other art educators from around the country who share a passion for making art education "better". I am honored to be one of Ohio's two liaisons for this position and am definitely gearing up for the work required of this position. It will be exciting to see where these ED&I trainings leads our organization. Who knows... maybe I'll be able to create some ED&I training sessions to share with everyone!
In closing... take time to reflect this month as you prepare for the new year. Who knows what 2022 will bring!
It has been a very busy year at my house! I am blessed to spend much time with my beautiful treasured grandchildren during this semi retirement stage of my life. They are exhausting, but it’s never a dull moment for MiMI and Poppy.
I learned to never say never when we added a new puppy to our family after I said I wasn’t going to be tied down again. Mia Bella, an Australian Shepherd, has brought energy and love to our home and is a true beauty. She loves the grandkids and is very playful!!
I am keeping very busy during my semi-retirement and enjoy continuing my art experiences but in teaching and creating! I continue to be an adjunct for OSU at Newark campus teaching the History of Art and Music and Curriculum Concepts in Art for Elementary teachers. The college students keep me inspired and always learning something new! It’s my brain gym and my passion.
I also am honored to again be an Artist in Residence for the Ohio Arts Council's TeachArtsOhio grant program. This year I'm teaching for 36 days at two middle schools in Westerville. Working with Jules Rathj, we are implementing issues of social justice, identity, and empathy through community based arts integrated projects. It is a welcoming challenge to be able to actually teach again in a classroom of middle school students who also serve as motivators for my continued learning!
It was wonderful to be able to attend the 2021 OAEA Conference even if it was for only one evening! I enjoyed connecting again with treasured colleagues and friends and watching the leadership evolve and add energy and insight to the organization. I am proud to be a member of the organization and to meet with such dedicated art teachers.
I spent part of the pandemic lock-down on Zoom learning Zentangle!
Pam Siegnorelli, an art teacher friend in Florida, was giving weekly lessons and I spent happy hours between lessons perfecting patterns and developing my own compositions.
The part I especially enjoyed was shading them using colored pencils so I developed a product! I did R&D, the whole thing. I mailed proto-types to friends and stranglers and got feedback. I refined my concept and product accordingly.
The little “Add Color, Add Dimension“ package is intended for anyone who wants to relax and color, even better if it is with a friend.
It is a packet of 8 designs, two of each design in a sweet little pocket folder designed and assembled by yours truly. I included a Mini-Art lesson on how to shade the line drawings to make them 3-dimensional. It was a fun project!
I made up 200 and I sold some in Cincinnati at the OAEA Artisan’s Mart. In the photo I am wearing our SE region pack of cards collaboration outfit.
We all need a bit of glitter and grace!
Hello, Fellow Fellows!
This week I dared to take a personal day in the middle of the week on a Wednesday. I made sure my sub plans were all in order when I left school on Tuesday and didn't look back! It was so wonderful to wake up when I wanted and I went to the gym in the morning when I had plenty of energy instead of at the end of the day when I was worn out. I had a leisurely breakfast while reading my book and headed to Columbus just before lunch. Why was I heading to Columbus? For a change it was not for OAEA as much as I love our organization! I went to see the Van Gogh Immersion exhibit at Polaris. I bought my $50 tickets way back in March because I heard that it was selling out fast and I didn't want to miss it like I did the Kusama exhibit.
Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists because of how he used color and quick brush strokes. I was really excited but did not know much about the show except that images were projected on the walls and floors so you felt like you were in one of his paintings. This was so true! The whole exhibit was one big room where you could stand or sit in these projected circles while you watched what was like an art movie on a continuous loop. The whole thing lasted about 30 minutes but you could stay as long as you wanted and watch it as many times as you wanted. I love how some of the images were made up of layers that had moving parts and one image would burn or bleed away to reveal another below it. It really had some amazing visual effects and nice music and sounds.
I am really glad I went but I can say that it was not worth the $50 ticket. It was just a movie and I did not leave having learned any more about Van Gogh. It was great for an escape and to temporarily forget about the outside world.
The gift shop was large and had a nice variety of items to buy with his work on it at a hefty price. That did not surprise me and I was willing to pay too much for a souvenir. However, I felt like there were only about six different images to choose from when he painted about 2000 paintings in his 10 year career as an artist. It was so limiting.
Should you go see it? Yes. You will enjoy it and it is like eye candy. Is it worth the $50? No, but if you don't go you will always wonder what you missed!
From your fellow Fellow,
In 1980 I was attending my first OAEA Conference in Cleveland, “Vital Venture: Art in the 80s.” I was excited and anxious as I stepped on the escalator taking me up to the main floor of the Cleveland Renaissance Hotel. As I stepped off the escalator my eyes fell upon a certain lady. She was gorgeous, statuesque and a fashionesta of the highest level! I was so taken with her! Within moments a mutual friend had introduced us. I had just met Elizabeth “Betsy Ritari” Harris. Before I had attended any inspirational workshops; shared lessons at the Divisional Meeting; or listened to the keynote speakers, Joe Prince, Joseph McCullough or William McVey; I had met a lifelong friend who would do more to influence my teaching than any other person in my professional life.
Betsy taught in Painesville City and I taught in neighboring Mentor. She was not only the art teacher at Hobart Middle School, she was Hobart Middle School. She was its pulse and vitality. On a daily basis she gave 200% to her students, inspired the staff and all, while being dressed to the nines with FABULOUS SHOES!!! We soon were involving each other in our school activities. It soon became a tradition to surprise each other on the first day of Youth Art Month with flowers or donuts for the faculty/staff or unexpected visits. When she took over for Becky Laabs as the Youth Art Month coordinator we started sharing OAEA leadership gatherings/meeting. The more I learned from Betsy the more my students benefitted.
When I was Local Conference Coordinator for the 1988 OAEA conference, “Art at the Summit,” in Akron, Betsy was my banquet chair. I knew that her flair and aesthetic would transform the ballroom into a wonderland. She did not disappoint! In addition she showed up with a tank of helium, balloons, and paper tie on stars that said, “Celebrate Art at the Summit with Kurt.” All balconies in the former Quaker Oats silos looked onto the lobby. I spent my free time sending off balloons, that due to the weight of the stars, gently drifted down to the conference attenders below.
I could write a novel on our friendship. It is such a treasure to me. As I write this I look over at the area of my studio with treasured momentos and there is the glass globe paperweight that Betsy gave me when her YAM theme was “Art Can Make a World of Difference.” To me Betsy has made a world of difference.
Kurt F. Reichert
I moved to Tacoma WA in August to be nearer to family. Moving and downsizing was stressful, particularly deciding what art work to keep. However, it gave me an opportunity to see each piece I kept in a new light as I found a new home for it. My guest room doubles as my studio and I've put it to good use creating a picture book about my cross country move for my young grands out here. I've attached a sample of the illustrations. I rediscovered my love of illustration during lockdown. I love Tacoma (hometown of Dale Chihuly), my new home, and being close to family. But I do miss the many wonderful friends I developed over my many years in Ohio.
With inspiration from Georgann Blair and Laura Tawil a group of OAEA members honored Randy with their own embellished blazers. We also displayed one of his famous blazers to promote the Randy Robart Memorial Fund.
To honor Randy’s memory, his family requested a fund be established to provide money for art teachers who operate on a very tight supply budget.
To apply for this program please fill out and submit the form available on the home page of the OAEA website by January 1, 2022. Spread the word about this great opportunity! Fellows, please make this information known to teachers your know or/and mentor!
Hello to all..
As I sit here in my best friend's house preparing for my brother-in-law's internment tomorrow, I'm really missing my OAEA family.
I KNOW that all of you that are in Cinci or heading there will have a fantastic time with colleagues, but I'm sad to miss this face to face time with you all. I know that I am with you in spirit and hope to join the Fellows in May at our annual meeting. I thought about submitting this to the blog (thank you Susan for creating/monitoring it) but this 'old timer' couldn't figure out how to add a post for the blog, so I'm sending this along.
Here are a few pics of our new 'heaven' in southwest Kentucky---if any of you are ever in our area (or are passing through), call, email, and stop through! We'd love to have you, and we have plenty of room! We have an awesome view from our back patio that makes us feel like we're in the country/mountains but are just 1/4 mile from the town square (population 4500) and actually in town! The fall color change is absolutely beautiful down here right now, and we are enjoying a quieter simpler life away from the hubbub of a busy big city with constant traffic and sirens.
So have a GREAT conference this year! Enjoy the camaraderie and fellowship with colleagues and friends, and know that I'm thinking of all of you and the fun you're having! And please someone post pics of the jackets in memory of our dear friend Randy...
I'm missing my OAEA family!
Randy Robart, our esteemed colleague and friend, also an active Artist, internationally renowned Art Educator, passed away at the age of 64, on June 7, 2021. Randy was battling pancreatic cancer.
Randy is survived by his parents, Donald and Mary Robart; his brothers and sisters-in-law, Ronald and Gale Robart, Thomas and Suzanne Robart; former spouse, Anna Davidson (Wade); son, John Robart, son and daughter-in-law, Ross and Caitlin Robart; and grandson, Donald Robart. Randy is survived also by numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Randy was born in Orrville, Ohio on September, 27, 1957, to Donald and Mary Robart. He worked on the family farm growing up along with his brothers, and is a graduate of Chippewa High School. Randy attended the Wayne County Vocational School for industrial drafting and began working at Ingersoll Rand in their drafting department before moving to the marketing department. Randy had always been creative and after counsel from close friends and loved ones, he decided to go to college for art education. He graduated from the University of Akron with a bachelors in art education, and the later a masters degree in art education from Kent State University. Randy always had a knack for the creative, and truly valued guiding the youth. He began working at Rittman Exempted Village School District, where he remained as the Art Teacher for 34 years until his untimely passing. Randy's work over the years to guide his students on how to always be creative, and to challenge themselves to think critically, have been truly inspirational.
Randy also enjoyed travelling both nationwide and internationally, he enjoyed making new friends, spreading creativity and inspiring others, he enjoyed cooking, biking, hiking, gardening, and otherwise being outside. He will be sorely missed and never forgotten.
Randy had a long and successful history with the Ohio Art Education Association (OAEA) and the National Art Education Association (NAEA) - may we all have the joy Randy had in service to art education and the profession:
2010 WR Delegate Omaha, NB 2012 NAEA Delegate New York, NY
2011 WR Delegate Columbus, OH 2013 NAEA Delegate Ft. Worth, TX
2012 WR Delegate Austin, TX 2014 NAEA Workshop Presenter (advocacy)
2013 WR Delegate Oklahoma City, OK 2014 NAEA Delegate San Diego, CA
2014 WR Delegate Sante Fe, NM 2015 NAEA Delegate New Orleans, LA
2015 WR Delegate Sante Fe, NM
Honors: OAEA Offices held:
OAEA 2017 Ohio Art Educator of the Year State Conference Chair 2015
Advocate Award w/Honor 2016 Nominating Comm. Chair 2015 & 2016
Distinguished Fellow 2015 Prof. Standards Chair 2015 & 2016
Ohio Governor’s Show Advisory Board 2015 Past President 2015 & 2016
Secondary Division Award 2006 President 2013 & 2014
East Central O.A.T. Award 2003 President Elect 2012
Presenter, OAEA Conference – multiple years 1st VP 2010 & 2011
Elected Board Member 2009
East Central Regional Director 2009
East Central Regional Director Elect 2008
East Central P.R. Chair 2006 & 2007
East Central P.R. Chair Elect 2005
East Central Co-membership chair 2003 - 05
Source: https://www.the-daily-record.com/obituaries/pwoo0028661; and OAEA Distinguished Fellows official biography Photos provided by friends, family, and FB
Suzanne began 2021 as the new Fellows Chair and as well as the Ohio Art Education Foundation Co-President, sharing that role with Dennis Cannon. She is also winding down her teaching career at with Centerville City Schools where she has worked since 2001. She recalls the year she started at the Kindergarten Village watching the devastating events unfold on 9/11. Fast forward to 2020 she has experienced another life altering experience working through the COVID pandemic. She thought she could just ease through her final year, but it was certainly more challenging than expected with her school having seven different Integrated Arts schedules this school year!
Through all the challenges there have also been plenty of positive experiences. She has been able to spend lots more time with her family and even had her Columbus daughter living with her last spring. Suzanne was able to continue her work at the beading torch with her “bead buddies” Sue Ayers and Alice Tavani.
She’s learned tons of new technology and is especially happy about having a stronger connection with families as everyone struggles to stay connected through Zoom and the Google Classroom. Even though she had to make lots of adjustments to her classroom and even her teaching style the best part was when students were finally able to back in person.