VATA Conference

The 2020 NAEA National Convention will take place in Minneapolis, MN, March 26-28, 2020, at the Minneapolis Convention Center.




The NAEA National Convention is an annual event providing substantive professional development services that include the advancement of knowledge in all sessions, events, and activities for the purpose of improving visual arts instruction in American schools. As such, it is the world’s largest art education convention.

The three-day Convention includes over 1,000 participatory workshops, panels, seminars for job-alike groups…research reports, discussions, exhibits, and tours…keynote addresses by world-acclaimed educators, artists, researchers, and scholars…with the opportunity to connect with your colleagues from all over the world. Each year, some 110-200 exhibitor booths displaying the latest art textbooks, high-tech software, prints, slides, curriculum materials, equipment, and programs, as well as the latest studio and art history media are made available for examination and review by art educator delegates. It is a professional development opportunity to update oneself on the vista of state-of-the-art materials to advance visual art instruction in local art programs. All sessions and events are 100 percent content-oriented and substantively based.


Thank YOU VATA Members for Making this one of our most successful conferences! Pictures soon to come!



2019 VATA Conference: REGISTER HERE 

Friday, September 27th Schedule

8:30-9:00 Registration

9:00- 9:30 Annual Meeting- who we are, vote in, Abby’s presentation, Mark Open Positions, YAM Presentation

9:30-10:20 Keynote Speaker

10:30-12:15 Session I

12- 4pm Vendors Set UP

12:30-1:30 Lunch: LGBTQ Talk

1:45-3:30 Session II

3:40 TOY,  Raffle & Certificate Pickup 


Mark Your Calendars: 

Friday, September 27th, 2019

Lake Morey Resort, Fairlee, VT


It is our great pleasure to announce our Keynote Speaker for the 2019 Conference:

Cassie Stephens

Cassie Stephens Bio 

After spending entirely too long at Indiana University getting her degree in both painting and art education, Cassie Stephens did her student teaching in the magical land of Ireland. While she was away, her parents, fully aware of her slacker ways, sent out 52 art teacherin’ job applications to such far away places as Alaska. One such place that called her for an interview was Nashville, Tennessee. On a whim, she loaded up her jean-jumpers, resume and chain-smoking grandma to make the trip to Nashville where she landed her first teaching gig.

Fast forward nearly 15 years and Cassie had settled down with her husband and their three cats. Sadly, she’d fallen into an art teacherin’ slump rehashing stale art lessons, still wearing those sad jean jumpers and doing little creating of her own. It was then that she decided to create a blog that might help snap her out of her funk. Her idea was this: if she were to write thrice weekly about her ensembles, her lessons and her creations then she’d be forced to inject more creativity into her life.

Zip forward once more to the present. These days, you can find Cassie teaching in Franklin, Tennessee, just south of Nashville. Cassie has maintained her blog for the last four years. Since then, she’s managed to find the secret to her personal art teacherin’ happiness by connecting the passions in her life: teaching, creating and dressing like a crazy person. Such has helped her connect with a world of art teacherin’ friends who are also passionate about this most amazing and incredible job.  





Register for Conference here! 

Friday Workshop Presenters:

1. Cassie Stephens. Cassie will be leading a Morning and Afternoon Session. 

Workshop Description:

Weaving 101  


Cassie has been teaching weaving to elementary and middle school aged children for the last 20
years. She’s learned the best practices when it comes to introducing children to the wonderful
world of weaving. In this workshop, Cassie will lead you through a series of lessons that will
allow students to grow and explore weaving with success. From paper weaving to straw, CD,
cardboard loom, plate weaving and more, come prepared to learn a weaving project for every
elementary and middle school grade level. At the end of this workshop, you’ll have a ton of
weaving projects that will both educate and excite your budding fiber artists!

Intro to Needle Felting


Cassie Stephens began exploring the art of needle felting five years ago. Since then, she’s
created an entire wardrobe of needle felted wears from her Mondrian coat to her The Scream
dress to her light up Starry Night ensemble. Needle felting is similar to painting but wool roving
is your medium. In this workshop, Cassie will share ways for you to explore this medium both in
and out of your art room. Feel free to bring an old sweater or garment that you’d like to felt
on.At the end of this workshop, you’ll not only learn the art of needle felting but have created
your own wearable work of art!
NOTE: Extra costs for materials


2. Emily Mitchell: An artist and Art Educator living in Richmond, VT. Her paintings are a vibrant celebration of color, nature and narrative. Through the development of layers of paint and marks on canvas, she weaves a beautiful narrative which reveals itself the longer you linger.

Workshop Description: 

(Note: Morning Session Sold Out, Afternoon Session still has some Spots Available).

This hands-on multi- material workshop will provide you a place to play and explore some of the prompts and ideas that Emily utilizes in her art and teaching daily. This class will push and prod you to consider how to approach “being stuck” and how “mistakes” are really just “opportunities”. You will leave the workshop with several small,  mixed-media pieces, which you can choose to combine in an accordion book format, or, leave loose.

IMPORTANT - Please BRING at least 4, 6”x6” images, each photocopied 6 times(for a total of 24 pieces of paper). These can be reproductions of your own work, graphic images you respond to, running text - truly anything!! We will be sharing these images with each other, and using them to create our “BINGO” squares! (I will have some on hand, but it is so much more FUN when folks bring in their own pieces of the game!)

3. Elissa Campbell: Has been making for the past 25 years and sells her work professionally under the business name of Blue Roof Designs. She is a big believer in the power of using books for self expression. She is the current present of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. 

Both Sessions Sold Out!

Workshop Description: Creative Bookmaking. In this workshop you'll start with creating Hedi Kyle's Triangular Book, a one sheet wonder that includes a cover. Then it's time to play! You'll collaborate with your classmates by participating in an art journal round robin. Bring your favorite writing tools and your sense of fun!

4. Barb Paulson: No Strings Marionettes. As a passionate marionette maker, and teaching artist, Barbara plumps that harmonious balance between rigor and play. Creating with inspired artists of any age sustains and nourishes her playful muse. 

Workshop Description: Connect with your playful muse as you use techniques from the puppeteer's trade to fashion exquisite materials into unique and lively puppets that will continue their life with you once the VATA conference is through.

 5. Lucie DeLaBruere: Lucie deLaBruere is passionate about Learning through Creating and Making.  She is an ambassador of creativity and innovation and brings her mobile studio to several schools throughout the state to work with teachers and students. She teaches at University of Vermont  and also is the founder of Create Make Learn Summer Institute. She shares resources and blogs at

Workshop Description: 

Session 1: Getting Started with WeVideo

Let’s make media using WeVideo - a cloud based media tool that makes video and podcast creation available anytime/anywhere.  Please bring a chromebook or laptop and earbuds. A phone can be helpful to capture video clips.

Session 2:  Playing with Video  

Let’s play with new and advanced features of  WeVideo. We’ll play with green screen, new motion titles and transition,  podcasting option, new library of free to use media, and more. 

 -Please bring a chromebook or laptop and earbuds.  A phone can be helpful to capture video clips.
Please attend Session 1 to learn the basics if you are new to WeVideo

6. Meredith Holch: She is an animation artist, puppeteer, and crankie-picture-show maker specializing in socially relevant themes. Her work shows at venues ranging from the Museum of Modern Art, to the walls of endangered community gardens. She earned her MFA in Film/Video from Bard College. Meredith has over fifteen years experience teaching stop-motion animation and puppetry at elementary school through college levels.

Workshop Description: What is a “crankie”? Think hand-made, people-powered paper movie! As you turn the crank, the pictures scroll through the viewing box. This hands-on workshop, will take us through all the steps of crankie making from crankie box construction, to illustrating a 15 foot paper scroll, to crank insertion to final demonstration.

Saturday Session: ReGister now

ALL In- Inclusion in the Art Room

Saturday, September 28th, 2019

10am -3pm

Chandler Gallery

Randolph, Vermont 

Wishing you had more strategies to make your art room a more inclusive place ?

Join VATA, Carlos Cruz and Barry Morang from the NAEA’s LGBTQ+ task force and Lorien Leyden from VCFA To discuss strategies, resources and hands on projects you can use to make your art room a creative and welcoming place. 


Did you know that the NAEA has a Force on Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Task Force? Read More About it!






2019 NAEA Convention in Boston: 

And that's a wrap! From thousands of sessions and workshops to our VT Teacher of the Year Ceremony to Renowned Artists and Educators. Hope all our members have recovered from the whirlwind known as the NAEA Convention.

A special THANK YOU to the VATA Members that came out to our Meet Up. We had over 40 members join us!


NAEA 2019 National Convention is in Boston this Year. March 14-16

1 City | 3 Days | 1,000+ Sessions | 5,000 Art Educators

Going to the NAEA Conference in Boston and Haven't Signed Up Yet?


Member Meet Up in Boston: Friday, March 15th, 6pm. Sidebar & Grille at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, 39 Dalton Street, Boston, MA. VATA will be providing appetizers to all members!






A special Thank You To everyone that made the 2018 vata Conference so Great!

We Hope to See you in Boston 2019!



Attending the 2018 VATA Conference?


Connect via Facebook and Instagram


2018 Conference at Lake Morey Resort, Fairlee, VT  September 28, 2018

Address: 82 Clubhouse Rd, Fairlee, VT 05045
Phone: (802) 333-4311

Be the Artist! Art Educators... This conference is all about YOU! Connect your creative spirit to the national art standards: Create, Present, Respond, and Connect. Studio practices and engagement with contemporary and traditional art forms are essential to an art educator's professional development and lifelong learning. This is an opportunity for you to be the artist, the teacher, and the student. 

Our keynote speaker, Ken Leslie, will discuss his artistic investigations of light and dark, artist books, and talk about how he balances being a professional artist and professor of art. 

Take a workshop during our breakout session! Workshops include: Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop, Gelli Arts, Lantern Building, Creative Bookmaking, Transfer Collage Monotypes, Kumihimo Braiding, and a Color Intensive workshop with Ken Leslie.

Also, sign up for VATA's Saturday Studio Session: Work it Out with Clay: Using Clay to Address Trauma. The session will take place on September 29 from 10-3 at Artistree in Pomfret, Vermont. Learn both theoretical and hands on approaches to using clay to help students address trauma. Register early as space is limited.




(9/28) Transfer Collage Monotype Workshop with Lian Brehm
Create a transfer collage monotype! Participants will cut, tear, hole punch, etc. pre-inked oak tag pieces to create a reverse image, which will run through the print press, transferring the ink to paper. This technique that can easily be adapted for all students from K-12.

(9/28) Building Lanterns, Building Community Workshop with Gowri Savoor
Visual/teaching-artist, Gowri Savoor, will lead participants in a lantern-building workshop using a variety of construction techniques and materials including willow, tissue paper, and LED lights. Savoor’s in-school residencies culminate in a celebratory, outdoor processional event after dark, engaging students, teachers, parents and community members.

(9/28) Gelli Arts Workshop with Susan Smereka
The focus in this workshop will be on integrating stenciling techniques into your work. There will be two “follow along” demos to get you going. Then, you will create your own stencils and experiment with different ways to achieve the best results for your subject matter. Please come with drawings and/or picture/photos.

(9/28) Nip and Tuck Creative Bookmaking! Workshop with Linda Whelihan
 We’ll make decorative, expressive papers and fold, flip, stack and sew them to make engaging book formats. We’ll share ideas and materials. Bring your imagination, special papers and ephemera and we’ll brainstorm together!

(9/28) Braiding: A Marriage of Multiculturalism & Math Workshop with Ruby Leslie
It takes 5 minutes to learn to make 16-strand Kumihimo braids. These Japanese braids look complicated but are as easy for a 1st grader as a high school student and keep both equally engaged. All it takes is some yarn and a simple cardboard disk with slits and a hole in the middle. Make a sample braid, then learn to set up the disk for a wide variety of patterns. We’ll discuss how to integrate this gender neutral art form into curriculum - from mathematical applications to cultural studies.

(9/28) Lightroom and Photoshop Workshop with Mike Ariel
In this entertaining presentation, we will look at the benefits of using Lightroom and Photoshop together while making some amazing art. No experience needed, only imagination and enthusiasm. Come see how you can use these creative tools in your classroom. Supplies needed: All participants should have access to Lightroom and Photoshop. However, attendees may also observe the demo.

Color Intensive Workshop with Ken Leslie
Starting with a quick review of color theory for painting and design, we’ll do several projects ideal for getting you and your students excited about color and how to use it. We’ll look into the history of color in art and discuss the symbolic, emotional and psychological effects of color in art and everyday life. We’ll go on to a series of exercises that bring out the possibilities of color in art. Bring your choice of acrylics, watercolor, colored pencils or pastels and the appropriate paper.


Paid with Registration (9/29) - VATA's Saturday Studio Session @ Artistree in Pomfret, VT
Join us @ Artistree on Saturday, September 29 from 10-3 for "Work It Out with Clay: Using Clay to Address Trauma." Learn theoretical and hands on approaches to using clay to help students address trauma. Start by learning about using the arts with students affected by trauma from Tracy Penfield, founder of Safe Arts. Fiona Davis, director of the clay program at Artistree, will lead participants in several hands on activities that can help you lead trauma informed projects in a classroom setting.

 Tentative Schedule:

Friday Session:

7:30-8:00 Yoga/Pilates taught by Jenny Jacobson

8:15-9:00 Registration 

9:00-10:00 Keynote Speaker

10:00- 1:00 Breakout sessions

1:00-2:00 Lunch -Annual Meeting-TOY

2:00-3:00 Formal present, respond, connect.

3:00-3:30 Cookies, raffle, evaluations, & certificates (will come online) -end all together  in the main space.

Saturday Session: Artistree in Woodstock/ Pomfret


Announcing our VATA 2018 Conference, at the beautiful Lake Morey Resort. Please Save the Date!



Thanks To Everyone Who Made Our 2017 A Hit!