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Art Class Curator


This podcast is dedicated to empowering you to embrace teaching art with works of art. Each episode will dive deep into different aspects of teaching art - from passionate art teachers sharing their work, to mini trainings on art appreciation strategies that you can use in your classroom, to conversations about the highs and lows that come with being a teacher. Come back each week for an informative interview with an amazing art teacher!

This podcast is dedicated to empowering you to embrace teaching art with works of art. Each episode will dive deep into different aspects of teaching art - from passionate art teachers sharing their work, to mini trainings on art appreciation strategies that you can use in your classroom, to conversations about the highs and lows that come with being a teacher. Come back each week for an informative interview with an amazing art teacher!


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This podcast is dedicated to empowering you to embrace teaching art with works of art. Each episode will dive deep into different aspects of teaching art - from passionate art teachers sharing their work, to mini trainings on art appreciation strategies that you can use in your classroom, to conversations about the highs and lows that come with being a teacher. Come back each week for an informative interview with an amazing art teacher!




Boost Student Engagement and Success with Social-Emotional Learning with Jeffrey Benson

The percentage of U.S. students who graduate from high school has never been higher in our history. But have schools ever been structured, resourced, or intended to educate everybody’s child? During Jeffrey Benson’s time as a teacher, mentor, and administrator for over 40 years, he worked with neglected, abused, traumatized, and autistic students who struggled with mainstream education. He now focuses on helping schools be more successful with more students through a better understanding of...


Art as a Powerful Gateway for Conversations About Race with Dani Coke

We sometimes talk about using art to make a difference. And while some may be cynical about that claim, my guest today isn’t one of them. Dani Coke has an incredible story to share about how her art went viral overnight, made a difference, and really changed her life, and she explains her artistic process. As you listen to her describe her journey, you’ll get chills at the power of her art, just like I did! 2:01​ - Dani briefly explains her history as a lover of art and creativity 5:56 -...


Rediscovering the Emotional and Personal Power of Art

In the wake of the pandemic last year, I recorded a conference, Called to Art, that brought together educators from across the U.S. It was an amazing experience where I used real-world examples of myself to discuss what we learn from looking at art, how we can become emotionally connected to particular pieces of art, and why you should show more works of art to your students. It was all about discovering and rediscovering the emotional power of art, and I want to share that presentation with...


Bringing the Past Into the Present: A 9/11 Memorial Artwork Case Study

The 20th anniversary of 9/11 is right around the corner. So many people, including your students, weren’t alive when it happened. That’s shocking when you think about it because of how it changed our world practically overnight and still influences current events. So in this episode, I want to use the 9/11 Memorial artwork as a case study for bringing past (and present) events into the classroom and using art to process, reflect, practice empathy, and better understand complex issues. 4:57​...


Pretty In Pictures: The Art and Business of Photography with Beryl Young

Imagine that you’ve never experienced a whole lot of grief before. Then something devastating happens to you and leads to something beautiful. It happened to my guest today, Beryl Young. I’ve known her for several years, ever since I first started Art Class Curator at a blogger conference. Before working with teachers and schools on photography curriculum, she taught kindergarteners and 1st graders for 10 years. Listen as she shares the powerful story of how she started her photography...


Why Picasso’s Guernica Paints Such a Powerfully Emotional Picture

Art as a defensive weapon? It seems strange, but Pablo Picasso demonstrated its power in his painting Guernica. I’ve brought Jennifer Easterling back onto the show for another art conversation, and this time we discuss Picasso’s famous artwork. Both of us had strong gut reactions to it, so in this episode we talk about what it’s taught us and its importance in history. 1:47​ - Jenn recalls her reaction when she first laid eyes on Guernica 6:02 - I discuss my unexpected emotional experience...


Getting Great at Grant Proposal Writing with Barbara Lardner

Does the idea of writing a grant proposal intimidate you? Barbara Lardner is an art teacher who’s taught in multiple grade levels throughout elementary, middle, and high school for over 25 years. She also happens to be an expert at grant writing for the classroom. So in this episode, I’ve invited her on to share her experiences, tips, and best practices for how you can write a great grant proposal. 2:56​ - How Barbara was granted a trip to Paris 5:14 - Different types of grants offered and...


What is a SPARKwork? Using SPARKworks to Light Up Your Art Lessons

What in the world is a SPARKwork? At Art Class Curator, we love to do things differently than what you’ll find anywhere else. Recently, I relaunched The Curated Connections Library with SPARKworks, a new name with new features for an established framework. In this episode, I walk you through what a SPARKwork lesson is, how to follow one step-by-step, and offer tips on how to use these sorts of lessons in your classroom. 3:21​ - Why The Curated Connections Library became more than just about...


Destroying the Big Myth That Can Cause You to Underestimate Your Art Students

Ever since I started Art Class Curator in 2014, I’ve heard a lot of teachers who haven’t tried our lessons tell me that their students can’t do them. They think the lessons are too high-level or their students won’t connect with the works of art. Oh how wrong they are! So today I want to dissolve the myth that your students can’t handle higher level thinking and gain a deeper connection with art in the classroom. 8:18​ - The only difference between age groups during art lessons 9:39 - One...


Reclaim Your Classroom and Teaching Spark With Intention, Joy, and Purpose

This year was one of, if not the hardest, for teachers in their entire career. Many reached a breaking point and decided to leave the classroom or retire early. And while it might be better going forward, everything isn’t fixed. The pandemic goes on, and teachers will still face many of the same worries as last year. The question to ask yourself in preparing for this year is, “How do I get the spark back and re-take power in my classroom?” So I decided to create an empowering program using...


The Countless Ways Art Can Change You and the World Through You

The personal connection you have with works of arts--what it does for you and how you use it in your life--rubs off on your students too and impacts their lives and those around them. Author John Butler once said, “Art changes people and people change the world.” How? I did some research to discover what looking at art does for us as people and the countless ways art can change you. In this episode, I discuss how it benefits the broader spectrum of humanity physically, mentally,...


How Learning and Teaching Art Powers Personal Connection with Jenn Easterling

Jenn Easterling is back on the show today! She’s been in the classroom for 11 years teaching grades K-12 and has taught drawing, painting, and a little art history in her studio. Jenn joins me to talk about how learning and teaching art powers personal connection We also talk about some of the lessons offered at Art Class Curator as well as the fun, impactful insights and conversations those lessons sparked in our students and ourselves personally. 7:01​ - Jenn’s emotional perspective on...


SPARKing Interest in Your Art Students with Teacher Staci Sterenberg

Believe it or not, the pandemic had its bright side. During this tumultuous year, we’ve had so many teachers across the nation successfully use our SPARK Hybrid curriculum. They're sharing amazing stories about how they are SPARKing interest with art students and connecting with works of art. Today, I interviewed one of those teachers, Staci Sterenberg, who’s taught grades K-8 at a Chicago parochial school for 19 years. Staci Sterenberg is a teaching artist living in Chicago. Her work as...


How the Blood, Sweat, and Tears Mindset Poisons Teachers’ Self-Care

Like I said in last week’s episode, this summer, we’re focusing on getting a good feel for what teachers have gone through this year. What struggles you’ve had, and we want to acknowledge you for the work you've done and empathize with you for how hard that was. We also want to celebrate, but right now doesn’t feel like the right headspace for that. So this week I want to encourage you to take stock of the year. In a survey we did, many shared that this year was a wake-up call, but they...


Teaching Art in a Treacherous Year: Interview with Teacher Mary Greim-Gallo

For this summer, I really want to focus on art teachers and what they went through in the last year teaching through the pandemic. Every teacher has a different story to tell about what they faced, and I want to talk about one of the hardest years in memory for teachers and celebrate getting through it. Looking forward to the new school year, what have teachers learned from this experience that’ll change the way they teach moving forward? Let’s take back the joy of reconnecting with art and...


Rebellious Silence: Shirin Neshat’s Cultural Gift Captured in Her Visual Art

Today, I’m here with Jennifer Easterling who is another wonderful staff member of Art Class Curator. She writes lessons for our membership at Curated Connections Library and our curriculums. In this episode, she’s chosen Shirin Neshat’s Rebellious Silence for our conversation which she’s been enraptured with ever since she came across it when looking at an AP Art History class. Recently, this artwork came to Fort Worth, Texas and Jenn got to go see it! 4:22​ - What the art piece looks...


Enhancing Your Social-Emotional Learning Skills in the Art Classroom

Today’s episode is a recording of a webinar I did recently with Kris Bakke at Nasco Education. I talk all about social emotional learning, it’s importance, and how we accomplish that in the art room through working with works of art. In the process, I use a Molly Crabapple portrait as part of an exercise for the webinar group and give an overview of the new curriculum, Art Curator Class Perspectives (in partnership with Nasco). 4:58​ - What I’m aiming to accomplish in this webinar 13:11 -...


How to Guide Your Art Students to Have Deeper, More Engaging Conversations

As an introvert, it always fascinates me how I can get into a really deep conversation with someone for a while and feel energized and motivated by it, and can keep talking all night. Then there are other times where talking to someone just sucks the life out of me and takes my energy away. In this episode, I discuss small talk versus big talk and how to go beyond small talk to have deeper, more meaningful conversations and teach our students to do the same. I also share some strategies you...


Arguing with a Van Gogh Gatekeeper to Make Art Accessible to All

I rarely comment about the Internet, but sometimes I have to speak up when something bumps up against my values. This impromptu episode is brought to you by a little argument about Van Gogh I got into online. I realized I had some really strong feelings that I don’t know if I’ve really discussed in any format here. It’s a very important perspective that we need to consider so that our students don’t end up perpetuating elitist thinking when it comes to art, and so that we can create a space...


Death and Life: Observations of Gustav Klimt’s Artwork with Madalyn Gregory (Part 2)

Last week, I had a fascinating conversation with Madalyn Gregory discussing Gustav Klimt’s Death and Life. I left that conversation so excited, only to discover that we weren’t done yet. Even after going off the air, we kept talking about it and realized we missed a lot of important things. So we decided to do a follow-up conversation to share even more of our insights with you! 4:55​ - Awareness of a gender issue from last week and what it says about our conditioning 13:40 - Impact of...