To support robust collaboration between teachers and arts education partners, the CPS Department of Arts Education and Ingenuity will co-present the 5th annual Arts Education Conference on April 8th, 2022. 

Attracting upwards of 500 attendees and offering a variety of inspiring arts workshops, presentations, panels, and maker spaces, the Conference provides an opportunity for Chicago’s arts educators to build and share knowledge and skills, gain new insights and understanding, and develop the vital relationships that allow their individual and shared work to flourish and thrive.

More information about the 2022 Arts Education Conference coming soon!


Arts Education Conference Archives

2021 Arts Education Conference: Rest & Renew

Again and again during the pandemic, our arts teachers and arts partners went above and beyond to provide nurturing, creative, vibrant spaces for students to express themselves creatively—and in doing so, find a safe outlet to relieve stress and process the complex emotions and thoughts that this past year has either provoked or magnified.On April 16th, 2021, the CPS Department of Arts Education partnered with Ingenuity to create an event dedicated to giving them that same space. 

At this half-day virtual Conference, we offered a variety of calming, centering, and energizing creative experiences that helped arts teachers and arts partners reconnect with one another, engage in restorative artmaking, productively process and reflect on the past year, and look to the future with renewed spirit and hope.

All 2021 Conference sessions are available as recordings! Click on the headings below to access the recorded sessions as well as all accompanying handouts and slides.

Opening Remarks and Keynote Presentation

Following brief remarks by members of the CPS Department of Arts Education and Ingenuity, Heather Ireland Robinson, Executive Director of the Jazz Institute of Chicago, opens up the Conference as she riffs on the theme Rest and Renew. Heather shares real-life stories about how she has survived and thrived this past year leading a non-profit organization and a family of five. From struggles and tears to triumph and laughter, she bares it all, including ideas on how to find joy and strength through the work of authentic leadership and creativity. Renowned cellist Tomeka Reid and student pianist Devin Shaw (Whitney Young HS) entertain participants at the start of the speech and end with an original tune composed on the spot in response to Heather’s keynote.

Breathing to Create Change

Led by CPS dance teachers Elisa Foshay, Gina Spears, and M.K. Victorson, reflect on the school year and then experience a guided movement meditation. ​Through guided practice, you will learn to use breath as a tool to boost (as well as balance) energy. Designed to share movement and breath as a vehicle for renewal and reflection, the session culminates in a discussion of classroom connections to the activities.

Creative Connections: Music, the Arts, and SEL

Explore the power of music as it intertwines with art, poetry, and social-emotional learning. CPS music teachers Jenai Jenkins, Frank Cademartori, and Leo Park will lead you through interactive activities and explore research promoting positive health-based outcomes for adults and students alike. Leave the session with lesson ideas and an appreciation for the social, emotional, and cognitive benefits of incorporating music into your own and your students’ lives.

Once Upon Our Time Capsule: Encapsulating Our Past Year

Led by Chicago Children’s Theatre teaching artists Lizzy May, Terry Guest, and Micah Figueroa, participants are guided through the process of honoring and releasing the past year and imagining and stepping courageously into a new future. Each participant will create a time capsule of their strength and bravery and share their experiences, reflecting their heroism to one another.

Write It Out: A Self-Care and Journaling Workshop

Multidisciplinary artist Rhonda Wheatley leads this exploration of journaling as a multi-faceted tool for healing, growth, and personal transformation. Learn how journaling can help you move through blocks and limitations, uplift your energy, cultivate creativity, manifest your goals, and tap into your authenticity. Explore tools, prompts, and tactics for sustaining a self-affirming journaling practice, for beginners and experienced journalers alike.

Closing Session

The Conference closing session begins with short guided breathing technique/meditations led by CPS music educator Dave Stahlberg. Participants then engage in a creative reflection through mantra-making, and lastly, are treated to a musical presentation by the CPS Arts Student Voice Committee (ASVC), featuring an original Conference theme song by R&B/soul artist Cole DeGenova with lyrics inspired by the ASVC!

For a complete brochure of all 2021 Conference sessions with links to recordings and resources, click below!


2020 Arts Education Conference: Amplifying Essential Voices (Virtual Keynote and Student Panel)

In lieu of the full annual Arts Education Conference, the CPS Department of Arts Education and Ingenuity presented a livestream of the Conference’s keynote speaker, Jorge Lucero, Associate Professor of Art Education in the School of Art + Design at the University of Illinois. Following his presentation on the amplification of essential voices in the arts, Jorge was joined by a panel of CPS students for further discussion and a live Q&A session. Access the 2020 Conference livestream and resources here.