2021 Arts Education Conference: Rest and Renew

A virtual event on April 16th, 2021 | 8:00AM–1:00PM

This year’s Arts Education Conference: Rest and Renew is a gift to all of you. It’s a thank you for everything you have done to bring arts education to our students during the most difficult of times.

Again and again, we have seen you go 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.

The Rest and Renew Conference on April 16th is dedicated to giving you that same space. At this half-day virtual event, we’ll offer a variety of calming, centering, and energizing creative experiences that will help 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. Throughout the day there will be performances, mindful moments, connection and reflection opportunities, and celebrations of you and your accomplishments.

We are thrilled to welcome Heather Ireland Robinson (Executive Director of the Jazz Institute of Chicago), Tomeka Reid (cellist, composer, and educator), and Devin Shaw (senior, Whitney Young HS; JIC Jazz Links Student Council Member) as our keynote presenters!

Heather Ireland Robinson will open up the Conference as she riffs on the theme of Rest and Renewal. Heather will share 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 will entertain participants at the start of the speech and end with an original tune composed on the spot in response to Heather’s keynote.

We hope you will join us!

Event Details

Date and Time: Friday, April 16, 2021 from 8:00 am-1:00pm

Location: Virtual (Zoom)

Maximum clock hours offered: 5.0

Conference Agenda
8:00am–8:45amOptional yoga session, led by Dr. Auburn Ellis
8:45am–9:00amOpening remarks from the CPS Department of Arts Education and Ingenuity
9:00–9:45amKeynote presentation by Heather Ireland Robinson (Executive Director of the Jazz Institute of Chicago), Tomeka Reid (renowned cellist, performer, and educator), and Devin Shaw (senior, Whitney Young HS; JIC Jazz Links Student Council member)
9:50–10:50amRest and Renew Sessions:

Write it Out: A Self-Care and Journaling Workshop with multidisciplinary artist Rhonda Wheatley

Breathing to Create Change with CPS dance educators Elisa Foshay, Gina Spears, and M.K. Victorson

Creative Connections: Music, the Arts, & SEL with CPS music educators Frank Cademartori, Jenai Jenkins, and Leo Park

Once Upon Our Time Capsule: Encapsulating the Past Year with Chicago Children’s Theatre teaching artists Lizzy May, Terry Guest, and Micah Figueroa
11:00am–12:00pmRest and Renew Sessions (repeated)
12:10–1:00pmClosing ritual & celebration, featuring members of the CPS Arts Student Voice Committee

For detailed information on all sessions, please click on the button below to download our conference brochure.

Register for the 2021 Conference

To register in Zoom, please click on the button below. After registering to join the main Conference meet link (which will include the keynote and the closing session) you will receive a confirmation email that contains additional links and descriptions for all breakout sessions. There is no need to register for any additional sessions—simply use the corresponding session links at the indicated times.

Note: CPS teachers from district-managed schools will be registered post-event in Learning Hub to receive credit for any sessions they attend. Charter/Contract/Options teachers will be given digital ISBE evaluation and evidence of completion forms after the event.


About our 2021 Keynote Presenters

Heather Ireland Robinson

Heather Ireland Robinson was born and raised on Chicago’s south side and was most recently the Executive Director of the Beverly Arts Center. Prior to that, she served as Director of the historic South Side Community Art Center in the Bronzeville neighborhood.

With a nearly 20-year career in our culturally rich city, Heather’s experiences have included leadership, programming, and management with some of Chicago’s foremost institutions including After School Matters, Gallery 37, The Chicago Park District, Marwen, The Jazz Institute, Marriott Bridges and the Quad Communities Development Corporation.

Heather taught theatre and poetry performance at the South Shore Cultural Center and has developed various performing, arts integration, and teaching workshops. As a writer and storyteller, her children’s plays and performances have been produced at the DuSable Museum, the African Festival, and the Chicago Cultural Center. She was the founder of The People’s Jazz Theatre, whose youth productions graced Buckingham Fountain, the 63rd Street Beach, and many other venues.

Heather holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Advertising from the University of Illinois at Urbana and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from DePaul University. She includes the Goodman, Redmoon, MPAACT, Pegasus Players and NBC’s ER among her acting credits.

Tomeka Reid

Described as a “New Jazz Power Source” by the New York Times, cellist and composer Tomeka Reid has emerged as one of the most original, versatile, and curious musicians in Chicago’s bustling jazz and improvised music community over the last decade. Her distinctive melodic sensibility, always rooted in a strong sense of groove, has been featured in many distinguished ensembles over the years. 

Reid grew up outside of Washington D.C., but her musical career began after moving to Chicago in 2000. Her work with Nicole Mitchell and various Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians-related groups proved influential. By focusing on developing her craft in countless improvisational contexts, Reid has achieved a stunning musical fluency. She is a Foundation of the Arts (2019) and 3Arts Awardee (2016), and received her doctorate in music from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2017. 

Reid released her debut recording as a bandleader in 2015 with the Tomeka Reid Quartet, a vibrant showcase for the cellist’s improvisational acumen as well as her dynamic arrangements and compositional ability. The quartet’s second album, Old New, was released in Oct 2019 on Cuneiform Records.  

Reid has been a key member of ensembles led by legendary reedists like Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell, as well as a younger generation of visionaries including flutist Nicole Mitchell, vocalist Dee Alexander, and drummer Mike Reed. She co-leads the adventurous string trio Hear in Now, with violinist Mazz Swift and bassist Silvia Bolognesi, and in 2013 launched the first Chicago Jazz String Summit, a semi-annual three-day international festival of cutting edge string players held in Chicago. In the Fall of 2019, Reid received a teaching appointment at Mills College as the Darius Milhaud chair in composition.

Devin Shaw

Devin Shaw is a senior at Whitney Young High School and has been a member of the JIC Jazz Links Student Council (JSLC) since 2018. The JSLC gives high school jazz musicians the opportunity to develop musically and professionally through exposure to live music, workshops with professional musicians, and performance opportunities throughout the city. 

Devin studies piano at Whitney Young under the direction of Jim Barbick. He studied classical music at the Merit School of Music and has pursued jazz studies through the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Ravinia Jazz Scholars programs. In 2019 and 2020 he was selected to play piano in the Illinois Music Educators Association (ILMEA) statewide festival at the highest level in the Honors Jazz Combo.


Arts Education Conference Archives

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.