UT, museum to host international conference on early childhood art education

June 2, 2011 | Arts, UToday
By Vicki L. Kroll



Some 65 educators from around the globe will be in Toledo next month for the fourth International Art in Early Childhood Association Conference, which will take place in the Center for the Visual Arts on UT’s Toledo Museum of Art Campus.

“The Boat” by Robbie LeBlanc, age 5

“The Boat” by Robbie LeBlanc, age 5

The UT Department of Art and the Toledo Museum of Art are hosting the conference titled “Art…Play…Children…Wonderment!!!” It will take place Monday through Wednesday, June 6-8.

“We’re expecting theorists and researchers from New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Cyprus, England, Canada and the United States to attend,” said Dr. Katherina Danko-McGhee, UT professor of art education, who organized the event.

“The conference will bring experts together to share ideas and offer an opportunity to see early childhood art education from new points of view. This will lead to exploring alternative ways to teach art to young children,” she said.

“We are very honored to sponsor the fourth annual International Art in Early Childhood Conference. Dr. Katherina Danko-McGhee’s tireless efforts are making this international educational experience come to life,” said Dr. Debra Davis, dean of the UT College of Visual and Performing Arts. “Participants from around the world will be joining regional and national attendees as they explore the creativity of young artists.”

Topics to be covered during the three days include creating inspiring environments, preschool fine arts immersion, virtual museums and young children, puppetry art, how drawings and narratives promote early literacy, and children using digital cameras as an art medium.

Keynote addresses will take place in the Center for the Visual Arts Haigh Auditorium. Topics and speakers will be:

Monday, June 6, at 9:30 a.m. — “Creativity, Play and the Teaching of Art: A Performance Style Presentation” by Dr. George Szekely, senior professor of art at the University of Kentucky, who has developed innovative changes and methodologies for art teaching. The award-winning pioneer has written 10 books with another, Art Teaching Methods: Elementary to Middle School, about to be published.

Tuesday, June 7, at 9 a.m. — “What Children Have to Say: Drawings as Invitations to Dialogue” by Dr. Christine Marmé Thompson, professor of visual arts at Penn State University, who examines children’s culture and art learning. She is co-editor of The Arts in Children’s Lives: Context, Culture and Curriculum (2002) and The International Journal of Education and the Arts.

Wednesday, June 8, at 9:30 a.m. — “Wonderful Learning and Everyday Art” by Dr. Sylvia Chard, professor emeritus of early childhood education at the University of Alberta, Canada, who is an advocate for the project approach, which fosters an environment that allows children to learn through their curiosity. She is the co-author of Engaging Children’s Minds: The Project Approach (1989).

Wednesday, June 8, at 3:30 p.m. — “The Raindrop Who Lost His Cloud” by Sommer Toffle, coordinator and site exhibition curator at Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Ligonier Valley in Pennsylvania, who is known for her illustrations in children’s books. She will discuss illustrating M.A. Toffle’s The Raindrop Who Lost His Cloud But Found His Purpose! (2010).

“Ohio residents have an additional bonus, as the conference sessions are Step Up to Quality approved. Step Up to Quality is Ohio’s rating system for licensed child-care programs. Attendees receive credit for participation in the conference,” Davis said. “This high-caliber programming is one more way the Department of Art and the College of Visual and Performing Arts are dedicated to improving the human condition, even for those beginning life’s journey.”

Registration information can be found at www.ecartconference2011.com.

“This may likely be the only time this conference will be held in the United States for a very long time,” Danko-McGhee said. “The next venue is scheduled for Cyprus in 2013. We are looking forward to a very active and diverse dialogue about children and their art experiences over the three-day conference.”

In conjunction with the conference, an exhibition titled “Listen to the Children: Conversations in Visual Form” will be on display in the Center for the Visual Arts Gallery Monday through Wednesday, June 6-8, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Click here to read more about the free, public exhibit.