Teachers’ Symposia 2018

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Teachers’ Symposia 2019

Our Winter 2019 Teachers’ symposium will be held on the following dates: 

Friday, January 18,  2019, 9 AM–3 PM—Register here!

Each symposium is led by a contemporary artist.

All of our Teachers’ symposium events offer unique professional development opportunities for art educators to come together and learn new creative skills to bring back to their classroom. The programs include:

  • Presentation by the leading contemporary artist
  • Hands-on artmaking workshop with the artist
  • Gallery exercises exploring ways to view and interpret contemporary art
  • Six professional development hours upon completion of the symposium
  • Lesson plans as a take home

Registration fees are $75 and include a light breakfast and all materials.

January 18, 2019: Objects of Presence with Contemporary Artist Lisa Sanders 

Lisa Sanders received her MFA from The New York Studio School in 2011. Her work has been exhibited throughout the country and has received multiple awards for her work, including from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She curated the exhibition 3 x 3d which included the work of three sculpture graduates of the Studio School, an outdoor sculpture show of 38 works by 31 sculptors titled Art in Nature with Karen Wilkin at Greenwood Gardens in Short Hills NJ, and the exhibition Reflections which featured the work of five female artists at the Montclair Public Library. She is a member of Studio Montclair.

Past Special topics Symposiums:

March 6th, 2018 Teachers’ Symposium Information

March 6th, 2018, is National Day of Empathy, a day of action to generate empathy on a massive scale. VACNJ is partnering with the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and Co-Lab in a professional development workshop day entitled Art, Storytelling and Social Justice Educational Symposium.

Join this unique and insightful symposium on Art, Storytelling and Social Justice, which will connect educators with advocates, artists, and system-involved youth. The goal of the symposium is to share information on the juvenile justice system and discuss how educators can help transform the system. Participants will also learn how art can help share the stories of those impacted by the juvenile justice system, including the school to prison pipeline. This special full-day event will occur at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, located at 68 Elm Street, in Summit, NJ, on March 6, 2018, from 9 AM–3 PM. Educators will earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for participating in the symposium. For details and information on attending this event, please visit artcenternj.org.

Symposium Outline

  • Welcome
  • Ice Breaker
  • What is Social Justice? What is implicit bias?
  • The History of the Juvenile Justice System
    • Bring Our Children Home: Ain’t I A Child
  • Girls in Youth Prisons
  • Relationship between Education and Social Justice
    • School to Prison Pipeline
    • NJ School Reentry Report (from Education Subcommittee)
  • Relationship between the Arts and Social Justice
  • Storytelling Project
  • Juvenile Justice Campaign
  • Alternatives to Incarceration Best Practices
  • Restorative Justice Practices
  • Ways Educators Can Engage in Social Justice

The workshop will include:

  • Interactive Exercises
    • Implicit Bias
    • Educators discuss what the school to prison pipeline looks like to them in their schools and their ideas for ending it (policy changes, training)
  • Storytelling Exhibition and Video
  • Sample curriculums, educational tools, etc.


May 10th & 11th, 2018 : Freewheeling: Color in the Digital Age

Since the dawn of the computer age, in the 1960s, color has increasingly become the result of disembodied digital production. Rather than sunlight reflecting off of an object, we see color disconnected from the world, synthetic, pre-programmed light emanating from a screen.  As a result, the color wheel, based on 19th century (and earlier) conceptions of color does not have the same relevance for artists.  Even going the scientific route and studying the different wavelengths and frequencies of color does not take into account how we all perceive color differently according to our particular genetic makeup and cultural associations.  As the philosopher Mary Mothersill said, “color is not a problem to be solved, but rather a perplexity that does not blow away.”  In this workshop we will discuss how our own relationships to color have changed since the dawn of the digital age, and how artists can create their own system of color investigation — one that recognizes and embraces its own failures and limitations.  Attendees will engage in an artist-led project designed to explore and discover your own personal relationship to color in the digital age.

This program will be taught by contemporary artist Maureen McQuillan

Artist Maureen McQuillan explores aspects of growth and unpredictability, repetition and imperfection in the process and activity of drawing itself.  Her work over the last two decades has ranged over many diverse mediums including printer’s ink and resin on paper, cameraless photography and installation.  “Currently, I am making drawings that flout the traditional separation between line and color in Western aesthetics and explore the possibilities inherent in my own incredibly flawed system of color investigation.” McQuillan is based in Brooklyn, and has been exhibiting her work both nationally and internationally for two decades.  Her most recent solo exhibition, in 2015, at McKenzie Fine Art (NYC) was entitled “Process Color.” Group exhibitions include:  Le VOG Contemporary Arts Center, Fontaine and The College of Art and Design, Grenoble, France; The Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC; The Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, Maryland; The Drawing Center, NY; The Islip Art Museum, NY; The College of New Rochelle, NY; and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Wisconsin, among many others. McQuillan’s work has been mentioned and reproduced in The New York Times, Newsday, The Boston Globe, TimeOut, The San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, ARTnews, Architectural Digest and Art on Paper, and her work is held in private and public collections all over the world.  In 2017, McQuillan was awarded a public art commission from MTA/Arts and Design to create artwork for a NYC subway station which to be completed in the spring of 2018.  Maureen McQuillan is represented by McKenzie Fine Art in New York.


If you have any questions please contact Sarah Walko, Director of Education and Community Engagement at 908.273.9121, ext. 213 or swalko@artcenternj.org.