Teachers’ Symposia 2020

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Teachers’ Symposia 2020

Teacher’s Symposium 2020: Egg Tempera Painting with Yvette Molina
May 14, 9 AM-3 PM
May 15, 9 AM-3 PM

Yvette Molina’s art examines the human drive towards discovery, meaning-making, and connection through the dual lens of science and mysticism. Drawing from influences spanning evolutionary biology, sacred symbols, and current events, her work questions how we define, sort, and value life. Yvette has exhibited across the US and internationally in galleries from Los Angeles and New York to Reykjavik and at venues such as the American Embassy in Montevideo, Uruguay, the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Hawai’i and the Legion of Honor and de Young Museums of California as an AIR awardee. In 2014 she undertook study of traditional egg tempera painting, gilding, and orthodox icon techniques from Byzantine to New Coptic, and Russian Prosopone. In this symposium she will discuss her solo exhibition Big Bang Votive currently on view in the gallery and teach an egg tempera workshop for art educators to use in their classrooms.


Past Special topics Symposiums:

May 2-3, 2019

This year’s teacher symposium will include a tour of the current contemporary art exhibitions, a talk by Jessica Rohrer, a project, a resource list, adaptable lesson plans, and a review/critique at the end of the day.

The symposium will be led this year by artist Jessica Rohrer. Rohrer’s recent work explores the disorienting effect of landscapes drawn from the vantage point of a drone. Using her homes and neighborhoods as source material for her work, she focuses on domestic spaces—individual objects, interiors, and exterior views of her home or neighborhood. The recent works involve the use of a drone camera that imbues the imagery with socially loaded connotations, as drones’ increasing prominence has led them to be viewed as tools of both aggression and everyday leisure. Rohrer uses drones to symbolize our collective declining privacy, as illustrated by the way the images lay bare both the physical and socioeconomic elements of the neighborhood. Conversely, the details in the drawings can also be viewed as being representative and somewhat generic. This neighborhood could be almost anywhere, and as a result, tells little about the families who remain out-of-sight.

The exhibition currently on view in the main gallery is called Interior Monologues and focuses on the story our surroundings tell about us so this will be a general theme of the workshop. This group exhibition explores the real, imagined, or implied narratives connected to interior spaces. Several of the artists in Interior Monologues depict real places—some populated by specific characters—while others invent new places based on their own experience or imagination. Many of the works suggest hidden histories or embedded memories and emotions. The interiors devoid of people are like empty stage sets waiting for actors to animate them. Whether public or private, all of these interior settings are activated by the presence (or absence) of humans. This is a multi-media show, incorporating painting, sculpture, drawing, collage, video, and site-specific installation. The participating artists are: Matt Bollinger, Erin Diebboll, Susan Leopold, Dana Levy, Summer McCorkle, Anne Muntges, Casey Ruble, and Paul Wackers.

Additionally on display at the Art Center, is an exhibition which highlights Simon Dinnerstein’s monumental three-panel painting, The Fulbright Triptych, begun in 1971 during the artist’s Fulbright fellowship in Germany and completed in Brooklyn in 1974. A complex work, it offers an intimate view inside the artist’s studio and showcases a fascinating array of engraving tools, artistic materials, and personal ephemera. The painting also incorporates portraits of the artist and his family, and a glimpse of the German town seen outside the studio windows. Encompassing an entire wall in the Eisenberg Gallery, the triptych resembles an altarpiece—not devoted to God or saints, but to the secular subjects of art and family.

Educators will be drawing, painting, using some writing prompts, and using collage materials as well, and focusing on how everything can be adapted to use in the classroom.

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.