It is fun for me to plan out ideas/events/goals way in advance and over time, scratch each component that reaches that off from it (sometimes it is physically on paper, but often it is in my mind's eye).
So, to start out this series of lists, here are some of my most favorite sights from #NAEA16 - if you have any you would like to add, please comment below. (disclaimer: This is in no way a complete list of all of the amazing places you could go while in Chicago, but it was what I was able to get to during my short stay.)
When I go now, it is usually a day trip with my hubby and we usually hit the same venues (Art Institute, Millennium Park, Magnificent Mile, Home). Because I was experiencing #NAEA16 here, I had the time and excuse to finally discover areas of the city I had never experienced as well as spend time in my favorite go-to spots. (side note: I wonder how many other places (both actual and metaphorical) I need to do more exploring in because they have seemed become routine...)
1. From the Train
This trip marked my FIRST ever train ride. I was unsure of what to expect (since my only knowledge of trains is from 1950s musicals) and I was not disappointed in the comfort and ease offered through Amtrak.
From the free wi-fi to the big comfy seats and somewhat unusual views, I felt totally relaxed during the ride from Holland, MI to Chicago, IL. I know I will use this mode of transportation again soon when I make my next trek to the Windy City!
2. From the Museums
Art Institute of Chicago
It reinforced the notion I have that sketchbooks should be taught as a way for students to work out ideas and that iteration is okay. One and done is often how I have approached lessons or projects in the past and I found permission within this exhibit to allow myself and my students to really spend time with an idea and work it out.
Museum of Contemporary Photography
For those unfamiliar, The MOCP was founded by Columbia College Chicago in 1976. It is free to the public and offers an amazing experience for those who venture in. It happened to be a collection celebrating their 40th anniversary this year.
In addition to seeing floor to ceiling collections of what 40 years of photography can look like, there was also a very kinetic-looking installation that involved woven and cut photographs, suspended in air through the use of colorful and sometimes tangled string.
As I viewed the differences in approach to displays, I kept thinking that there must be something I can do with weaving paper forms and hanging them alongside the more formal pieces of work we have for our upcoming Arts festival. I am going to have to keep simmering on that one for a while...
Chicago's Cultural Center
I am super glad I was able to make it work because I made SO many connections in Theo Jansen's work with what the STEM teacher and I are trying to do in our collaborations with students. To see the amount of work Jansen put into developing sketches, prototypes, and systems to create these kinetic sculptures, I felt validated in the amount of planning I make my students do before they get going with a final work.
You can see part of the process (as well as how I got to push one) and a more detailed video of these beests in action below.
3. From the Parks
4. From the Food
I am kind of notorious by those who know me best to go on a conference fast. I have had a horrible reputation for just not eating when I attend one of these. I am usually nervous about my presentations and time-crunched to really take care of myself.
This year, with the help of my good friends and my husband, I broke that stupid habit and made sure to eat well (which is probably why this is the first time in a long time I haven't gotten deathly ill afterwards).
Also with the help of my PLN, I was able to try new places I had never heard of before.
One of my favorites, that I will make sure to embed as a staple of any visit, was Do-Rite Donuts. This place was strongly suggested by Cathy (who, as an Australian, apparently had no real experience with donuts until Chris brought her one of these).