Inaugural J Rêve International STEAM+ Arts Integration Conference

In an effort to increase awareness of the importance and impact of STEAM education and Arts Integration, J Rêve International hosted the Inaugural STEAM+ and Arts Integration Conference in Washington, D.C. from July 28 – 30, 2017.

J Rêve International continues to rely on those on the front line to make the ultimate difference. By empowering educators, creatives, scientists, artists, and programmers with the tools they need, they can continue to enlighten and empower the generation of tomorrow.

“Together, through collaboration, creative thinking, and professional development, we can continue to diversify the classroom experience for improved and increased learning, “ says Jacqueline Cofield, founder of J Rêve International.

The first day of the conference started off full steam ahead with a briefing from Lakita Edwards, Arts Education Specialist, on the programs and resources the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) provides to support educators, communities, and institutions conducting arts education.

The NEA arts education grant program focuses on pre-K to 12th grade students, the educators, and the civic leaders who support them, as well as the communities and schools that serve them, to help ensure Americans of all age have the opportunities to learn, create, and grow.

Next, as a way to delve right into the importance of the implementation of arts education and inclusion of women artists in the dialogue, participants took a visit to the National Museum of Women in the Arts on Friday afternoon. The NWMA is known as the only major museum in the world solely dedicated to celebrating women’s achievements in the visual, performing, and literary arts. Participants received a packet of information about the resources NWMA provides to support arts education.

Following the NWMA experience, we wrapped our day up with a reception hosted by Paul S. Devroaux, Jr. Memorial Lecture (PSDML), Brenda Devroaux, and J Rêve International, featuring Dr. Christine Mann Darden at the American Institute of Architects. With a theme of “On the Shoulders”, the reception aimed to showcase the success of women in STEM such as Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson who have been featured in the book Hidden Figures. Thank you Diversity in STEAM for the magazine that perfectly aligned with the reception theme “Revealing More Hidden Figures” in STEM.

Our second day at the Pepco Edison Gallery was full of valuable lessons provided by those well- rounded and insightful professionals who were invited to speak at the Inaugural STEAM+ and Arts Integration Conference.

“This conference was a very unique experience. It’s rare to have true STEM Leaders and Artists in the same room for strategic discussions about STEAM+ Arts Integration,” Alicia Morgan, a conference speaker, said.

The conference concluded on Sunday with a few final real-time learning experiences for participants. A networking brunch allowed educators and collaborators to actively discuss what they had learned over the weekend and to come together and establish connections for the future purposes of growing the awareness of STEAM+. The program concluded with a first-time visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture(NMAAHC), where participants considered how the arts, culture and history relate to STEAM. Overall, “the NMAAHC exhibits inspired us to be trailblazers and innovators while “making a way out of no way” to have an everlasting impact in history, arts and education,” Alicia Morgan said.

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