This year’s Arts Education Conference: Rest and Renew is a gift to all of you. It’s a thank you for everything you have done to provide nurturing, creative, vibrant spaces for students to express themselves creatively during the most difficult of times.

The Rest and Renew Conference on April 16th is dedicated to giving you that same space. At this half-day virtual event, we’ll offer a variety of calming, centering, and energizing creative experiences that will help arts teachers and arts partners reconnect with one another, engage in restorative art making, productively process and reflect on the past year, and look to the future with renewed spirit and hope. Throughout the day there will be performances, mindful moments, connection and reflection opportunities, and celebrations of you and your accomplishments.

Heather Ireland Robinson, Executive Director of the Jazz Institute of Chicago, will open up the day as she riffs on the conference theme Rest and Renewal. Heather will share real-life stories about how she has survived and thrived this past year leading a non-profit organization and a family of 5. From struggles and tears to triumph and laughter she bares it all, including ideas on how to find joy and strength through the work of authentic leadership and creativity.  Joining her will be cellist Tomeka Reid and JIC Jazz Links Student Council member Devin Shaw (Senior, WYHS). They will entertain us at the start of the speech, and end with an original tune composed on the spot in response to Heather’s keynote.

We hope you will join us!


View the Conference Brochure

Event Details

Date and Time: Friday, April 16, 2021 from 8:00 am-1:00pm

Location: Virtual (Zoom)

Clock hours offered: 5.0

CPS teachers from district-managed schools who attend will be registered post-event in Learning Hub and receive clock hours once they complete the online ISBE evaluation. Charter/Contract/Options teachers will be given digital ISBE evaluation and evidence of completion forms after the event.

Register here!



8:00 – 8:45 AM: Optional yoga session, led by Dr. Auburn Ellis.

8:45 – 9:00 AM: Opening remarks from the Department of Arts Education and Ingenuity

9:00 – 9:45 AM: Keynote presentation by Heather Ireland Robinson (Executive Director of the Jazz Institute of Chicago), Tomeka Reid (renowned cellist, performer, and educator), and TBD (TBD)

9:50 – 10:50 AM: Rest and Renew sessions led by expert CPS arts educators and arts partners

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Rest and Renew sessions (repeated)

12:10 – 1:00 PM: Closing reflection and presentation, featuring members of the CPS Arts Student Voice Committee

Conference Breakout Sessions

  • Pre-Conference Yoga

    Dr. Auburn Ellis will be taking us through various chair yoga practices that can be utilized in the professional realm or in the comfort of your own home to relieve tension, stress, or anxiety. These techniques encourage multiple ways to access meditation, reflection, and healing. 


  • Time Capsule Workshop

    Stacey Gillett and Chicago Children’s Theatre will lead participants in creating time capsule projects that support children in expressing their thoughts and capturing their lives throughout 2021. Stacey will offer engaging “time capsule lesson plans” for teachers, camp counselors, and organizations to implement in both the physical and virtual classroom and “time capsules kits” that can be downloaded online directly by families.


  • Mindful Movement

    Led by a team of CPS dance educators — Elisa Foshay (Jones College Prep), Gina Spears (Portage Park Elementary), and MK Victorson (Hibbard Elementary) —  participants will engage in seated and moving mindfulness practices and understand how to integrate mindful movement into both the classroom and their everyday lives.


  • Color, Sound, Words, and Feeling Workshop

    Led by a team of CPS music educators — Frank Cademartori (CICS-Irving Park), Jenai Jenkins (Pritzker Elementary), and Leo Park (Northside College Prep HS) — participants will engage in an interdisciplinary art-making session that connects music, visual art, literacy, and SEL.

  • Rest & Renew Journaling Workshop

    Join artist and energy healer, Rhonda Wheatley for a guided journaling workshop and explore tools for reflection, self-care, and renewal.


Jorge Lucero

2020 Keynote

Jorge Lucero is a Chicago artist who currently serves as Associate Professor of Art Education at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. A former Chicago Public School teacher, his art practice has occurred all over the US and abroad. Jorge is the editor of the compendium Mere and Easy: Collage as a Critical Practice in Pedagogy (U of I Press) and the co-author of Teacher as Artist-in-Residence (Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), as well as the forthcoming STUDYCOLLECTION: Repository for Conviviality (Candor Arts). Jorge earned his undergraduate degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his graduate degrees from Penn State University.

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Carlton Turner

2019 Keynote

Carlton Turner works nationally as a performing artist, organizer, policy shaper, lecturer, consultant, and facilitator. He is the executive director of Alternate ROOTS, a regional arts service organization based in the South, supporting artists working at the intersection of art and social justice.

He also founded the newly formed Mississippi Center for Cultural Production, an organization working at the intersection of new media production and agriculture to support cultural, social, and economic development in his rural hometown of Utica, Mississippi.

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Lara Davis

2017 Keynote

Lara Davis is an artist, racial equity strategist, and arts administrator working at the intersection of cultural policy, public education, and social justice.  She has served as a Seattle arts commissioner and as program director for Arts Corps, a nationally recognized youth arts education organization.  As a strategic advisor for the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Lara collaboratively leads The Creative Advantage, a public/private initiative to reinvest in equitable arts education for all Seattle students.Lara is the inaugural co-chair for the National Guild for Community Arts Education’s ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian/API Arab, Native American) Network, serves on the National Advisory Committee for the Teaching Artists Guild, is a 2017 Marshall Memorial Fellow, and the 2015 recipient of the Americans for the Arts Emerging Leader Award.  She knows firsthand the power of creativity necessary to build access, transform communities, and inspire systemic change.

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Dr. Eve L. Ewing

2017 Keynote

Dr. Eve L. Ewing is a poet, essayist, visual artist, educator, and a sociologist at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration whose research is focused on racism, social inequality, and urban policy, and the impact of these forces on American public schools and the lives of young people. Dr. Ewing’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, The Nation, and The New Republic. Her first full length poetry collection, Electric Arches, was released September 2017 via Haymarket Books.

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