Art Teachers Association

Art, Community, and Wellness

Provincial Conference - Friday, October 27, 2023

Registration CLOSED!

No refunds after October 13th

Please join us for an inspiring and transformative experience at this year’s Art Teachers Association conference, where we celebrate the powerful connection between art, community, and wellness. This year's conference aims to ignite creativity, foster collaboration, and nurture the well-being of art educators and their communities.

 We have a variety of interactive workshops led by expert artists and educators aimed to give our membership a day of engaging in hands-on art exploration. You will be exposed to innovative techniques, discover new mediums, and enhance your teaching skills. These interactive sessions will provide practical tools and strategies to integrate art, community building, and wellness into your classroom practice. This year’s conference recognizes the importance of self-care for educators and wants to offer a space to explore this through art, all while sharing experiences, exchanging ideas, and forging collaborations that will continue to inspire your teaching long after the conference.

Join us as we explore the intricate relationship between art, community, and wellness. Together we will explore how art can serve as a powerful catalyst for building and strengthening inclusive communities, fostering dialogue, and promoting empathy, understanding and a deep sense of well-being.

Please visit our conference website as developed by the ATA team

Registration Information

Conference Fee (NSTU Members) $100.00
Substitutes $60.00
Pre-Service Teachers $60.00
Retired Members $60.00
Other Affiliates $60.00

As per NSTU Operational Procedure 14 E. IV.: receipts of payment and attendance will not be distributed until the conference has concluded.


Sackville High School

1 King Fisher Way, Lower Sackville NS, B4C 2Y9

Click on the map to access directions

Cape Breton Centre For Craft & Design

322 Charlotte Street, Sydney NS, B1P 1C8

Click on the map to access directions


Agenda - Sackville High School

Friday, October 27



Full Day

10am-12pm /lunch break/ 1pm-3pm


Capacity: 15

A1: Creative Problem Solving through Clay

Devon Vankoughnett

Participants will be introduced to clay hand building techniques. Examples of how to provide a challenge or problem for students to solve with clay will be discussed followed by time after to explore how they might solve or construct solutions out of clay. Participants may choose to make mugs, plates and or sculptural objects and will have time to add colour to their creation using underglazes. Work will be ready for pick up about 3 weeks after the session from the instructor's home studio in Waverley.

Devon Vankoughnett studied ceramics at both Langara in Vancouver and at NSCAD in Halifax. She has been a junior high and high school art teacher with HRCE for the last 15 years and currently runs the Arts Lab for ceramics and fused glass at Rocky Lake JH. She also has a home studio where she creates and sells her own work.


Capacity: 16

A2: Stamp Making Workshop

Shan Liu

Use erasers like soft linoleum blocks to carve stamps. This workshop covers basic carving and printing techniques. It's inspirational for school curriculum or personal development. Also introduce other printmaking methods such as monoprint and collagraph.

Shan Liu is a printmaker, illustrator and art teacher located in Halifax.


Capacity: 25

A3: "A" Medicine Wheel Teaching

Theresa Meuse

Learn the various components of the medicine wheel that can help a person better understand their journey through life. Workshop also teaches how living a balanced lifestyle that includes a person's spiritual, physical, mental and environmental well-being is also important. Workshop ends with the crafting of a personal medicine wheel.

As a single mom, Theresa Meuse left her Bear River Mi’kmaw Community to attend Dalhousie University as a mature student. After graduating she was employed with several Mi’kmaq organizations such as the Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq, Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs and the Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Center. She served a two-year term as Chief of the Bear River Mi’kmaq Community, is an author of four published children's story books, is presently self-employed as a First Nation Knowledge Sharer and has an online business that sells educational tools. Theresa is a wife, mother of three and grandmother of four.


\Capacity: 20

A4: 4 Hour Comic Book Workshop

Jeff Wilson

This workshop provides art teachers with tools and techniques to teach their students how to create a comic book of various lengths and themes. Participants will be guided through the process of creating an illustrated story, including: brainstorming ideas, story structure & story pacing, panel composition, use of different mediums, and other techniques that can be used to creatively develop a complete story.

Jeff Wilson is a Cape Breton artist and visual art teacher whose work encompasses various mediums, including painting, illustration, murals, animation, and ink. Jeff is currently working on a variety of projects, and is also the host of 'Sketchbook Socials', a weekly public art-making event.


Capacity: 15

A5: The Sketchbook Project: In School Communities

Melissa Marr

The Sketchbook Project: in Community is an exciting art initiative that will introduce educators to the practice of self-care through sketchbook art, inspired by the arrival of 2000 crowdsourced, original sketchbooks from Brooklyn Art Library’s international 17-year sketchbook collection! This workshop will highlight Canadian sketchbooks from the collection, and serve as a place of discovery for how the practice of keeping a sketchbook supports self-care, community building and artistic exploration. Sketchbook expression creates a gentle context for gathering together while addressing a post-pandemic need for meditative activities. With a range of drawing, painting, print, collage, writing and textile materials available for folks to explore observational drawing, storytelling, idea generation, reflection, and mixed media possibilities in themed sketchbooks of their own, this workshop collaboratively approaches sketchbooks arts across the P-12 curriculum.

Melissa Marr is a socially engaged artist and educator working within printmaking, drawing, performance and participatory arts. Since 2010, she has been dedicated to the co-creation of Wonder’neath Art Society, a studio facility for practicing artists and the public to come together and make art in Kjipuktuk. Wonder'neath critically explores the role of community building through the arts, and how to care for artists. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Mt Allison University and a Master of Education from Acadia U, Melissa has extensive experience creating art in collaboration with schools and neighbourhood groups and enjoys pushing the boundaries of simple mediums to see what’s possible. Melissa has designed workshops for students from P - 12 and teachers across the province, and has consulted/written curriculum for the Dept of Education, CBC, and AGNS.


Capacity: 18

A6: Exploring Rug Hooking

Angela J. Davis

A session exploring the various aspects of rug hooking. This will include how to hook, what materials to use, design and finishing as well as conversations and demonstrations of more experimental techniques and ideas.

Angela J. Davis has spent much of her life exploring various mediums and techniques. Davis has discovered that the pieces she enjoys creating most always involve an element of texture. She wants her creativity to speak to people to evoke emotion. She wants to bring her audience into a space in time where childhood fascination always prompted the urge to reach out and touch. We are tactile beings; colour and texture will always be an intrinsic part of who we are. This is who Angela Davis is; welcome to her world.


Capacity: 15

A7: Watercolour in the Classroom

Dave Drapak

The benefits of using watercolour with beginning painters: How do you mix colours? What the heck are magenta and cyan? What are complementary colours? How do you mix black and greys? Can you make your own watercolour? Basic watercolour techniques! Classroom strategies and saving money! How to paint something that looks mostly right! Please, please learn from my two decades of mistakes

Dave Drapak went to NSCAD and then taught high school art for a couple decades, especially grade 10. He started making paint to save money and got carried away.


Capacity: 15

A8: Student-Centred Art Education: Grades 7-12

Karyn Harrison

Come explore how to use the power of student-directed learning to meet the needs of both students and teachers. Gain a deeper understanding of classroom practices and strategies for creating studio communities that empower all learners to make art that is uniquely theirs.

Karyn Harrison is a visual arts educator and researcher residing in Kjipuktuk/Halifax. She holds a doctorate from the University of Glasgow. Karyn teaches grades 7-9 Visual Arts in HRCE using a Choice-Based Pedagogy. She also instructs in the Master of Arts in Art Education program at NSCAD University.


Capacity: 15

A9: Slow and Steady Stitching

Rita Van Tassel

You'll have an opportunity to sit down and relax as you use hand stitches on felt to create a sleepy hanging sloth.

Rita Van Tassel has been working with textiles for years, most notably through her kits and patterns that she sells under Rita Van Tassel Studio. She has taught Art and Craft in both the private and public sectors, including the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and HRSB.


Capacity: 15

A10: Let's Make Things with Nature

Jane Rostek

We will get our hands a bit dirty and make some flower vessels from, twigs, moss, leaves and other things found in nature. We will mix wire, string and other subtle fasteners to create a pot to use for cut flowers or a plant. We will also look at ideas for pressing flowers to make fun designs observing colour and texture.


Jane Rostek a graduate of what is formerly the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and has worked in horticulture professionally for over 20 years. As a dedicated plant geek, she spends most of her free time in the garden or laying on the beach where she thinks about gardening. She believes spending time in nature and observing all it has to offer is key for creativity and well being. She works for HRM's Parks and loves to see people enjoy our city's beautiful green spaces.


Capacity: 25

A11: Embossed Visual Poetry

Kawama Kasutu

The workshop willing explore various beginner metal embossing techniques, using everyday classroom materials. Participants will create their own various sized shapes of embossing, that will be assembled to a final collaborative piece, that helps to strengthen skills of collaboration. This Project can be adapted to a single technique for individual work, or a collaborative class project.

Kawama’s mediums include printmaking, soft sculptures, poetry and digital art. Together the they have used their various mediums and skills to foster programming that’s supports collaborative art making. Kawama most recently collaborated with a group of culturally diverse seniors, on the theme of memory and water.


Capacity: 15

A12: Lino-Cut Prints

Erin Hollingshead

The workshop would start with participants learning about the process of creating a lino-cut block. They would learn about the reductive process and how to use the carving tools. Participants would begin by carving a small piece of linoleum (1 x 1 inch) with a simple design to practice what they have just learned. Then participants would move into creating a design that they would like to carve on a larger piece of linoleum (4 x 6 inches), and once it has been drawn up, they would transfer it to their linoleum and carve it out. This can take up to two and a half hours. I encourage participants to go for something a bit more complex with their larger piece of linoleum. Half way through we take a break, and once participants return they learn about the printing process. I show them how to roll out ink using a brayer, and how to apply the ink to the carving they made. I show them a couple of methods of lining up their block with their paper and then show them how to print it by hand. I show participants how to use a wooden spoon and their hand to print their lino-cut onto paper. I encourage participants to get evenly printed prints, as well as experiment with different colours and layering.

Erin Hollingshead is an interdisciplinary artist and educator living in K'jipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia). For the past two years she has been working as a secondary level educator teaching Visual Arts to grades 7 through 12. Prior to that, she taught public painting classes from 2016 to 2022. Her work as an artist focuses on printmaking and painting. Hollingshead learned how to do relief printmaking (lino-cuts) in high school and then majored in printmaking at NSCAD University. She designs, carves, inks and presses all of her lino-cut blocks by hand. Hollingshead has been teaching lino-cut printmaking for the past few years through HRCE and Argyle Fine Art in Halifax. 


Capacity: 15

A13: Zero Skill/ Zero $$$ : Surviving Art in the Classroom

Lynn Coolen

This workshop is for any teacher interested in bringing art to the classroom but has no prior knowledge, or little to no budget. This workshop will guide teachers in directions of Free or economic resources available to them, how to use simple inexpensive tools, making their own tools and materials, organizing art materials in a classroom (with no sink), how to repurpose and reuse everyday items, and other tips, tricks and tools of the trade. There will be hands-on activities, art pieces produced, lesson plans provided and other resources to take home.

Lynn Coolen is from Cole Harbour NS with strong roots in the south shore area of Lunenburg NS. In addition to artistic interests, Lynn also loves gardening, cooking and spending time with her family and 2 dogs. She has over 27 years of classroom teaching experiences with HRCE. Since 2017 she has been working for them under HRM Supplementary Funding as part of Halifax Regional Arts as a Fine Arts Specialist for grades P-12. Lynn’s focus is Visual Arts. She considers herself a “Jack of all trades but master of none” as she enjoys sharing her various artistic interests with the students and teachers she works with. Watercolour painting, elting, metal embossing, screen printing, sculpture, folk art and ceramics are just a few of the many art mediums and experiences she brings to classrooms.


Capacity: 15

A14: Open Studio and Art Education Advocacy

Robin Jensen

This workshop is for educators who would like space to explore their own personal art practices along with creating a place to discuss the current state of art education in our province. Topics of discussion will include arts advocacy and choice based art in Nova Scotia. Some basic drawing and watercolour media will be provided, but participants are encouraged to bring their own unique art materials if they prefer. This is an open studio and all are welcome. No instructional art techniques or methods will be offered as part of this workshop.

Robin Jensen is a teacher with 20+ years of experience teaching art in Nova Scotia. She currently works in the Halifax West Family of schools as a fine arts specialist. Robin is interested in choice based art education and promoting art education development in our province. She is the founder and past president of the Nova Scotia Art Educators Society.

12:00pm - 1:00 pm




Agenda - Cape Breton Centre For Craft & Design

Friday, October 27


lunch break


Capacity: 15

A1: Hand Building with Air Dry Clay

Nancy F. Chiasson

Introduction to Hand Building using Air Dry Clay. Hand building is working with clay off the wheel. It includes 3 basic techniques - pinching, coiling and slab work. Using these 3 basic techniques almost anything can be created! Our first project will be creating a pinch pot or small handleless cup which we will use as the basis for a wide mouth creature. Our second project will be creating small slabs and decorating them with stamps, found textures and more. All these fun materials will be provided. These creations can become ornaments, jewelry or decorative plates. Air dry clay is also readily available and inexpensive making it an easy addition to bring into your classroom.


Visual and ceramic artist Nancy Chiasson made her home and business in Cape Breton after attending Dundas Valley School of the Arts in the early 90’s. For the past 20 years, from her rural studio, she teaches classes and creates work both commercial and artistic. Nancy has recently successfully completed a Transitions Project commission through the Shubenacadie Canal Commission. This ceramic mural involved conducting research and developing visual imagery in clay based on the lives of the Acadians along the waterway. The title of this commission is Acadian Surfaces and can be viewed on her social media platforms. In 2014 Nancy was awarded the Grand Pre Prize from Arts Nova Scotia for her artist in residency work at the Fortress of Louisbourg. Creating collaged landscapes inspired by the rugged coastline around the fortress she worked in a small format with space, color and perspective. She also created hand built pottery vessels inspired by eroding coastline and lost historical buildings both real and imagined, in part, by allowing her mind to wander through time at this historic site. In her work with the PAINTS program Nancy develops and delivers art educational experiences to classrooms across the province. Her 'how to' workshop “Painting with Scissors” has been featured on Art Recess. This free video gives instructions and information about Matisse’s famous installation “The Swimming Pool”. This project was recently selected by the Lumiere Jury to be created and presented by her the night of the festival.


Capacity: 15

A2: Unleashing Creativity with Mixed Media

Elizabeth LaLonde

During this workshop we will create abstract works exploring a variety of simple but potentially sophisticated Mixed Media and Collage techniques. We will also touch on Colour Theory. "I found I could say things with colour and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for." – Georgia O’Keeffe The Mixed Media and Collage methods presented in this workshop can nurture creativity in personal artistic practice, and in the classroom. "Art opens the closets, airs out the cellars and attics. It brings healing." – Julia Cameron Participants will be using wet materials so please accordingly. All materials will be provided but if you are a maker and have your own tools feel to bring them, ie. sketchbook, scissors, drawing tools.

Elizabeth Lalonde is an arts maker, arts educator and arts advocate. Elizabeth is a retired CBVRCE teacher and is currently working as the Cape Breton Regional Coordinator for ArtsReach and ArtsSmarts. They live and work in Louisborg, in Unama’ki.


Capacity: 15

A3: Cellphone Photography & Self-Care

Chad Tobin

How to expand your artistic side and use the medium of Cellphone photography to connect on a level that re-charges the art educator. In this class we will explore what is required to make interesting and pleasing images as well as create meaning in the context of pushing your creative side. During the workshop, we will discuss understanding framing, photographing people, and getting to think of your phone as a camera. The concept of creating for self-care is also investigated as a method of restoring creative and personal energy. The skills used in this workshop can also be applied within the classroom and as a method of practice to engage student’s creative interests.

Chad Tobin is a fine art photographer living and working in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He is one of the founding members of the Hot Fog Collective, a group of east coast artists specializing in project-based photography and documentary work.


Capacity: 8

A4: Time for you!

Lynda Lou MacIntyre

With the stress brought on by the events of the last few years, we are all very aware of how important it is to take care of ourselves & our mental health. Creating art is one way to release tensions & build confidence by expressing yourself. In this workshop you will use hammers, hand tools & torches to shape sterling silver into a unique bracelet! You will leave the workshop wearing your own “one-of-a-kind” fabulous creation & you’ll be so proud of yourself! Give it as a gift or keep it as a treasured keepsake for yourself.


Lynda Lou MacIntyre is an artist & jewellery artisan with a long history of teaching art & jewellery making including workshops here in Nova Scotia & in Italy. Besides her work as a jeweller, she is also a watercolour painter, silk painter & Gyotaku printer. As well as having several solo shows, she has participated in many group shows, most recently, “Six 925” a collaboration with artists from Kenya. Currently, Lynda Lou teaches the intermediate & advanced jewellery making program at the CB Centre for Craft & Design. 


Capacity: 15

A5: Hand Lettering Workshop

Jennifer Moss

Learn the basics of hand lettering using a small brush pen. You’ll learn how to use the pen’s brush tip to create your own beautiful brush lettered script alphabet, along with how to hold the brush pen and apply pressure to form basic strokes, and how to create every letter of the alphabet stroke by stroke. Practice will then involve learning how to connect letters to create words and finally finishing off with a unique hand lettered art piece.

For 33 years, Jennifer Moss taught chemistry and science 10 at Riverview High School and retired in June 2022. Moss started her small business, Jennifer Creates, in 2018 and now spends her time designing greeting cards, prints, mugs, bookmarks and calendars, as well as doing custom work such as logos and personalized cards. She loves drawing letters, so much of her design work includes lettering as the central focus.

12:00pm - 1:00pm





Primary Contact / Registrar

Jonathan Church |

Registration is now closed.

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