The VAAEYC Conference is held each year to gather early childhood educators, to build community, honor the work being done, and to explore developmentally appropriate practices that are occurring across the commonwealth. This year VAAEYC invites programs to showcase developmentally appropriate art at the Annual Conference in person.

The artwork will be on display and highlighted during an “Art Gallery” themed event on
Friday evening from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. The
children’s artwork submitted will be on display and programs are encouraged to have
someone attend and talk about the center, artwork, and process.*

The art gallery will present artwork created in classrooms, showcasing ways art is being displayed for children and families and highlighting the process that occurs in making art within the classroom. The goal of this evening is to celebrate the art, as well as call attention to developmentally appropriate practice in art and its importance in a child’s overall development and learning while presenting a fun networking event for conference participants. We hope that educators will find this process empowering and use it as self-reflection on best practices.

Early educators are invited to submit art to showcase and the submissions should consist of:

  • JPG or PNG Image of the Artwork. (If you have other formats, VAAEYC can help
    convert them.)
  • A written narrative about the process used to create art in their classroom. You
    may include pictures of the art areas and pictures of how the art is displayed in
    the classroom or program, once again please convert these to JPG or PNG
    images.

The deadline to submit artwork proposal is February 10, 2023. Please complete the application form through the link HERE.

  • Accepted artwork submissions will need to have their artwork display-ready on posterboard, etc.
  • VAAEYC will provide table space and a placard for the display.
  • Displays must be set up and ready to show by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 10, 2023.
  • Once your application is received and reviewed, you will be contacted with registration details.
  • *The representative attending and presenting the artwork will receive a complimentary one-day registration for Friday, March 10, and is expected to attend the evening event.

If you have any questions, please contact [email protected]. Thank you for your support!


Below is some information regarding Process Art:

Characteristics of Process-Focused Art Experiences:

  • There are no step-by-step instructions
  • There is no sample for children to follow
  • There is no right or wrong way to explore and create
  • The art is focused on the experience and on the exploration of techniques, tools, and materials
  • The art is unique and original
  • The experience is relaxing or calming
  • The art is entirely the children’s own
  • The art experience is a child’s choice
  • Ideas are not readily available online

What children might say:

“Look what I made!”
“I’m going to do another!”
“Can I have more time?”

Embrace Self-Expression:
When children have the freedom of self-expression while participating in an art project, you will see them more relaxed and focused. You are giving them the chance to predict, plan, and problem solve as they create their piece of art. They will feel successful every time because there is no wrong way to express themselves. Children will also be more willing to discuss their art with you and get excited to share because no one else made something like it.

Tips for Process-focused Art Lessons:

  • Make it open-ended by providing a variety of materials…. natural, recycled, found
  • Use household tools and unconventional materials
  • Allow children to bring materials from home
  • Let the child lead the experience by asking them what they want to use, and allow them to go back to their project later to add more
  • Provide plenty of time
  • Say “yes” to their ideas
  • Offer new and interesting materials
  • Take materials outside and allow them to use things in nature to inspire them

Questions to answer with your art submission:

  • List three examples of how you acknowledge the child’s actions or mediums during art processes.
  • How do you expand on the child’s advanced vocabulary using art-related terms and opportunities?
  • Describe how you observe, in the moment, what a child is doing during art and extend what is happening during those moments.
  • How do you set up art learning opportunities to ensure they are open-ended and process-focused?
  • If an individual approached you about why open-ended art is so crucial to children’s development, what would you say to them?
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