Reignite Your Passion! Be Inspired for Next Steps in Your Creative Practice

By Barb Whitney

Each spring after the close of the school year, our statewide community of arts education stakeholders gathers to reignite our passion for our work and to be inspired for the next steps in our creative practice.

As a previous participant in the (FREE!) annual MAEIA Re-Ignite event, I have vivid memories of lessons on how to savor the moment of eating a delectable piece of chocolate and how to build a collaborative and communicative tableaux. I remember shared laughter and profound insight with colleagues from across Michigan as we considered the “why” of our work. These sessions carried me forward as an educator and fostered my next steps as a practicing artist. I think they might offer you the same outcomes.

This year Heather Vaughan-Southard and I invite arts educators to Re-Ignite and gather and connect in a two-hour virtually guided session. We’ll consider your professional purpose and commitment to advancing creativity in your own life, as well as in the life of your students.

Register for MAEIA’s Re-Ignite session here.

Thursday, June 29, 10:00am – 12:00pm

This is a virtual event.

We will be inspired by excerpts from The Creative Act: A Way of Being, by Rick Rubin, which we’ll use as a framework for our conversations and writing sessions. Rubin is a music-producing legend who has fostered creativity with a diverse roster of artists ranging from L.L. Cool J to the Beastie Boys and Adelle to the Dixie Chicks. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “His presence in the studio simply seemed to make good artists better.”

We will align our work with Rubin’s passion for the practical, and yet cosmic, practice of artmaking in various creative disciplines: dance, theatre, visual art, music, literature. According to Rubin:

The reason we’re alive is to express ourselves in the world. And creating art may be the most effective and beautiful method of doing so. Art goes beyond language, beyond lives. It’s a universal way to send messages between each other and through time.

In our first hour together, we’ll explore creative themes such as awareness, intention, rules (holding every rule as breakable is a healthy way to live as an artist), listening, inspiration, spontaneity, and context. We’ll focus on how educators can: tune in to their own creative practice, embrace nature as their teacher, and develop an abundant mindset.

In our second hour, we’ll contextualize areas of thought from The Creative Act: A Way of Being into areas of practice such as: authentic assessment, social-emotional learning and culturally responsible teaching in and through the arts, and the role of data collection in classrooms, communities, and statewide initiatives.

We welcome you on this Re-Igniting journey. If you are an arts educator or an arts ambassador, this event is for you. Two SCECH credits are available. Please know that familiarity with Rubin’s book is not expected, and that we’ll encourage you to search for this title at your local bookstore or online if you wish, for future reference.

We hope to see you there!

Register for MAEIA’s Re-Ignite session here.

Thursday, June 29, 10:00am – 12:00pm

This is a virtual event.


Barb Whitney is an artist, educator, and administrator who believes the arts are a public good and that arts education is a fundamental right. Whether teaching, leading an arts nonprofit, coordinating Michigan’s statewide partners, or conducting national research, her career’s common threads are to uplift and inspire through the arts. She serves as faculty for the Arts, Cultural Management, and Museum Studies Program at Michigan State University and as the MAEIA Engagement and Fund Development Strategist. For more about Barb, visit Contact: 517.883.1435,

Click here for a Printer friendly version of this article.

Leave a Reply