Steel is a strong metal alloy that forms when iron is infused with various elements during the process of being melted, heated, and forged. The resulting alloy – from individual components – becomes stronger together in the end. Steel is not only strong, but also prolific in its use; it is all around us on a daily basis from the back of the watch on your wrist to the tableware you use to eat your breakfast. Steel serves as the primary infrastructure that provides strength and support to buildings, ships, and bridges, and versatile enough to be used in small, thin items such as wire. Like art – it is all around us, whether we notice it or not.
It is not a coincidence that our conference is being held in Bethlehem with its long industrial history of forging America’s steel. When our conference team first gathered to consider the conference theme, we were surrounded with the news of art program and staff cuts in Pennsylvania. This news was heartbreaking and laying heavy upon our hearts, for not only our colleagues, but also the thousands of students and communities that would be affected by these choices. We knew with certainty that the conference must be imagined as a haven where art educators could find professional and personal support and renewal. This conference will empower each of us; providing the strength we need to reignite our determination and set a course to re-establish strong art programs, throughout our Commonwealth.
As we head toward the PAEA 2013 conference, we ask you to join us in reflecting on the trials and triumphs of our field, using them to refine and reignite us for a bright future where, like steel, we become stronger together.
Heather L. R. Fountain and Kristin Baxter, Co-Chairs PAEA Conference 2013