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National Community Arts Education Conference Inspires!

The Community Arts Education Conference in Austin, TX, took place on November 1-2. Kaitlyn Nguyen, a graduating senior, co-president of the BalletRox Youth Council, was one of only 12 youth nationwide selected to participate in the national youth summit!

Kaitlyn and I (BalletRox program manager and a ballet instructor), attended it for two full days. Even though we expected the weather to be a lot warmer to take a break from the increasingly colder fall in Boston, Austin did not disappoint.

Our days were filled with excitement of meeting new people and learning from workshops and each other.

Teenagers, attending from all over the US, shared their ideas, experiences and aspirations for the future. Adults had a great time as well.

The highlight of my first day at the conference was an off-site visit to an art center called, “Creative Action,” where a variety of organizations share space and provide quality arts educational programs for the youth of Austin. To have been able to see so many individuals striving to use art education to make a better place across America was simply inspirational.

Olga Marchenko plays ukelele at the Armstrong Community Music School in Austin, Texas.

The second day, I visited Armstrong Community Music school, where a team of the school’s leaders walked us through their beautiful place and shared their story. I even learned how to play a ukulele!

The newfound talent of playing ukulele was not the only extra-curricular experience that I gained from our trip. There were famous bats under the Congress Bridge at sunset, the monumental Texas capitol, and of course, the multitude of live music places that I walked through in the heart of downtown Austin.

Now back to the cold weather, and warm hearts, of Boston!