Laura and Matt Grundler | February 2017

NAEA17 in NYC with Tim Needles

When we found out that the NAEA 2017 convention was going to be in New York City this year, two thoughts came to mind.

One: NYC? Wow! … The art we’ll get to see! (Team Grundler has never been to NYC); and

Two: Tim Needles will be there!  

If you don’t know him then you are missing out! His kindness and creativity shine through Twitter.  Tim was early to find us and the chat. So early, in fact, that we were a different hashtag targeted at just our school district art teachers. He introduced us to so many people on Twitter busting the PLN concept wide open for us, so to be able to spend time with him on his home turf was a thrilling idea.  

NAEA 2017, The Art Of New York City With Tim Needles, EducationCloset

As we prepared for this year’s line up of hosts we knew we needed Tim to host a tour of NYC Art to help the PLN prep for NAEA 2017.  He didn’t disappoint!  Tim literally took us on a tour of the city with video clips and images to give us a stunning visual preview.

Take a look at the archived chat

Can’t lie… it’s overwhelming for the two us to think about NYC. We know there’s no way to see and do everything we want (especially considering all the great presentations NAEA 2017 has to offer.) But knowing that Tim is there to help be our guide with suggestions is a comfort.

We wanted to ask Tim a little more about his city and NAEA 2017… so here it goes!

Tim… tell us a little more about yourself.  Are you a native New Yorker? Do you teach in the city??  It thinks some of us from other areas of the country have a hard time putting NYC in perspective. There are boroughs, Manhattan, uptown, midtown, Long Island…

I am a native New Yorker, I was born and grew up in the suburbs on Long Island, about an hour outside of NYC.  I’ve lived on Long Island and in NYC and spend a good amount of time upstate and worked as an educator in all 3 areas and find they all have a different feel. I think New York, like California or Texas, is easier to understand if you think of it like a small country than a state because it’s so large and diverse.  From my perspective, there are 3 parts: upstate, NYC, and Long Island which are all pretty different and even NYC is made up of 5 boroughs that are all unique and varied: Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn (Kings), Staten Island, and the Bronx.  

In terms of art, it’s everywhere. Upstate is where the Hudson River School worked along with Edward Hopper and recently Marina Abramovic. There is important architecture from Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan in Buffalo, and gems like Storm King Sculpture Park and the Dia Beacon – all worth a visit.  New York City has been an arts mecca for years so it’s hard to walk 5 blocks without crossing a museum, gallery, artist studio, or historic location. Some of the most notable artist studios in Manhattan are Andy Warhol’s factory in Union Square, Keith Haring’s studio on Broadway downtown, and Edward Hopper’s studio across from Washington Square Park.  Long Island has also been the home of artists like Jackson Pollock, Willem DeKooning, and Andy Warhol and contemporaries like Chuck Close, Eric Fischl, April Gornik, and Ross Bleckner.  Here’s an artsy guide with some more information:

For first time visitors and art lovers, what would you suggest are the Must-Do’s when in NYC?

First, understand that you can’t do it all. But I’d suggest you try to plan a creative, fun, authentic experience for yourself in the few days you have in NYC.  My recommendation is to visit one of the classic art museums (Met, MoMA) one of the contemporary museums (Guggenheim, Whitney, Cooper Hewitt, MAD) and at least one gallery (Gagosian, Pace, Zwirner, Cheim & Read) and if you can swing it the mammoth Armory Show on the pier on the weekend which will leave you with a great sense of the NYC art scene.  Once you choose your museums to pair it with other activities nearby (example: Chelsea galleries, High Line, Chelsea Market to eat & shop then the Whitney).
I’d also enjoy some culture – Broadway or off-Broadway favs like Blue Man Group or Ave Q and Lincoln Center, and live TV tapings are great but a walk along the high line or through Central Park works too.  Also, eat and drink well- there are great options everywhere & if you’re not sure download Yelp for help!

Do you have a preferred method of getting around the city and why?

I usually walk when I have the time or take a subway if it’s nearby but if you’re in a group cab, Lyft & Uber are great.

You made some really great videos for your questions. Was there one that you especially liked or had fun making?

My favorite might’ve been the video featuring the Chuck Close mosaics in the 2nd Ave subway because they were brand new so I hadn’t seen them before.  I created the videos over the course of 2 months and multiple visits so it was fun to see so many museums and locations. I find it refreshes me in the classroom.

During your chat, you asked some great questions. Can you share a few with us and maybe some of the responses that were helpful or enlightening?

The chat was a really fun conversation and there were a number of great responses.  I asked what people were looking forward to doing and there were so many great ideas.  I also thought the restaurant recommendations were great and I love the idea of making time for the chocolate shop and beer get-togethers!

They call NYC the city that never sleeps. Matt and I have often wonder if you ever sleep. You seem to have boundless energy, creating and posting at all hours of the day and night.  How do you do it?

Thanks, good question – I wish I knew the answer to this one!

What are you most looking forward to about NAEA 2017?

I really love seeing all the k12artchat crew at the NAEA 2017 conventions so I’m really looking forward to our get together opening night and the AET awards!  I’m also interested in seeing Jeff Koons speak after just seeing his work at the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain last week.  I’m also excited for the Makerspace STEAM room event I arranged on Friday afternoon in the Sheraton.

Will you be posting throughout the conference and if so how can we follow you?

I will definitely be posting regularly on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @TimNeedles during the convention and I usually write a reflective blog post on my class blog afterward.

What parting thoughts or suggestions do you have for the community?  

I hope you all enjoy your visit to NYC! It’s a fast-paced city that is totally diverse – midtown has a totally different feel than the lower east side or the upper west side so if it’s your first time, try to get out a bit!

Tim, sometimes thank you just doesn’t feel big enough.  You are a constant support to the community and always share fun and creative insights.  We know there are a lot of people out there that are thankful you are sharing your suggestions for NYC/NAEA 2017 with everyone.  Thank you for sharing – we are looking forward to a great conference in the city that never sleeps!

Wishing you creativity — see you in NYC!

Matt & Laura

About the Author

Laura and Matt Grundler are art educators from Plano, Texas. They are also proud parents, bloggers and founders of the popular Twitter Chat #K12ArtChat. After teaching middle school art, high school art and working as an assistant principal, Laura has moved into the role of district Visual Arts Coordinator. Matt started out as a graphic designer; however after finding the commercial side of design to be unsatisfying, he soon found his niche as a K-5 Art teacher. Both Laura and Matt are passionate about raising their three creative kids, sharing their love of art education with their professional learning network and continuing to grow everyday.