Macon, Georgia- The Georgia Art Education Association (GAEA) will hold its annual conference on Thursday, October 2nd through Sunday, October 5th at the Macon Marriott City Center at 240 Coliseum Drive. The conference gathers Georgia Art Educators for professional development and advocacy. 

Kelli Shadwell, Treasurer for the GAEA and Co-chairperson for the 2014 Fall Conference says that this is the first time since 1991 the conference is being held in Macon. "This year is an important year for art education," Shadwell said. "Georgia is one of six states that does not make art education mandatory." Because it is an election year, the GAEA is looking at gubernatorial and state superintendent candidates and how they will propose to mandate art education. Shadwell, a Dekalb County third grade teacher emphasizes that art education improves students' grades and prevents absenteeism.

The conference will feature keynote speaker Olivia Gude, Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Founding Director of Spiral Workshop and a public artist. She has won several art awards for her significant contributions to the field of art education and has published many articles proposing new paradigms for 21stcentury art education. She frequently gives presentations and workshops on emerging practices in art education throughout the U.S., Canada, and around the world. 

Macon artist and Assistant Professor of Art at Mercer University, Eric O'Dell is the Artist in Residence.

To learn more about the Georgia Art Education Association, please visit