Annual Conference – Nov 9-10


Art Connects Us
Montserrat College of Art, Beverly
Saturday and Sunday, November 9-10, 2024

Submit your conference session proposal – Deadline July 31

Saturday and Sunday Keynotes

Jarrett J. Krosoczka, known since boyhood as “JJK,” is the New York Times bestselling author/illustrator behind more than forty books for young readers, including his wildly popular Lunch Lady graphic novels, select volumes of the Star Wars™: Jedi Academy series, and Hey, Kiddo, which was a National Book Award Finalist. Krosoczka creates books with humor, heart, and deep respect for his young readers—qualities that have made his titles perennial favorites on the bookshelves of homes, libraries, and bookstores over the past twenty years. 

Krosoczka has been a guest on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, profiled in The New York Times, featured on Good Morning America, and delivered three captivating TED Talks, which have accrued millions of views online. Krosoczka garners millions more views online monthly via the tutorials he produces for YouTube and TikTok.  As well as working on his books’ film and television adaptions, Krosoczka has also written for The Snoopy Show (Apple TV+) and served as a consultant for Creative Galaxy (Prime Video), and appeared in live segments for the show.

Realizing that his books can inspire young readers beyond the page, Krosoczka founded School Lunch Hero Daya national campaign celebrating school lunch staff. A consummate advocate for arts education, Krosoczka also established the Joseph and Shirley Krosoczka Memorial Youth Scholarships, which fund art classes for underprivileged children in his hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts.

Dr. Melissa Leaym-Fernandez is an artist, educator, and researcher. Entangling her lived experiences into her professional practices she works to illustrate the power held in the wordlessness of artworks, the superpowers held by not only students, but their educators and she examines how art education, pop culture, and intersectionalities of race, class, and gender support and/or harm in contemporary learning spaces. 

Her current body of art is a two-part series, Ode to Minjung Kim, celebrating the art of the South Korean artist. Part One holds 117 new pieces of art and Part Two is ongoing. As an educator she has taught in Flint, Michigan during the height of the ongoing water-crisis, in metro Detroit, rural Michigan, and with the leprosy effected in India. Service learning—engagement with the community is a big part of her praxis and she has worked with several community organization around the globe. Her research interests include Art education as a tool to overcome the outcomes of ACEs (adverse childhood experiences), malevolent creativity, gender representations in East and South Asian media (meaning she has read and watched over 300 full series of television dramas, movies, music videos and comics from China, India, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand), and community-based art education learning through performance art and theater elements.

Born into poverty in a single parent home, facing the ugly cousins of poverty—food insecurity and home insecurity—she learned at age eleven the disposability and worthlessness of her own body. Enduring a brutal sexual assault by a white man, the neighborhood pal, she has overcome much. Shunned by her Sri Lanka father and his family she has navigated her in-between biracial identity alone with art education as her constant in life. She is a first-generation college graduate and accomplished her first degree before folks understood the resources needed by first gen students to succeed. She now holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting, a Bachelor of Science in art education with her teaching certificate, a Master’s in art education, a Master’s in arts administration and the Doctorate in art education and women’s’, gender and sexuality studies. She is currently an Assistant Teaching Professor of Art Education at the University of Massachusetts—Dartmouth and owns and operates her studio,

Call for session proposals

The call for conference session proposals is now open.

We are looking for a variety of sessions for our 2 day conference held in Beverly, MA on November 9-10, 2024. Please consider submitting a proposal for a Best Practice Lecture, Demonstration, Research Lecture, Interactive Discussion, Studio Workshop, or other type of session offering not listed here. All presenters selected to present at the 2024 MAEA conference will receive complimentary tickets to attend the conference. We encourage new presenters! The deadline for session proposals is July 31, 2024. More presenter information can be found on the session proposal form, linked here.

  • Best Practice Lecture – Presentation of exemplary lessons, instructional practices, programs, and/or initiatives followed by Q&A.
  • Demonstration – Presenter demonstration of an artistic technique, arts-based method, or pedagogical approach.
  • Research Lecture – Presentation of academic papers and/or discussion of research.
  • Interactive Discussion – Participatory discussion about art education issues/topics among presenter and attendees.
  • Studio Workshop – Studio art-making session. 

Have ideas for the 2024 Conference?

If you have ideas you would like the conference committee to consider, or if you would like to join the 2024 MAEA Conference Committee, please contact Cari DiCicco at and Siobhan McDonald at