The Eastern Shore Art Center in downtown Fairhope will host a conference for the state’s arts educators from Oct. 15-17. The conference will kick off Oct. 15 with a registration reception with live music from 4 – 7 p.m. at the Eastern Shore Art Center.

The Eastern Shore Art Center in downtown Fairhope.

The Eastern Shore Art Center in downtown Fairhope.

The Alabama Art Education Association conference will officially begin Oct. 16 with breakfast at 8 a.m. and meet the vendors hour, followed by a 9 a.m. introduction of the full schedule of workshops and tour opportunities.

The conference will feature a host of workshops offered Friday by watercolorist Kathy Sheppard, oil and acrylic artist Linda Ledet, clay artist Maria Spies, paper sculptor Jeff Knighton, watercolorist and Haiku writer Juli Day and sketchbook journal artist Ardith Goodwin.

Offsite tours include boat trips at Weeks Bay, learning about the estuaries with the biologist team, a tour of the world’s largest sport art collection at the United States Sports Academy, visits to the Dean Mosher castle home, walking tours to Nall studio and the Kiln. There will also be Fairhope history with Donnie Barrett, taking a tour of the Fairhope Colony Cemetery.

Interspersed throughout the day may be surprises for the teachers, including a spontaneous drum circle, a visit from the troupe from Creative Outlet with “Where the Wild Things Are” dancers, and a chance to hear a storyteller bringing the art to life with Connie Cazort.

An art happening will occur on the Fairhope Pier at 4:30 p.m. Friday when the art teachers take the umbrellas they made to walk the planks in an arts advocacy parade.

“A Bagpiper will lead the way as we carry the umbrellas coming from across the state decorated with the theme ‘The Arts Have You Covered!’,” according to a press release from ESAC director Nancy Raia. “Some may decorate their umbrellas in the style of a favorite artist they teach about, others may use it as self-expression of their hopes, dreams and passion about how the arts have you covered. A strong basis in art can lead to greater success in many career choices.”

There will be an awards dinner Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the James P. Nix Center. Lindsay Lindsey, the keynote speaker will tell the story of how combining her love of art is also being put to use in her chosen medical career choice. A med student at University of South Alabama, she was a top student with a strong arts background at University of Alabama, leaving behind some commissioned pieces of sculpture there.

Karin and Eric Marrero will provide musical entertainment on harp and guitar and Dianne Bernasconi will present her Fairhope High School students in a fashion show of garments they designed. Awards will be given as well in this full evening, with a dinner from Rob Berglin Catering.

“Saturday morning we switch over to the Fairhope Campus of University of South Alabama,” the release said. “We begin with breakfast at 8 a.m., while watching aerial silk artist Megrez Mosher perform. At 9 a.m., we have JD Crowe coming to share his editorial cartoons with us, and then we break off into exciting workshops given by our art teachers attending, sharing their best practices.”

After a lunch from Panini Pete’s conference guests will learn about the work of local artist Bruce Larsen.

AAEA and NAEA members can register for $200 , while first time attendees, students and retired persons cost $180. Off-site excursions vary in price. Register for the conference online at www.aaeaonline.org or pickup a form at the Eastern Shore Art Center in Fairhope.