Category Archives: Uncategorized

Work Hard, Fail Hard


How can you succeed in life? By failing epically.

Often times, individuals are so bent on succeeding they become blind to the risk-taking needed to move forward. In our founder’s second TEDx talk, Jen explains just how Improv has allowed failures in her professional development. Focusing on flexibility, listening, and teamwork, this TEDx talk outlines clear takeaways from Improv for the work environment.

Special thanks to the organizers at TEDxMelville for the opportunity.

Watch Failing at Work : Working on Failing above, and make sure to spread the Improv-love!

If I ever run away…

…make sure to check North Carolina first.

NC-Post

Our whirlwind trip to North Carolina this November was an epic success of the south.

I started off the week getting to know the Reynolda House Museum of American Art docents and educators. Located in Winston-Salem, the eclectic, historic house and collection was an excellent place to “Yes, And…” movement and Improv. In addition, I was thrilled to hold an important workshop centered on how educators work with special needs audiences.

The day at the North Carolina Museum of Art started with a workshop with the educators and ended with a full on improv workshop with the teens. Before saying goodbye to NC, we stopped off at Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University for an Improv and an Alzheimer’s workshop with the educators, then hustled back to Winston-Salem for a teacher workshop with SECCA.

The biggest takeaway from this trip (besides my appetite for barbeque) was experimentation. I had the chance to step out of my comfort zone in presenting a diverse set of activities and programs; thankfully the educators I worked with were amazing risk-takers throughout every session.

The North Carolina museum staff are also doing fantastic things with programming and technology, with one place even using a 3D pen in the galleries! This goes to show that you can find a talented and dedicated bunch in every part of the country. The only regret I had was leaving.

–Jen Oleniczak, Founder

Major thanks to my new colleagues and friends of the South. Photos courtesy of J Caldwell for the Nasher Museum.

Turning Two

Happy Birthday to The Engaging Educator!

It’s been quite a year filled with plenty of museum visits, a growing team, a slew of press recognition, and new partnerships and connections. Between the amount of traveling and number of participants, I can hardly believe the progress we’ve made in 365 days.

Here are some highlights:

  1. This spring we partnered with the Queens Museum of Art: Art Access Program to offer two pilot Improv workshops for children with Autism and their Parents, bridging our passions for museum education and building individual confidence.
  2. After debuting our philosophy of Improv(e) at TEDxCortland Talk in November 2013, we garnered over 2,000 watches on YouTube. In case you missed it, make sure to watch it!
  3. Our Improv partnership with the Stephen T. Mather Building Arts & Craftsmanship High School in Manhattan started the second semester of 2014, and we are psyched to continue working with the Mather students until 2015!

In perfect birthday timing, this week I happened to speak on personal branding and starting a company to a group of New York museum educators. The Engaging Educator has taught me many valuable lessons, but my main advice is as follows: Try everything and see what sticks, always saying yes, and make sure to find a core group of supporters who will help no matter what’s at stake.

I certainly wouldn’t be celebrating two years without my incredible core. Sending one big AHHHHOUGAH to Nick Pavlik, Angelina Salgado, Shosh Torn and Gary Kramer, for believing in me and this incredible adventure.

Lastly, thank you to you (yes, you!) because with our numerous students, partners, supporters, and fans we are able to live up to our name. Whether you attended a single class, a series of workshops, shared our #museumed or #Improv articles, or found us at multiple events– AHHHHOUGAH!

This upcoming year, the Engaging Educator is saying YES, and… to an updated new look, and even more adventures! Catch us presenting at SXSWedu in Austin and running a workshop at the 2015 NAEA National Convention in New Orleans. We’re ready to spread the improving Improv effect to new audiences.

Cheers to Year 3!

–Jen Oleniczak, Founder

April Adventures

photo.PNGWe’ve been traveling, connecting, teaching and adventuring around the US and NYC! Follow us on Twitter to keep up to date, but for now enjoy a shot from our session at NAEA Gallery Teaching Marathon at the San Diego Contemporary Art Museum!

 

 

March Adventures!

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March is a traveling month for us! We’ll be heading to Georgia college to speak at the Patience Elizabeth Russell Peterson Museum Educator’s Seminar, then off to SXSW.

At the end of the month, keep an eye on the west coast for a workshop with the Hammer Museum and NAEA.

 

Keep up with our travels by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

Collaborations!

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We are excited to announce collaborations with Stephen T. Mather Building Arts & Craftsmanship High School, WECREATE and National Comedy Theatre! Stay tuned for more information, and sign up for our newsletter to keep in the know!

TEDx Improv(e)

Our TEDx talk is online! Enjoy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yNb5Dhfguw

December Improv Intensive

For the holidays, we will not be holding a 3-week intensive in December, but there will be a one night intensive!

December 17th, 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM $35

Email workshops@theengagingeducator.com for details!

October: One year old!

October brings our 1st birthday! Thanks to everyone who supported and stood behind us this year!

A Response:

From Art Museum Teaching:

http://artmuseumteaching.com/2013/09/25/a-museum-experience-is-not-one-size-fits-all/