Linda Conti, Chair of The Hill School art department and a long-time teacher at the school, has been elected to a two-year term as President of the Virginia Art Education Association, the VAEA announced in mid-November.
Conti, served as vice president of the 900-member organization the last two years and is in her 20th year teaching at Hill, the Junior Kindergarten through eighth grade school founded in 1926.
“We’re the primary source for development for professional art educators,” Conti said of the VAEA. “I’m committed to art education. The thing I love about VAEA is that it gives me a chance to remind teachers why they got into this business in the first place.”
A native of Chicago, Conti’s family moved to the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. where she attended Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville. She took a number of psychology courses at Montgomery College “when it just became clear to me that I really needed to study art.”
She earned a degree at Temple University in Philadelphia, studying at the prestigious Tyler School of Art and excelling in drawing, working in clay and mixed media. She’s also a highly-skilled mixed media artist herself, and her work has been featured in a number of galleries in the Washington area.
Married with four grown children, Conti and her family live in the Purcellville, Virginia area. Her teaching philosophy is simple.
“I want to challenge the children,” she said. “A lot of what we do is problem solving. You may be amazing at drawing but can you also do well in collage or clay? The whole process is about the children expressing themselves, and I expect them to use as many tools as possible. I want them to make something meaningful to them with the material they have in front of them, and not be afraid to fail.”
The VAEA has been a voice for art education in the state dating back to 1915, when there first became an art department in the Virginia Education Association (VEA). The Virginia Art Education Association became its own organization in 1961 and then in 1976 unified with the National Art Education Association. Currently it’s one of the largest state art organizations in the nation with a mission is to promote, support and advance visual arts education through professional development, leadership, research and service.
The goal of a Hill School education is to build character, self-confidence, and scholarship through academic and co-curricular excellence, individualized attention, and a strong sense of community.