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 350 Educators Sign up for Arts Empower Conference

About 350 arts educators will attend the first Arts Empower San Diego Mega Conference Friday, where they will be able to hone their teaching skills, attend workshops, network with peers, and see a variety of art.

The unique event in Balboa Park combines previous conferences for visual art, music, and theater while adding dance and other art-related topics.

“It’s the classic example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts,” said Russell Sperling, arts coordinator with the San Diego County Office of Education, which helped facilitate the conference.

Featured speakers this year include Inocente, a local teen artists featured in an Academy Award-winning short film named after her, as well as Tessandra Chavez, a dancer and choreographer who has appeared on “So You Think You Can Dance” and worked on other television shows. There also will be performances and art on display.

Sessions for educators will be held throughout Balboa Park in venues such as the Old Globe Theater, San Diego Museum of Art, Museum of Photographic Arts, and Casa del Prado.

Events such as this are especially important for arts educators because they’re often the only one teaching their particular subject at their school, Sperling said.

“It’s really important for them to have the opportunity to get together and learn from their colleagues,” he said. “Otherwise, they can become isolated.”

A variety of organizations and museums have teamed up to put on the event, including the local branch of the California Music Education Association, the San Diego County Art Education Association, The San Diego Theater Educators Alliance, the Arts Education Resources Organization, and the San Diego Arts Network.

Registration is closed for the event, which runs from 8 a.m. to 3:45 Friday.