My role as an art educator is to be a bridge between the next generation of artists and the art world. By modeling a strong studio practice, teaching a thorough technical foundation with a focus on experimentation and by encouraging engagement with critical theory and a holistic approach to art history I hope to help young artists build their practice and accomplish their goals.
By maintaining and modeling a strong studio practice while teaching I expose my students to the many aspects of the professional world that await them once they leave school. They see the hours of hard work that go into building an artistic career. Activities that offer experience in professional practices such as student organizations and student organized exhibitions are encouraged. Taking on all responsibility for pulling together an exhibition or organizing funding for a visiting artist allows students to gain concrete experience in work as well as networking and building community.
I strive to instill in my students both a solid foundation of technical skills and the ability to trust themselves and their vision. I begin all courses with a foundation of testing. For example, in a ceramics course, students would immediately create test tiles for future use. Experimentation and testing appropriate to the student’s skill level is supported from the get go. Basic building and decoration techniques are introduced and demonstrated and, once appropriate, additional methods are approached. This comprehensive skill base acts as a jumping off point for students to begin further exploration and research. Their know-how coupled with a generous framework of guidance ensure that students are empowered to determine which techniques, ceramic or otherwise, will fulfill their intended conceptual outcome.
Critical theory as it relates to art history as a whole as well as to the craft field in particular is important to my pedagogical practice. During critique and class discussions students are encouraged to begin articulating the connection of their work to larger conceptual movements and to verbalize their reasoning behind procedural and aesthetic choices. Additionally, they are encouraged to engage fellow students through thoughtful questions and observations.
Finally, as a teacher and first generation college student I am committed to nurturing inclusivity, equity and excellence in art education. It is important to me that students see themselves reflected in the material presented and are given the tools necessary to interrogate the dominant art historical cannon.
I believe that giving students, art major and non-major alike, the tools to learn a craft, to explore beyond those boundaries and to connect to broader historical art movements I am helping to nurture discipline and fortitude in individuals as they forge a path that is unique to them.