I left behind my career in advertising because I wanted to work within the creative field in ways that make actual differences and have positive lasting effects in individual lives and in society as a whole. This led me to pursue art education. The transformations I seek out are not made by me alone, but by my students – in their ideas, thinking, and art. As an educator I act as a facilitator. I bring new artists, artwork and art-making tools and skills to my students. They are challenged to observe, inquire, interpret and then create meaningful pieces of art.
Art has the ability to connect. Connect history, morality, math, science, religion and politics. Connect people from various backgrounds and cultures, from different generations and genders. Through the use of big ideas and a wide-ranging array of artists and artworks my students will explore how art is ingrained in many facets of life, society, and history. Incorporating diverse content under the umbrella of an enduring idea also supports student’s development of empathic responses to what is different from them.
By incorporating work ranging from historical art to contemporary to visual culture, students will come to understand how art teaches and how it communicates. Artist Catherine Opie said “Creativity is critical thinking and without it, how are you going to open up and ask harder questions? Art opens all of those kind of passages and possibilities to think beyond what we already know.” Through questioning and interpreting imagery in class, students will build the necessary skills to become independent thinkers who look at their world through a critical lens. Not only will students interpret what other artists communicate through art, they will also learn how to express thoughts and ideas that are relevant and important to them through their own art.
To develop authentic and deep understandings, I meet each individual where they are. Teaching from an equitable and culturally-responsive mindset is key. Differentiated instruction, community, student voice and autonomy are all at the forefront of my teaching.