My teaching philosophy is that students should have the opportunity to engage in a stimulating learning environment as well as a place where they can hone their technical, conceptual, and professional acumen as emerging contemporary artists and designers. It is my desire to create a safe and respectful atmosphere where students can meet their potential by freely expressing themselves and embracing the differences of others. There are three elements that I believe can establish such an environment: (1) reviewing fundamentals regularly, (2) encouraging interdisciplinary exploration, and (3) promoting respect for all.
As a basis of practice, I find an expansive (as well as contractive) regular review of the Elements of Art and Principles of Design to be the most symbiotic exercises for facilitating critical and comprehensive thinking. In this way, students are provided with as many artistic tools and techniques as possible when creating and/or appreciating an aesthetic experience. In addition, routine examination of the fundamentals affords students the opportunity to conduct a more complete formal and non-formal analysis during critiques. My aim is to equip students with the vocabulary required to speak about—and create—art in a powerful manner.
Further, I am drawn to mentoring students through exposure and experimentations with an integrated approach to Art + Design such as The Bauhaus model. Therefore, I encourage students to expand beyond traditional approaches to art and elicit an interdisciplinary investigation by seeking colleagues outside of the department for collaboration; researching atypical content; or applying cross-content theories to art making—methods that I have embraced in my own practice. In this way, students are able to fully explore conceptual, abstract, and perceptual based approaches to art making.
Equally important, and necessary to the learning experience, is promoting an atmosphere of respect for all. With the ever-changing dynamics in the classroom—including race, ethnicity, language, sexuality, abilities, religion, among others—it is important to validate my students’ lives and perspectives by actively pursuing the inclusion of underrepresented communities during instruction as a way of cultivating respect; supporting inclusivity; and developing identity.
My responsibility as an educator is to provide multiple avenues for students to grow as artists. In this spirit, I hope to help students know how to plan and respond well to their own intrinsic research and creative endeavors and I consider it an honor and a privilege to be entrusted with the opportunity to perpetuate a life-long interest in art creation and appreciation.