Position: 7/8th Grade Art Survey, Junior High Advanced Art
Education/Degrees: BA in Studio Art, College of Charleston; Masters in Arts Education, The University of Georgia
Length of time teaching: 9 years
Holy Trinity’s tagline is: “Start Here. Go Anywhere.” How do you envision helping students to live this motto?
I believe with a strong creative background students can “Start Here. Go Anywhere.” Creativity is the main focus of the art curriculum that is applicable to all areas of success. Teaching students that creativity is about the constant trial, error and regrouping of ideas that is a basic principle of success that can be applied in all areas of life, academia and future employment. Creating an environment that is supportive of the creative spirit creates a basis for all students to go anywhere in any endeavor they seek.
What experiences or people have had the most influence on you?
Travel has been a huge influence on myself and my career as an art teacher. Being able to experience firsthand a wide variety of art from different cultures has greatly influenced my career. I was fortunate enough to study abroad on the University of Georgia’s Cortona, Italy program where I was able to immerse myself in museums, culture and art. This program, which started out as a fun semester abroad, lead to the ultimate decision to pursue art as my career. It was here that I took my first print-making class under the study of Judy Jones, who helped me to recognize that my career path lay in teaching. After six years of teaching in Alpharetta, Georgia, I was blessed to get married and move to Spain with my husband for his career. It was there I was able to further expand my firsthand knowledge of art through travel. We spent the next three years traveling through Europe visiting museums, galleries and homes of classic and current artists. The experience of seeing great masters’ work like John Singer Sargent and Winslow Homer in person, where you can see the brush strokes and feel their presence, was incredible. I love to bring that firsthand knowledge back to my classroom and share its influence with my students.
How do you keep current with the subject areas you cover?
I keep current with the art world by seeking out art exhibits and shows at museums. With our multiple moves in the states and abroad, I have been able to be close to major art hubs and museums. Participating in Continuing Education programs at The High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. as well as being a member of the Royal Academy of Art in London and the Metropolitan museum of Art in New York has allowed me to continually visit exhibits that inspire me. If there is one thing I encourage students to do, it is to get out, explore and see what inspires you.
What is the most important life lesson you want a child to learn in your classroom?
Tenacity is what I would like students to develop in my class and take with them in to all areas of their life. Creating art and bringing a final product to fruition is a series of trying ideas and revamping those ideas until you get a final product. This process takes stamina and persistence that I believe is an essential life skill, and I hope to always foster that in my classroom by creating an environment that is safe for students to try ideas out and support them as they explore and build their art skills.
What motivated you to become a teacher?
My motivation for becoming a teacher was driven in part by my love of a good challenge. Few careers present you with a constant challenge, but when you are given a group of students facing obstacles to gain knowledge, you get challenges at every turn. I love working with students, helping to solve those challenges and see the gratification in their success and supporting them when they fail to face the challenge again. I was personally lucky enough to have two amazing art teachers/professors that helped me along the way in facing my own challenges as a student who motivated me to seek a career where I could do the same for others.
How do you inspire a student that has a hard time in your subject area?
It is amazing to me that I hear so much how students think they are not a good artist. Most have a common misconception that artists are naturally talented. In my class I try to focus on the idea that art is a skill that is developed by the constant practice of training your brain through artistic activity. Like a sports athlete, artists are people, who choose to constantly practice and build their art skills by engaging in art activity. I also try to stay current on arts activities in the area and encourage students to go participate in them. Art is not just about constantly making ideas you have but being inspired by experiences and ideas of others. So getting out to art shows, museums, out in to nature and traveling to places that are new all have a way of inspiring and encouraging those who struggle in creating.
What are some of your interest and passions outside of the classroom?
Travel is hands down a huge passion of mine. Some of it is as far away as other countries but some of it is just getting out and exploring a new place that I have heard or read about where I live. Luckily the people I am most passionate about, my husband and two kids, love to explore as well so you can often find us in a car or airplane heading someplace new. I am also a foodie, and that fits right in with traveling. I love to try new restaurants and experiment by cooking something new. I come from a long line of amazing cooks, and while I am nowhere near as good as Grandme’, my grandmother, I can hold my own in the kitchen.