Two Paragraphs of my Teaching Philosophy for Studio Art.Posted: February 9, 2010
Looking for feedback from all the writers, artists, and professors out there.
I welcome comments, emendations, corrections, thoughts…
As a teacher my key goal is to facilitate the students growth as an artist. By this I mean to create an environment that, on the one hand, is stimulating and challenging enough to confront the student with new possibilities and concepts, and on the other hand, provides a secure enough place for the student to express their ideas in their work. I aim to establish a setting that is both collaborative and instructional. This encourages the student to know their value as a person and as an artist in a way that cultivates their desire to push themselves to new levels of excellence. Encouraging, rather than forcing, the introspective process in art making, allows the student to see that the process—at times painful—of stripping away false selves can yield a highly privileged and unique educational experience: working with concrete material, with images, with one’s hands in such a way that the inner self is reflected; an experience that I personally have only encountered in art education.
As an artist and as a professor of studio art, I want students to see their primary calling as artists; that despite the enormous challenges of making a living as a studio artist, it is within their possibility to do so, at least in some form or another. While it is absolutely essential for the professor to transmit in-depth instruction in technique for the production of quality artwork, having a substantial grounding in critical thinking, verbal and written skills along with art history will buttress the student’s sense of professionalism and career-mindedness. From experience, I have seen that students who are able to talk about their work, and their process as an artist, have excelled in their artistic output and ability to position themselves in the art world. A secure classroom space allows the student to feel she or he can share freely about their work, interested to hear from fellow students and professors without the fear of personal attack. The desired goal is that the academic process results in the personal satisfaction of sharing verbally as well as visually, encouraging students to create innovative artwork that is deeply their own.