Statement of Teaching Philosophy
I strive to help students more fully recognize who they are as they make work about the things that matter to them. The courage and wisdom they gain will help them grow as artists and designers, critical thinkers, and generous citizens who are engaged in the worlds they imagine. As they develop, I hope they will maintain the kernels of passion that inspired them to attend art and design school, while they consciously respond to their colleagues and neighbors.
I encourage students at both the foundation and advanced levels to be present to the experiences at hand. This attitude of attentiveness informs our interactions with one another in the studio, which quickly becomes a place for sharing creativity, empathetic support, and rigorous challenge. Students’ innate abilities and enthusiasm for exploration carry them forward to unexpected places of inquiry. Some make work about challenges they face, for example, life after touring Iraq or living with obsessive-compulsive behavior. Others conduct interviews with community members about their perspectives on hunger or the role of the Federal Bank, and still others pursue questions of beauty. In the course of their research, students practice intuitive and analytical processes of gathering, reflecting, crafting, critiquing, and refining their work. Their blogs serve as virtual sketchbooks and portfolios.
This approach to creative practice requires formal vocabulary, the ability to think critically, and collaborative and technical skills. We approach these content areas by means of structured exercises that alternate with open-ended, research-based projects. Both are supported by readings, conversations, and critiques. Once students create rough drafts, we discern the logic, values, and intuitive leaps that drove their decisions. Notions of structure and theories arise with consideration of students’ intentions, forms, and contexts. Ultimately, they expand their abilities to guide their creative processes in relation to their hopes as artists, designers and citizens. Students grow to understand not only the content of a particular project within its immediate context, but also how each creative endeavor can inform the next.