The Visual Arts allow an artist to work through complex and critical problems utilizing a variety of approaches. Whether it be in the initial formulation of an idea, sculpting, throwing, painting, or a plethora of finishing techniques the artist is continually reflecting and reacting. It is by way of self-reflection while creating these entities that demands critical attention. In this contemporary society, promoting life-long learning through content and instruction allows students to focus on strengths and weaknesses. I strive to lead a classroom that creates an inviting and stimulating environment where students feel free to take their work outside of their comfort zone and push forward to new levels of thought and experience. This environment engages critical thinking, relevant projects, obtainable goals, and is a nurturing/motivational atmosphere.
I help guide students to reach their goals without strict mandation of the direction or answer. I believe that art is a personal expression of Ones self and reflects what a person is and is not. I challenge students to make informed critical and appropriate decisions, while they are making instinctive aesthetic choices. Creating art that is individualized gives a personal connection and ownership to their work that they may not find otherwise.
The students also learn critical art thinking through readings of introspective works, writings, reflections, exposure to artists and mediums, and difficult ideas as a means for expanding their conceptual understanding. This creates an open dialogue that the student can use to inform and grow upon while they learn about their inner self. Implementing these components is made possible by balancing the theoretical approach, actual studio practice, personalization and conceptual depth. Assessment and comprehension is visible through research, critical discussions and a concise analytically informed conversation with the student. Connecting the students to their work captivates their attention and interests while allowing me to discuss concepts that they may have not thought about or did not know how to address. Refining this approach each time allows me to better understand the inner workings of the student’s mind. Assigning projects that are sometimes open-ended may have very different meanings for each student. Project titles such as; The Idea of Black, Selfish and Selfless, Identity and Introspection creates a bridge that connects popular culture and current trends to historical contexts and individualization fluently.
The Visual Arts is an area that encompasses all other disciplines and provides a unique perspective in which to teach students critical thought, technological aspects, multi-disciplined fields while bestowing an outlet for creativity and revealing a view of their inner self. Providing a situation that interests students with organized and informed ideas allows the students to take risks, develop skills, address aesthetic concerns, push conceptual ideas and perhaps, most importantly, make a personal investment in their work. I lead students to higher levels of thought, experimentation and reflection, self-confidence, maturity, respect for one another, and the ability to participate in critical discussions in a global society.