Educating about art is an evolving activity as the role of art in culture and society is constantly changing. Students must be given solid footing in order to understand that they can create a story, a powerful image, or a frozen moment in time that is original and total self-expression. Exposing students to art history, movements, and styles along with social proficiency provide a tripod of information and knowledge from which they can build on.
First and foremost, as a contemporary educator, it is important to teach students about The Influences. I start the dialog using contemporary artists as examples, I find this way excites and creates curiosity, opening natural discourse about historical influences (where we come from). Some people view history as a boring and unimportant subject, but one of the most important reasons to study history is that it will make you a better artist. You will have a better understanding of the art world and what shaped it into the world it is today. You will understand the suffering, joy, and chaos that were necessary for the present day to happen. I am a firm believer that the value of understanding our historical roots transforms us into powerful artist creating powerful work; which we can believe in.
Second, helping students connect to movements, styles, and periods that relate to each of their individual work allows them to see alternate viewpoints, and develop the ability to understand other artist’s message or messages regardless of medium. This, in turn, improves the student own visual dialogue that provides them with more options to choose from when problem-solving within their own creative process. From here, I encourage students to explore instinctive, intellectual and technical approaches through materials and processes. Merging new ideas with traditional techniques will help students to reinvent genres in studio art and keep it exciting for them.
Finally, social proficiency, helps students understand the value of talking about art benefits both students and department. Serving as the catalyst for interaction and communication, I encourage students to participate and become active in the real world via visiting galleries and museums, artist demonstrations, artist openings, and lectures along with cultural experiences. These connections, will increase the student’s confidence, verbal dialogue, and provide a sense of place within the larger community. This concept of place becomes an important fragment of awareness that helps young artist position themselves on the timeline of art. Ultimately, my goals as an educator are met when students venture into the world as capable artists prepared to engage contemporary artistic practices with genuine roots.