Sun... Tree... Symmetry
December, 2000, Durham, CT
Digital quad tone print 14" X 14"
I believe that excellence in teaching begins with having a profound respect for the integrity and honest intent of every student. Each must find his or her own voice. Each must feel secure enough in the classroom to take risks, make mistakes, feel encouraged by successes and derive energy from a supportive, cooperative classroom environment. The instructor is responsible for setting this tone. A student centered approach in the classroom is the only effective way I know to enable the student to strive for personal excellence.
Art allows us to share experiences of wondrous subtlety. Through its endless unfolding, the multiplicity of its forms, we approach something much larger than ourselves. The arts offer us the only language equal to the task. The instructor must encourage each student to find an internal motivation for wanting to become engaged not only in the personal joys but also in the inevitable struggle involved with true visual growth. Two steps forward, one step back. There is much hard work with each medium. Hopefully each student will find something in the work which is hers, something she's never seen before.
Along with the necessary studio courses, future artists should be broadly educated in the humanities. Students need to develop a sincere appreciation for the liberal arts. Philosophy, history and language arts provide a firm foundation for and reason to be an artist. Art that is taught as a technical subject only does not equip students to become thoughtful, articulate and agile in their ability to solve visual problems or have artistic insight. Training in the arts needs to be balanced by a curriculum which exposes each student to the important ideas and texts the past as well as contemporary life.
In my teaching, I strive to be technically expert, but patient and open-minded enough to enable each of my students to work from his own center, to find her own voice.