Teach In

My Teaching Philosophy

A gouache painting of the top third of a yellow pencil with a white woman's head just below the eraser. She is smiling and wearing glasses.
“It is not from ourselves that we learn to be better than we are.” – Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace

I use two metaphors to describe my approach to teaching art: Climbing a Mountain and the Big Tent. The essence of climbing the mountain is this: presuming you want to get there, I can help you find a way up the mountain, but I cannot carry you up the path. Potter and author M.C. Richards put it more elegantly in her 1962 book Centering in Pottery, Poetry, and the Person when she wrote: “Let no one be deluded that a knowledge of the path can substitute for putting one foot in front of the other.” Amen. Over the course of a semester I scaffold assignments to help students plan for and start out on that proverbial path. The Big Tent—which I imagine to be a large, white, vinyl, revival-style tent—is the world of Art, where there is room for everyone. I am the carnival barker, standing outside, enticing passing English and Biology majors: “Step right up! See the wonders of observational drawing! Witness the transformative power of relief printing!”

Once inside the tent, we can slow down, pace ourselves, and dig deep into the complexities of expression, interpretation, truth, and beauty, but I want students to know, first and foremost, that they are welcomed to this practice, that my courses and classroom are radically hospitable. Whether they are majors pursuing a career in art, elective-takers whose creative practice is fleeting, or anywhere in between, I believe art and design is an important part of a contemporary college curriculum. I hope students leave my class transformed: affirmed in their human dignity as creative people, skilled at making things well, confident in generating original ideas, fluent in analysis and interpreting visual images, and comfortable using art and design to form and answer their own questions.

Courses Taught

Introduction to Graphic Design
Introduction to Studio Art
Basic Drawing
Beginning Printmaking
Intermediate Printmaking (a community engaged coursesee syllabus here)
Special Topics in Illustration (a hybrid coursesee class site here)
Advanced Studio