Students tell their own stories when making art. My job is to encourage each individual voice, so that my students can feel free and passionate making art and learning new media. In my experience presenting various design problems to students from grade one to college, I have observed that critical thinking skills thrive in the art studio even at the earliest levels. I provide a safe studio environment where my students can take creative risks and freely solve artistic problems. In our shared art space, students learn and refine technical and formal skills in an effort to better present their stories.
Elementary and middle school students review and implement the principles and elements of design in such a way that these compositional tools become a natural part of the creative process. Their individuality is beautifully apparent through their mark making and varied compositional styles. I expose students to art history and contemporary art, so that they may begin to see their own work as part of a larger cultural continuum.
For upper school students particularly my photography students technique, design elements, and craftsmanship are at the core of their work. However, the introduction of photographic history and theory, as well as political context, provides a more critical basis in which to create art. This also holds true for my college students who are held to higher standards in terms of craftsmanship, technique, and content, and are therefore expected to create a substantial body of work.
For all my students, I am their art coach, and my primary objective is to validate and encourage their voices. The artists individual voice is at the core of all creative endeavors. I am vigorously open to the suggestions, questions, and creations of students as the give and take that exists in the art studio is exactly the type of engagement that keeps my classroom a vibrant space full of collaboration, growth, and possibility.