The role of the fine arts instructor is to teach students the skills necessary to become the artists and designers of the future while preparing them for the rigors of academia and professionalism. Students attending community colleges often need additional mentoring to successfully transfer to a four-year academic program, or the workforce. As an educator, I strive to empower students to express their ideas in two, three, and four-dimensions while also providing them with support and opportunity to become stronger students overall. This process is dependent on obtaining technical skills, learning multiple strategies for ideation, and recognizing the personal lens that each student views his/her culture and experiences through.
Fine Art students are introduced to artists both historic and contemporary who are selected with a sensitivity to the inclusion of minority artists. This provides students with a greater understanding of how art is valued and perceived and inspires risk taking and experimentation. It further empowers minority students to believe in the potential of their own success.
Utilizing assignments that exposes them to a variety of styles, artists, media and techniques exposes students to a wide range of intellectual and process-oriented strategies. Non-traditional media is introduced to encourage students to further consider the effects of content, context, process and media on the creation of meaning. During the creative process class brainstorming sessions and one-on-one discussions that emphasize intent, form, and content allows the student to evaluate meaning and effect of the work.
Critique is another essential factor in learning and has the most impact when remarks are honest and framed in a respectful manner. Student led critiques provide an unfiltered assessment and allow the maker to understand how the work is seen and understood. As facilitator of these interchanges I remain positive and encouraging and ask questions of both peers and makers to spark dialogue and critical analysis. This discourse fosters a sense of community enabling confidence, experimentation, and risk-taking.
Writing is also an important tool in creative processes and self-assessment. As students get more comfortable with media and tools, project proposals and statements are introduced. Allowing the student to hone their writing skills while thinking through projects and the results of visual problem solving. Through sharing exhibition, work, and scholarship opportunities and mentoring them through the application process they gain experience and knowledge which will assist them in their professional growth.
I believe that creating a sense of community is essential in the classroom and in the workplace to achieve positive growth. Workshops with local artists, attendance of artist talks, and offering my students real world art experiences helps foster community.