It is 1984. We are in a studio in a public school in the Lower East Side of Manhattan full of students from mostly first generation Latino and Chinese families, busily constructing sculptures out of found materials, and we are covered with paint. In walks .….Roy Lichtenstein, one of the Board members of the Studio In A School Association, to spend the morning with us. He walks around the studio, smiling quietly, his presence more low key than I was expecting, as I had imagined him to be like his paintings, big and loud. I remember so vividly the joy of the students immersed in their creative activity, the sparkling look in Roy’s eyes, and my deep sense of satisfaction as I savored the moment.
My teaching philosophy grew out of my experience as an Artist in Residence with the Studio In A School, which began in 1981, when I was a graduate student in Painting at Pratt Institute. I developed a sense of myself as an artist who also has a commitment to making that world accessible to others. I have been involved with teaching for my entire career as an artist, and have always believed that my two passions have enriched one another.
As a committed artist and educator for over twenty-five years, I have taught at the college level and in museum settings, urban, suburban and rural school settings as an artist in residence, consultant in arts in education and as a public school art teacher. I have mentored a steady stream of art education students from the University of Massachusetts, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges. I initiated projects and received public funding and community support to carry out artist residencies which resulted in some powerful public works of art.
I seek to offer students artistic challenges that build skills and confidence. I try to strike a balance between formal and thematic exploration, while helping students find their own unique connections to their art. By exposing students to the work of contemporary artists as well as artists from history and from diverse cultural groups, I encourage a dialogue with varied forms of visual expression to analyze how different artists use visual language to communicate their ideas about human events and experiences.
I am passionately engaged in both making and teaching art, and continue to be inspired by the quality of revelation both art and teaching offer, as well as the joy my students bring to the creative process.