art education
Many people believe that art education and art advocacy are about teaching drawing, or learning the color wheel, or making a craft project to take home. Art education is also about a way of seeing, of understanding the world with a lens of crtical thinking, assessment, and using our personal experiences to analyze and understand what is around us.

If you work with a school, museum, or a community group, I can absolutely help you to set up a curriculum and work through ideas and activities to create the best art education experience for your situation. You don't have to be experienced in art! Art has potential for many interdiscplinary connections, and relevance for many different audiences and age groups. Contact me for more information.

My Art Ed philosophy, in a nutshell

Art education can introduce and hone many useful and high-level skills which are useful: observation, analysis, group discussion and learning, sequential thinking, understanding of abstract concepts, and analysis, to name a few. For me, one of the central parts of art education is learning to be a detailed observer, create an experience where one have a community of learners and learn about artwork and artistic processes through discussion and dialogue, and delve into analysis of a work, and find a way that the artwork, artist, or art process is relevant to her/his life. I also do not believe that every art lesson/learning experience has to involve a take-along project.

In my career, I have spent more time working in a museum setting, and it is absolutely true that having an artwork in front of you does make a difference. But, no matter what setting you choose for your art education, it is important to keep some basic goals and ideas in mind:

Keep students engaged
Make artwork more accessible and less foreign
Have students discover information about the work based on their own experiences instead of having it read to them or through text research.
Your focus will come back to questioning methods and process of learning, not facts and memorization.

Many educators have written about asking questions as the central way of learning for any pedagogical interaction. Many of the questions I use for aspects of art education, such as visual culture, are actually pulled from feminist and cultural studies. In museum education, there's also a tie with questioning using the art object as a central point, not relying as much on historical fact and figures, but on the discussion of the group and insights drawn on students' prior knowledge and critical thinking skills. The label, context of resources, and art historical research is important, but it is not the only central point from which the education of the object takes place.

The object-centered, creating-dialogue approach has many advantages:

--Your primary source of information is in front of you
--Validates the viewers' own experiences as part of the learning process, instead of assuming that they know nothing about the artwork.
--Natural segue to further research and interest based on internal curiosity, not on assigned reading without experiencing the work.
--Helps create an independent, self-sufficient learner -- teaching the viewer to fish instead of feeding information.

When, in the future, the student is with an unfamiliar object, s/he will have an experience of using questions to guide themselves through the process, instead of assuming that the work is foreign to them and thus, unreadable. They will also rely on their own experiences to add meaning to an object or artwork.

Does this mean all questions will be answered? Of course not, but it does mean that you will know more based upon your careful observation and experience, and know what questions you would like to answer to understand the art object more.