Teaching Philosophy

I approach teaching with the idea of ‘goal-oriented play’. Human ‘play’ behaviors, like building sandcastles or in organized games, are similar to art making behaviors. There is no real survival need to make art yet is an integral aspect of being human. In the classroom, I balance playful activities with structure by providing a framework for the creative process. Through setting goals, planning, hard work, risk-taking, and learning from mistakes, students wildly imagine something new into existence. While my assignments are clearly defined, I leave room for revision, spontaneity, and ‘learning by doing’. It is important to me that each student feels supported to test ideas, fail, and try again.

I inspire students to think in three-dimensional terms by examining our nuanced and complex relationships to architectural, social, and environmental space. I ask “what are we making?”, “how are we making?” and “why is it important?”. Materials range from paper and recycled cardboard to wood, plaster, clay, plastics, small metals, found object assemblage, and soft sculpture materials. Digital tools include drawing/collage with photoshop/illustrator and 3D modeling with Fusion 360. I foster deep investigation of the relationship between traditional and emerging technologies.

I am keenly aware and empathetic to the many challenges students face from socio-economic and anxiety issues to fear of failure. On the first day of class, I address each students’ personal goals for the course and discuss strategies for success like time management, an invaluable life-skill for a successful independent artist’s career. I meet students where they are along their individual pathways by refining my teaching through student-centered feedback. At the conclusion of each project I ask, “What have you learned? How can my teaching methodologies improve so that the learning experience is enriched?”

My assignments support the different ways students learn by offering incremental challenges through the creative process. They often begin with creative brainstorming, mind-mapping, drawing, visual research, constructing maquettes, and testing materials before moving on to larger projects. It is demanding yet incredibly rewarding teaching to drastically different levels of exposure to art, comprehension of complex concepts, and technical abilities. I hold myself to a high standard of meeting the challenges through adaptation, flexible strategies, transparency, and patience.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

I believe the classroom is a community and I, as leader of the community, must demonstrate equitable and inclusive leadership. I do this each semester with a “community agreement” wherein students write about their learning experiences and ways to contribute to the classroom community. We create a list of values like “treat others the way you want to be treated, be accountable for the impact of your words and actions, maintain self-care and prepare for each session to avoid feeling stressed and overwhelmed”. During the course, students build agency through written and verbal assessment of the work of their peers as well as their own. Collaborative projects and small group peer feedback sessions to foster flexibility, adaptiveness and meaningful social connections. Students learn the importance of peer relationships, preparedness and self-reliance.

In art historical and contemporary art presentations, I reference the work of women, minorities, and non-western traditions. Marginalized perspectives have been largely missing from art history and I
communicate to students the importance of doing the work we all must do to search for and support marginalized voices. In student-led research projects they explore art historical and contemporary art
with an emphasis on geographical and cultural diversity. A “monument” project assignment requires students to scout a location and design a monument to address their personal, social, cultural, and ecological ideologies. Students connect to the world at large through, observation, research, reflection, sensory experience, and social interaction with an acknowledgment of current debates and contemporary topics.

As an active member of art communities in New York City and the Hudson Valley, I work to provide platforms of visibility for artists. In 2016, I curated “Drawing for Sculpture” at TSA, an artist-run space in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The 40-woman show highlighted work by underrepresented sculptors alongside well-established ones like Louise Bourgeoise and Judith Scott. I run the backyard art space, “White Rock Center for Sculptural Arts” and invite artists to install large outdoor sculpture. We hold a one-day event and welcome a significantly large, local, non-art community. This past spring I founded “Hudson Valley Artist Registry”, a database comprised of artists sustaining a rigorous studio practice with contextual relevance to contemporary social, political, and environmental issues. The registry’s mission is to be a catalyst for connection and discovery between artists and collaborators, curators, and collectors and serve the region by enabling mutually beneficial and empowering interactions. In both teaching and service, I am committed to building communities that reflect diverse identities, practices, and voices in the visual arts.

I will continue my community work by bringing faculty, staff, and students together. I will expand the community by outreach to diverse
populations to ensure the dynamic community continues and grows. I will continue to highlight underrepresented artist and designers. I will make every effort to deepen my understanding of the concerns of students, faculty, and staff who come from diverse backgrounds through professional development and personal reflection and research.