Thursday, March 21, 2013

An Open Letter To My Fellow Arts Educators

I'll be working for at least two summer camps in 2013. I don't do this because I have to do it. I do this because I need to do it. I have learned that art-making with children revitalizes an artist like nothing else. It test your mettle both as a person and as an artist.

Some children will follow everything you say in your classes to the letter and come out with a very smart project. Others will defy you and your instructions, and still manage to come out with a very smart project. The difference? The latter outcome gives YOU as an instructor much more than the former. When a young artist questions your techniques or makes changes for changes sake, you can either punish them, or allow them the freedom which you had when you first created the project. This does not mean letting them go completely willy nilly. I'm not talking about behavior here, but process. What's wrong with them painting something you never intended to be painted; or gluing on buttons, or using the orange rather than the blue thread. You have to think and to ask yourself--"Does it really matter?" If it truly does not, then allow for some artistic rebellion. Art is a personal thing, even to a student and an arts educator has leverage few other teachers have: The gift of discernment. One and one can equal two to two thousand in art. Art is subjective; so stop drinking your own Koolaid. Sometimes, as an arts educator, you have to let go...and let art happen.

One of my classes, "Fashion Cents" is at the Irma Freeman Center from June 17-21 from 3 pm to 6 pm.
For more IF camp info click here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Branching Out

My installation "Free Forms"  created with found objects is currently at the Feminine Aesthetics exhibition, curated by Elizabeth Ashe Douglas at 709 Gallery, downtown Pittsburgh through March 31, 2013. The wire breast piece is part of  antique dress mannequin that was almost lost to me when it was lifted (by accident?) by my landlord and her janitors, who had decided to help me "clean up" my studio; the wonderful dried palm skeleton was found on the streets of Miami after a storm while I was vacationing. I dug the wooden barn blocks from the earth at a salvage site in Pennsylvania. My intentions: create a bond between disproportionate matter while channeling Asian experiences. Above, a page from the exhibit's catalog. For one review of the work, click here.

Friday, March 8, 2013

U-prep Creates a "Home" Quilt

The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts speaks to the city through it many art projects and programs that allow for local talent to work in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, City parks, and other educational institutions, who utilize their teaching artist program. I have been fortunate enough this fall and winter to be placed at U-prep (formerly Margret Milliones) Middle School where students are creating a fiber project which will one day hang at a community institution in their neighborhood. Meanwhile the students learn about  their communities historic places, the joys of quietude, pre-planning and a life skill that could one day save a pair of pants :-

The quilt will be featured at the Geek Art Green Innovator's festival on April 5th from 6 pm to 9 pm with guests Knit the Bridge @ ARTica Gallery 5110 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15224.