Art Education Should See Itself as Promoting
(a) An adequate level of insight into the nature of aesthetic experience.
(b) The ability to recognize aesthetic qualities in a wide variety of visual experiences.
(c) The knowledge and skills to use some aesthetic encounters as ways to understand the workings of the economic, political, and social world and how that world can be bettered.
Five Faces of Art Education
1. The Magician
2. The Mechanics
3. The Merchants
4. The Muckrakers
5. The Mosaicist
Lanier's ideas were far ahead of his time. Four of his main ideas: developing self-identity, aesthetics, social change, and morality fall within my own teaching philosophy. I share a passion with Lanier towards shaping the future of art education. Modern technology has enabled several of his ideas outlined in red to manifest. Social media and the global Internet have led to widespread sharing of ideas, within an image-centered culture. Breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence and machine learning have allowed for DeepDream, Ezimba, and other computer-based image generators.
Societal changes and technological advancements have allowed for visual culture to be used to promote equality and peace. As an educator, I aspire to change the status quo and look towards the future for insight into how to shape the present moment. We are on the cusp of major breakthroughs in the next evolution of visual images, virtual, augmented, and mixed reality.
Teaching for Artistic Behavior
I have always been fascinated with the interworking of life. From a young age, I would take apart clocks, radios, and computers to learn about how the different parts worked together. In grade school, I was often seen building castles and cities out of wooden blocks. My curiosity about “How” and “Why” only grew as I got older. When I was five years old, I was enrolled in the cub scouts and followed through to become a boy-scout. Thirteen years of camping, hiking, and cultivating survival skills had left me with a deep appreciation of nature and reverence for our place within the earth’s ecosystem. One of the many requirements to earn the rank of Eagle, are different merit badges, or hands-on classes in a specific area, The Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge, was one such requirement. Part of the badge was to volunteer within your local community. Upon exploring volunteer opportunities, I came across the “Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum”.
I began volunteering at the museum and saw first-hand how to execute a successful and engaging lesson, how to lesson plan and prepare materials, and how different programs fit together to create a cohesive educational program. After volunteering for about two years, I was offered a position assisting museum educators with their lessons. It was from this experience that I fell in love with education. I saw how practical and hands-on learning can inspire and cultivate knowledge.
At the same time as part of the NYS Regents Diploma, I was enrolled in a Studio Art class at my High School. My family has several artists and creatives sprinkled throughout the generations, the latest of which was my Maternal Grandfather. I started ninth grade with little drawing abilities and limited aesthetic knowledge. After continuing with the Art program, the following three years of my high school career, I was able to develop my style and explore my perspective through imagery. Aside from four years of art class, I also did several “independent studies” with my AP Art teacher, Ms. Bazik. It was from this independent study I was able to further develop my work, while also observing my teacher, lead her other classes in artistic endeavors. My interest in education was cemented with my love of artwork before I graduated High School.
Just before graduating High School, I completed my Eagle Project for the Whaling Museum. My project involved collecting tens of thousands of bottles, cans, and other deposit recyclables to raise thousands of dollars to pay for lumber. With this lumber, and the help of Troop 689 I led the construction of an “education hub” that would house educational materials, a model ship, storage, and an overhead projector. Another part of my project was a collection drive that gathered toys, games, and books to add to the arsenal of teaching tools at the Museum. At the time I would discuss my eagle project as a “community build and donation drive”, now I view it as a Giant community Art project, from cutting the lumber to staining the wood, to construction, the element of creation and community building has always been there.
After “the early years” I began my journey towards earning my BFA. In the process, I earned as Associate of Arts in Art Studies from my local community college. It was at Nassau Community College I gained an introduction to printmaking, and more specifically intaglio prints. After spending a short time earning my associate degree, I transferred to Adelphi University, in Garden City to continue my education. Through generous scholarships and partnerships, new and exciting opportune were made available to me. One of the most influential moments of my education was the opportunity to study abroad and facilitate artmaking in Kosovo. The ability for art and artmaking to not only transcend linguistic and cultural barriers was made apparent to me during my time in Kosovo. In 2018 I joined the community collective, ArtsAction Group. An international community-based collective of arts educators, art therapists, artist-teachers, and educators committed to facilitating arts and education initiatives with children and youth in conflict-affected environments.
Twenty-Nineteen was perhaps the busiest year for me, so far. The year began with my juggling student teaching with cultivating a body of artwork. My undergraduate degree was a BFA with a specialization in K-12 Art Education. In May of 2019, I presented my BFA Thesis and showcased artwork in the annual BFA show. My research centered around how intentionality and consciousness can affect the art-making process when using a living medium such as water. In other words, how consciousness and state of mind can affect choices within the art-making process. Additionally, how to capture ink floating on the surface of bodies of water.
Later that year I finalized the paperwork for my initial teaching certification and began working for Adelphi University through their Liberty Partnership Program and CSTEP program. I have enjoyed teaching middle and high school students through STEAM-based workshops for the past three years. I am currently enrolled at the University of Florida perusing a Master’s in Art Education so I can further explore the field of art education, learn new methods of teaching, and earn my permanent teaching certification.