Art and music have always been my oxygen. They sustain me, stimulate my imagination, and give me great fulfillment and personal satisfaction. Studying art and art history at a very intense, demanding, and exciting art institute allowed me to sharpen my skills and deepen my commitment to a wide array of creative pursuits. My twenty years at Palmer Trinity have given me countless opportunities to share my passion and expertise with young budding artists. I see myself as a link in a noble, lustrous chain of teachers and students, learning from, guiding, and challenging each other. In my one-on-one interactions with students at the potter’s wheel or in the woodworking shop, we are co-creators, marveling over the endless field of creative possibilities that lie before us. When I sense the special spark of excitement or hear the proverbial “Aha” from a student, I know that the magic has worked, and that the life-affirming spirit of creativity has been shared. That’s what I live for. My high school teachers and college professors gave me countless precious gifts. Now, I have the deep privilege of sharing them with our students. This, my daily work, is my greatest pleasure.
I’ve always believed that a person’s job here on Earth is to figure out what they are good at and put it to use in the pursuit of helping others. In the Art Department at Palmer Trinity, I truly feel as though I am able to do that. There are few things more satisfying to me as an art teacher than when I hear a student exclaim “I can’t believe I made this!” After helping students gradually build up skill with a variety of techniques until they are producing work at a stunningly sophisticated level, I love to see students surprise themselves with their beautiful output. Nowhere is this more true than in the AP Studio Art course, where students who are seriously dedicated to artistic self-expression commit to a rigorous series of creative challenges. It is my pleasure to help guide my students through the world of self-expression and my privilege as the department chair to create a visual arts program so strong and enriching that it will be to the benefit of the entire school community and draw potential students here to PTS!
There is a German saying, “Angst Essen Seele auf”, that translates to mean, “fear eats the soul”. It is important to know that everyone can make art but the biggest obstacle to doing so is fear. The art teacher provides boundaries so that the element of fear can be removed. Boundaries can inspire our curiosity. Art is one of the few places in a student’s structured day when they can safely experiment with taking risks, making odd choices, and develop thinking in original ways. In the art studio experimentation is a means, and failure is courted while searching for the unique voice. Techniques, limiting parameters of an assignment, insights from research and our history, etc…are brought together in support of artistic exploration.
Art can be taught. You do not have to be born good at it. (That is why we have art teachers!) Another saying, a Spanish proverb, is “a life lived in fear is a life half lived”. Art is the place to round out the lives of our students. It is the place for them to stretch to their fullest potential in the realm of decision-making and discovery. As an art teacher I strive to make my assignments relevant to the student’s lives. Each class is structured to exercise skills and establish a safe place for leaps of faith. I believe that, in taking those leaps, the student sees who they are, who they might become, who they do not want to be, and in the process, they find their soul.
As an art educator it is my goal to motivate art students into art innovators. Together we create an art culture, sustained through independent thinking and intrinsic drive to gain further knowledge. Students use their own experiences and insights to create art. My art studio requires the students to work collaboratively with one another to problem solve together. As a whole they gain confidence and take risks developing ideas in the arts. Self-sufficient learning begins to develop their innovative capabilities in the arts. I provide my students with the structure that allows them to feel comfortable being creative. I provide for them a chance to explore their voice, develop a sense of connection and identity.
My studio is based on inquiry-based learning, constantly pushing my students to think, use their voice as insights and aspirations for more art work. If a student has a passion or a reason to believe in they can endure a lot. I want to develop passion and purpose for their creative pursuits which can help them find success in life. I seek to learn from my students and establish a creative relationship, based on a deep sense of respect for one another. Together we create a learning environment that is hands on, collaborative and interdisciplinary.
I am passionate about teaching art to children not only because it gives me joy and satisfaction but also because it helps create meaningful dialogue between all of us. I spent five years of my childhood in India. Upon my return, when language barriers limited the amount and depth of communication I had with peers and teachers, I found myself drawn to creating art. I was lucky to have an inspiring, encouraging art teacher who helped me to express my own ideas, and share my personality. Art challenges us, stimulates our creativity, pushes us forward and helps us discover each other’s unique experiences, thoughts, practices and lives. Each day, as I stand in front of my students, I realize how lucky I am to be given the opportunity to share my passion for art with them. I have the opportunity to make the same impact in their lives as my elementary school art teacher had on me. As a teacher of mostly the younger middle school students at Palmer Trinity School, I understand that it is especially important to keep the students’ imaginations alive and to encourage them to think outside of the box, as that is the age that students can lose interest without a curriculum that helps spark their creativity. In art, I work to create a space for students to be themselves, embrace their diverse backgrounds, social experiences, and interests, and most importantly, share with and teach one another.