Friday, October 11, 2013

Daniel Kelin's Improbable Beautiful

 1. How long have you been a teaching artist?
Nigh on 30 years 
2. What discipline(s) do you teach?
3. Describe the setting(s) in which you teach.
In-School, after school, professional theatre, community centers, just about every setting I can 
4. Who shaped your initial thinking about teaching art?
 Very probably my theatre teachers in elementary and high school, but it is hard to pinpoint one person or situation
5. Describe the relationship between your personal art practice and your art teaching?
 A tightly woven rope, as each depneds on the other for strength of purpose and effectiveness. Each has influenced the other to the degree that it is hard to know what was influenced by the other.  Each gives me the opportunity to practice approaches in different settings to gauge effectiveness.
6. How do you sustain your art while teaching?
My art is a part of my teaching so it is sustained by continuing to teach.  I also don't believe that I should be doing 'an' art, but engage in artistic pursuit in various ways and disciplines.
7. What training in the arts and/or education have you had?
My art was college and university, primarily and since then workshops as I can.  Education was initially practice.  There were not many opportunities for training when I first started.  Now it is sustained through conferences, workshops and collegial dialogues.  In addition I lead many trainings and learn through those.
8. What are the biggest challenges you face as a teaching artist?
The fact that in the US there is still the sense that TEACHING art is the bastard child of DOING art.  Stupid, egotistical attitude that cultivates an elitist attitude and makes it harder to rally support for the arts.
9. What are the unexpected rewards of being a teaching artist?
Relationships, renewal of purpose, witnessing the authenticity of response on the part of young children 
10. What advice do you have for other artists interested in teaching?
Reflect, often. Adjust to your setting, don't make the setting fit you. Be prepared to change at any moment and embrace it. There is no 'right' way.  Learn as you do, don't set yourself up as the expert.
Please share one anecdote of a memorable Teaching Artist experience or your favorite resources for lessons.

FAVORITE: Viewpoints, Studio Thinking, Releasing the Imagination 
Please share any upcoming events or shows you are involved in so we can find out more about your personal art practice.

Monday, October 7, 2013

In deep waters...

When I started this blog I was in between my first and second semesters as an MFA student, struggling with my role as a teacher and my desire to just make art. Now heading into my third semester and I have learned much from everyone who has contributed. 

The lesson so far... There is not a division between teaching art and making art. Instead it's about learning to live an artful life. How does my life inform my art and my art inform my life? What am I striving for as a person this earth? How can I express my values, goals, fears and hopes through my work? My work is equally teaching and making art. Sometimes I'm deeply engaged in the classroom and other times I need to withdraw a bit and focus on my studio practice. For a long time I was focused on who I am as a teacher. I fully developed my teacher persona. I started to think I needed to abandon that persona and develop and artist persona. Now I see the folly in that approach. There is no persona - just me. I need to know and be who I am, fully, in order to succeed as a creative person. The journey continues, the lessons are good and deep and sometimes painful but mostly the ride is joyful, improbable and beautiful.

Check out the current work of past contributors:

Ryan Canarro  "this hour forward..." Performance installation i Juneau Alaska

Jill McLennan at Mercury Twenty Gallery, Oakland, CA