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Hello

Here you will find a bit about me, my teaching philosophy, artist statement, awards and notable mentions and community outreach initiatives. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me further with any questions you might have!

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My Story

I was born in Hononlulu, Hawaii and grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. Traveling between both worlds, the place I have always felt the most at home is with my art. When I am creating my art and exploring the medium I am working with I am also exploring my own creative understanding of my environments. In high school I studied theatre and art, as the stage manager I liked to be a leader but not be directly in the spotlight. I decided during my undergraduate studies that I really wanted to work with other creative minds and go in to teaching so I finished up my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, focusing in studio art (printmaking) and art history and went on to get my masters degree in secondary education so that I could focus on 9-12 art practices. This is an age that I felt I would have the most influence on their continuing art practices and most impact on their conceptual understanding of the current world and creative processes.

I recently completed the Summer Residency program at the New York Academy of Art and fell back in love with the history of Art and everything that it has become and everything that it can be. I love visiting museums that embrace current and future art trends amongst the history of old. Seeing the change and development alongside what we have been taught as traditional art really brings to light the issue that we as artists are trying to illuminate. Being in a city where art and culture are so present and so accessible is so amazing. Don't get me wrong, I'm a beach girl through and through but a city where I can be amongst so many artists at once gives me so much life. My favorite painting is "The Lovers" 1928 by Rene Magritte, and I finally got to meet this painting in person. I don't know exactly how to describe what it is like meeting your favorite painting, but I could compare it to seeing an old friend and feeling like no time has passed, it was so comforting and exciting at the same time.

Below you can find out more about my artistic practices and my teaching philosophy.

Artist Statement

      As an artist I have worked with a wide variety of mediums but have recently been most inclined to work with acrylic and oil painting. I always love working with water based mediums like India ink and liquid acrylic because I have a certain sense of control but have to let the water take its lead and learn from the material itself as I work. I have shown work in city, state, and national exhibits but my favorite work is that which brings community together over conversation and inclusivity. I strive to help represent other artists in my career not only to my own success but ours as a community.

      In my current exploration of the human figure I explore what it means to identify as a (woman) in our current political turmoil. This is an idea that I have previously explored under my mentor, The Late Wanda Ewing (https://wandaewingartist.com/), and wanted to revisit it as my professional and adult life unfolds. As an artist and art teacher, I understand and apply traditional anatomical representations and painting techniques to each piece before morphing them into their contemporary status quo. Each of these (women) starts as a complete figure study before being melted and morphed into their semi-unrecognizable, fluid states. Leaving identifiable (female) traits such as hair or breasts, feminine curves and colors, the figures remain (female) but their identity is taken away. I strive to reflect on the current representation and expectations of those that identify as (female), what does it mean to be a (woman), and how can (we) be all of the things that are expected of (us), not expected of (us), reflected on (us), taken away from (us), and after all of that, what (we) want to become- Thus, the title, “Into What Do (We) Become.” The figures melt into themselves as well as their shadows, this movement is reflected in the soft feminine colors that move through the background reflecting from the figures in a never ending fluid movement of symbolic transformation and metamorphosis.

      I created that most recent study during my summer residency program at the New York Academy of Art and through this program I learned so very much about my craft and my understanding of the human figure. I learned that I have a lot of work to do and a lot of growing to complete. I plan to dive even deeper into my practices so that I can truly represent the human figure in the light that I understand it and hope to illuminate to others. While the human figure is not the only thing I illustrate in my work, it is something that I believe is so dynamic and universal that it is the main tool that can communicate the complexity of the  human experience and duplicity of existence, real and implied.

Teaching Philosophy

     As an experienced classroom teacher, lead teacher, association president, mixed media artist, photographer, and digital artist, I view art as both a mode of inquiry & understanding and as an outlet of expression. I follow three main objectives in my teaching;

Above all, I strive to see my students engage in active, hands-on learning that allows them to explore, grow, and share, as they continue to gain more confidence in their artmaking and presentation skills. When students invest more of themselves in their work, they often want to talk about it with others.

      Secondly, I believe higher education is about going beyond content mastery. I work hard to create a learning environment that fosters critical thinking and problem solving. All students, in order to become engaged members of society, need to understand not only the facts presented in books and lectures, but the questions they need to ask based on the information they learn. I expect students to become self-directed learners, engaging their natural curiosity about the material presented and taking that curiosity to the next level. I see myself and our work in the classroom as the springboard for their further exploration. To accomplish this, I present information in the most compelling way possible and introduce my students to a wide range of recent philosophical reflections on new media technologies, so that they can comment intelligently on artistic paradigms.

            Thirdly, I seek to foster a collaborative learning environment, where students can learn from one another. I aim to forge a sense of intellectual community so that students can imagine aesthetic possibilities beyond today's existing technologies. As an educator I always strive to create inspiring encounters with art and other individuals that inspire courageous conversations that can be catalysts for a more connected, civic, and empathetic world where people get to see themselves with dignity and each other with empathy, care, and respect. I value the protection of identity and use discretion, honesty, and professionalism while working with all individuals.  In switching roles from public school classroom teacher to a professor of Art and Design Education, I would work to excel beyond the value of open and free exchange of ideas among people of diverse beliefs, cultures, and experiences to stimulate new understandings, expand insights into our shared humanity, and promote social generosity embracing public and civic roles as an important conduit for open sharing and learning. I believe that championing the powerful roles art, artists and teachers can play in our communities, both inside and outside the framework of an institution, as we endeavor to bring attention to issues of social justice through community programming and partnerships that work to amplify the voices of those who have been historically marginalized is one of the most effective and powerful ways to bring a community together and inspire action and impact.

      I have extensive experience teaching a broad range of subjects in a wide variety of settings. As an adjunct assistant professor for Metro Community College, I connect the digital art world to real world applications and give my high school students the opportunity to gain college credits in their work. I have also had the opportunity to teach in the fields of 3D design with laser printing and 3D printing as well as ESL teaching and Special Education technology and art, play based learning. My interest in teaching extends beyond the classroom. I have taken countless courses on representation and inclusion that have opened my eyes to so many ways in which groups of people, cultural, social, or socioeconomical,  are being under represented or not being given the same equity as other groups in ways that we might not even be aware of. I have watched my students and their families struggle through so much and provided any level of support that I could from inside the walls of a public school or our neighboring communities. I strive to work toward that shared vision of multiple communities coming together and really create influential inspiring actions that build buy-in for those that are underserved or underrepresented and might need someone to advocate for them.  Programing that offers fresh eyes on the community as well as offering the opportunity to learn more about your personal spaces and strengths and how to use them to their advantages and for the “greater good” is essential to the growth of education.  Providing equity to all students to create an environment of inclusivity and respect is an essential practice in any profession but one that I promise to uphold in any role.

      In supporting the needs of all learners in an inclusive classroom, while building confidence, creativity, and critical thinking skills I hope to always find and provide my students opportunities to take ownership of their art experiences from conception to completion while acting as classroom manager, environmental designer, art expert, facilitator, and student mentor not only providing answers but encouraging students to ask the important questions, all while creating curriculum more relevant, engaging and exciting. My classroom as art studio, with choice based learning and projects, allows students to grow at their own pace and gives them the opportunity to respond to their own ideas. They can gain a wide range of knowledge and skills while creating deeply personal artwork. As they explore, grow, and share, students will continue to gain more confidence in their artmaking and presentation skills. When students invest more of themselves in their work, they often want to talk about it with others. I am strongly committed to regularly assessing students' growth and understanding of their work and encourage students to consider their role and how they fit in society as well as praising these young creative minds not just for mastery of material but also for critical thinking, effort, curiosity, and creativity. I expect students to take an active role in their learning, asking questions and going beyond the material presented in class. I lead by example, always working to improve my own skills in these areas as an educator. As an instructor, my role is to create and manage an inclusive classroom so that every student feels comfortable to participate in discussion.  I will seek aide, scholarship and fellowship opportunities for minority students in classroom as well as create resources for them to take to their own classrooms or students so that they always have a way to reach out and help anyone who might be under-served or under represented. I will also work to ensure that the team of faculty that I am a part of, are all working together in the JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) mind set. Moving forward in my career, I have come to understand that education is in a place of change and that I hope to work with students who want to make change themselves. The pandemic changed not only HOW we teach but it changed how learners LEARN even more. Young minds demand immediate gratification and it is up to us as teachers and mentors to figure out how to feed that hunger in a creative and most efficient/productive way. I know that this is something that will happen outside of a traditional public school classroom-whether that be in higher education, working with soon to be teachers, or through community engagement and outreach - bringing people together for practical change. I hope to create any kind of change that I can in such productive ways that those around me are inspired to do the same or are inspired to use art as their communication pathway to other communities and groups.

      In conclusion, I believe that academia in any area must strive to expand diversity with a more inclusive approach – welcoming and embracing different socioeconomic, ethnic, gender groups, etc. and create a broader pool of thought processes and worldviews. I will continue to strive for protected and inclusive spaces that foster powerful conversations and change for the future, hold space that promotes an atmosphere of inclusion and enable all students to access the tools they need to be successful in their field.

Awards, Exhibits and Notable Mentions

  • Nebraska Art Educators Exhibit- Fall Conference 2022

  • Omaha Erotic Art Society Group Show- Benson Petshop September 2022

  • Coordinator/Artist for Community Art Portrait, Wanda Ewing Remembered, Wanda Ewing Art Gallery, The Union for Contemporary Art, Omaha, NE – October 2022

  • Selected for Summer Residency, New York Academy of Art July 2022

  • Benson First Friday Artist, various venues and galleries 2018-Present

  • Elected Nebraska Art Teacher Association President Elect for 2022-2024

  • Speaker: (NATA) Nebraska Art Teacher Association Fall Conference 2022

  • Speaker: (NATA) Nebraska Art Teacher Association Fall Conference 2021

  • Speaker: (NATA) Nebraska Art Teacher Association Fall Conference 2020

    • "Digital Age, Digital Word, Digital Art Creating a Digital Art Classroom and Incorporating Technology in a Traditional Setting" 

  • Speaker: (NATA) Nebraska Art Teacher Association Fall Conference 2019

  • NATA Marvin Spomer Novice Art Educator of the Year 2020

  • Speaker: (NAEA) National Art Educators Association Conference Spring 2020

    • “ Inclusivity and Belonging: Creating a Sense of Community with Engaging Arts Practices” 

  • Coordinator for Benson High School’s Literary Magazine “The Carrot”

    • REALM Award of Excellence 2018

    • REALM Merit Award 2019

  • Intern at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts

    • Curator Hesse McGraw

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Contact

I'm always looking for new and exciting opportunities. Let's connect.