Monday, November 28, 2011


When I entered into the teaching profession I thought I had come up with a concise and comprehensive philosophy concerning the teaching of skills and attitudes to young people. After several years of first hand art teaching experience with teenagers, while most of my basic tenets have remained the same, a whole new realm of ideas and questions have formed. These insights took on their clearest form in hind sight, after leaving my teaching position in order to pursue a more art centered career. My questions deal mainly with the unexpected lessons that can result from the most carefully laid plan. 

Clearly, theory and practice are two completely different things. With the latter, no matter what your discipline, you have your primary "medium" to work with, that being people, and, in my case, adolescents far away from home. While teaching, I tried to remain as open as possible to the desires of the students while compromising as little as possible my course objectives, or what I saw as the desired outcome (concepts, skills, and attitudes) of a given activity. I found this to be a constant challenge. How does a teacher maintain a balance between the realm of divergent thought, where there are no right or wrong answers, and the world of straight forward mastery and imitation of fundamental skills and/or facts? How willing should the instructor be to allow students to run into roadblocks on their own, forcing them to grapple with the frustration of the perceived failure? How much value should be placed on learning by trial and error? What is the meaning of success? Is it in the process or the finished piece? Should the teacher see it as her job to foresee all the stumbling blocks by designing assignments along with prescriptions for the attainment of the desired product likeness and accompanying attitude? It seems that the teacher's human relations skills and ability to be flexible are just as important as his/her proficiency in the given field. Likewise, the student's personal perception of a given circumstance, whether accurate or projected, is the key to his/her ability to absorb the information the teacher wishes to convey, no matter how enlightened that information may be. As Rama Krishna stated "If you try to open a nut when the shell is still green, it is almost impossible, but when it is ripe, just tap it and it falls open". To what extent should the teacher try to meet the student on his/her level, given the long term learning objectives of the assignment as well as time and space constraints and other classroom logistics?

I feel very strongly that the ultimate goal of education should be one of personal empowerment (This was a major part of my original philosophy upon graduating from the art education department at Kutztown University). I believe it is the teacher's responsibility to help students evolve and grow by showing them ways to go about acquiring the information they need as individuals and by inspiring them to participate fully in their own intellectual and creative development. In other words, what students need most is to learn how to learn. By helping to stimulate students' awareness and sensitivity to the natural and social environment, I would hope to encourage them to trust their own experiences and perceptions. Through this I would convey a message of self reliance in terms of one's own inner source of creativity and ability to solve problems in art and in life. With each project or level I would strive to develop ways for the maximum amount of "non structure", divergence, or freedom of expression to exist within the framework of a clear structure, or set of limitations that are simple, yet purposeful. 

If art is a means of communication then creative vision without technical mastery is ineffective in the long run. Therefore, it is equally important for students to attain concrete technical skills in order to be able to effectively represent their ideas and concepts. These skills should be taught directly (demonstrated) and practiced within the context of interesting and appropriate assignments. I believe that concepts or approaches should be taught contextually when possible, meaning that even basic exercises should be made into an opportunity to create a unified work of art. 
Art history and criticism are valuable tools for putting information and approaches into perspective. By taking initiative to actively (openly and honestly) participate in the critiquing process with clearly defined but simple criteria, students can learn how to assess their own and others' development more objectively and how to support their views with reasons. Once students are introduced to the basic principles and elements of a work of art and asked to speak explicitly about what they experience on a visceral level, they begin to view their own work and process with a more critical eye. Observing works of art from the present and past can serve to enhance one's own understanding of the role of artists in society and the relationship of an individual artist's or student's vision to that of other artists. It is important for students to know that there is almost always someone out there who is working in a similar manner or with similar concepts, and the lives and works of these people can be viewed as artistic "allies" to be learned from.
My present teaching philosophy takes on the form of an experiment in classroom dynamics that I would put into effect with the idea that change and growth and the unknown are all integral and important variables in teaching and in learning. The teachers who had the most lasting positive effects on my growth as a young artist were the ones who facilitated and supported my path, and did not try to over direct or pretend that they had all the answers for me. To teach is to learn, and, simply put, I believe that to inspire creates a more lasting impression. Theoretically, this would not denote a compromise in terms of my expectations for rigorous dedication to ones creative vision, conscientious acquisition of skills, and personal responsibility. 

Printable Artist's Background and Teaching Statement

2009 ENVIRONMENTAL MURAL PAINTING, Immaculata Catholic School, Durham, NC

Detail Shots:

2009 ARTICLE, Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan, “Artistically Sharing Love of God’s Creation”, The Herald-Sun, Durham, NC, January 17

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Teaching Resume

109 Hilton Ave. Apt. 3
Durham, NC 27707
(984) 234-1407

BIRTH DATE & PLACE: 1962, Philadelphia, PA

2012 NC State University, Raleigh, NC
Fibers & New Media

1993 Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA
Specialty; Multicultural Teaching Strategies

1988 Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Major; Painting

1984-86 Parsons School of Design at the American College, Paris, France.
Fine Art

1982-83 Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA
Foundation Art & Design

1983 University of Grenoble, Grenoble, France.
Intensive French Language

1983 City of Grenoble, Ecole Des Beaux Arts
Figure/Life Drawing

1981-82 The Central Institute of Fine Arts Senior Middle School, Beijing, China.
Gongbi and Xieyi Painting

1981-82 Beijing University, Beijing, China
Chinese Language and Literature

2017 VISITING ARTIST, Creative Concepts Design Workshop/Residency, The Glucksman Gallery, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

2017 VISITING ARTIST, “Drawing on the Dreamtime- A Transformative Experience” Workshop, Southern Dreaming Regional Conference, International Association for the Study of Dreams, Greenville, SC

2015 VISITING ARTIST, Digital Hybrid Art Workshop, Art Department, University of Colorado at Fort Collins, CO

2015 ARTIST IN RESIDENCE, Experimental Printmaking & Digital Hybrid Art, Printmaking Department, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China

2014-Present INSTRUCTOR, DIGITAL MEDIA & DESIGN, School for Creative Studies, Durham, NC

2012-2014 ADJUNCT PROFESSOR in GRAPHIC DESIGN (Color Theory, Design Fundamentals, Perspective Drawing & Observational Drawing), Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham, Durham, NC

2014 VISITING ARTIST, "Picturing Your Potential" Workshop, The River Roots Arts Guild 2ndAnnual Arts Showcase (in conjunction with The 4th Annual River People Music and Culture Fest), Chavis Center, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, NC

2014 VISITING ARTIST, Mixed Media Fiber Workshop, in conjunction with “THE AWAKENING SERIES: A SOUTHEASTERN ODYSSEY”, Kirby Gallery, Roxboro Community College, Roxboro, NC

2013 VISITING ARTIST, Mixed Media Fiber Workshop, in conjunction with “NATIVE VOICES & IDENTITY NARRATIVES”, A.D. Gallery of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, NC

2013 VISITING ARTIST, Woman Sacred Traditional Dressmaking Workshop, in conjunction with “THE AWAKENING: OUT OF THE DARKNESS”, The Museum of the Native American Resource Center, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, NC

2012 ART CAMP INSTRUCTOR, Carolina Friends School Summer Program, Durham, NC
*Designed and taught programs entitled “Mask Creators” and “Reptiles & Dragons: 2D & 3D” to children ages 8-11.

2011 ART CAMP INSTRUCTOR, Carolina Friends School Summer Program, Durham, NC
*Designed and taught programs entitled “Creative Mask Making”, “Reptiles, Monsters & Mythical Creatures” and “Art Prints” to children ages 8-11.

2009-2011 TEACHING ASSISTANT, College of Design, NC State University, Raleigh, NC
*Held teaching assistantships for courses “Color & Light”, “First Year Experience” and “Design, Culture and Context”

2008 BACKSTAGE ARTIST IN RESIDENCE, Immaculata Catholic School, Durham, NC
*Taught six art workshops to produce painted animal and plant related collaborative student art works for the annual “Back Stage at the Emily K” fund raiser and art auction.

2008 ARTIST IN RESIDENCE, NCSU Annual Pow Wow, Multicultural Student Affairs, NC State University, Raleigh, NC
*Conducted historical / cultural research and writing, created historical / cultural exhibit displays and solo art exhibit.

2007 ART CAMP INSTRUCTOR, DAC Summer Arts Camp, The Durham Arts Council School, Durham, NC
*Taught summer art camp entitled “Collaged Concerns: Ecology in Art”.

2006 “CULTURAL CONFIGURATIONS” FOUR PANEL MIXED MEDIA SEESAW YOUTH MURAL PROJECT, for the Triangle Community Foundation, American Tobacco Historic District, Durham, NC
*Three month residency included researching the culture and history of Durham, Orange, Wake and Chatham counties, teaching mixed media collage and designing and constructing pine and plywood back drops for large geometric multi-collage murals.

2006 LEAD ARTIST for SEESAW STUDIO SUMMER MIXED MEDIA RESIDENCIES, Seesaw Studio Design & Business Program, Durham, NC
*Taught three week-long mixed media collage workshops to high school aged children.

2006 “DREAM, DO, ACHIEVE” COLLABORATIVE YOUTH MURAL PROJECT, for the Emily Krzyzewski Family Life Center(lobby), Durham, NC
*Three month teaching residency included designing and constructing 6x10 pine and plywood support grid with lauan inlay which became the back drop for a 13 paneled mixed media collage mural for at risk youth.

*Planned and facilitated an integrated arts activity for the IBM Enterprise Learning Education Kickoff program on leadership styles, team work and business goals.

2005 C.A.P.S. RESIDENCY at LAKEVIEW (alternative high school), Durham Arts Council, Durham, NC
*Developed and taught “Art for Life” curriculum to court ordered youth by creating cultural connections and focusing on holistic (contextual) learning solutions.

2004-2005 C.A.P.S. PROGRAM ARTIST IN RESIDENCE, Durham Arts Council, Durham, NC
*Designed and taught middle school art residencies entitled “Collaged Concerns: Ecology in Art”.

2001-2003 ART CAMP INSTRUCTOR, Carolina Friends School Summer Program, Durham, NC
*Designed and taught programs entitled “Crafts New Groove”, “Animal Art” and “Art Prints” to children ages 8-13.

2002 CHINESE BRUSH PAINTING WORKSHOP, A Southern Season, award winning source for goumet foods, Chapel Hill, NC

1998, 2002 CULTURAL ARTS CONSULTANT, Phoenix Academy (alternative high school), Chapel Hill-Carrboro School District, Chapel Hill, NC
*Developed and taught “Art for Life” curriculum to disadvantaged and at risk youth by creating cultural connections and focusing on holistic (contextual) learning solutions.

1998 ART INSTRUCTOR, East Chapel Hill High School, Chapel Hill-Carrboro School District, Chapel Hill, NC
*Taught four sections of painting, drawing, and design.

1998 ART CAMP INSTRUCTOR, “Arts Encounter” Summer Arts Intensives, The Durham Arts Council School, Durham, NC
*Taught summer art courses entitled “Drawing Dynamics” and “Basic Drawing and Painting”.

1998 DRAWING INSTRUCTOR, Art School at the Art Center, Carrboro, NC
*Designed and taught adult class entitled “Creative Drawing Concepts”.

1993-97 PAINTING & DRAWING INSTRUCTOR, George School, Newtown, PA
*Developed curriculum and taught three levels of high school painting, drawing, sculpture, and printmaking. Courses included AP and International Baccalaureate Art and Design. Held dorm parent position for one school year. Supervised the school gallery for two consecutive years.

1988-89 K.A.V.A.D. (Kids Against Violence & Drugs) PARTICIPANT, Philadelphia, PA
*Volunteered time to African American youth group. Activities included drawing, furniture painting, carpentry, basketball, neighborhood clean up, and various educational excursions.

1982-83 SUMMER CAMP COUNSELOR, Sight Point Camp, Nova Scotia, Canada
*Led activities including painting, camping, fishing, daily chores, farm work, folk dance and sports.