Serving Art Educators
and Students Since 1994
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Nicole D. Brisco
Pleasant Grove High School,
Philosophy of Art Education
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me" – E. Bombeck
The quote above is what I live my life by; simply it is my philosophy of life and teaching. When I was in college I was asked to write my philosophy. I understood the request to produce an educated response to how I would teach art. I responded by creating a very scholarly paragraph that discussed how art can touch every life, how art gives each student a voice, and how powerful art actually is in our culture. It sounded great, but as a 21 year old who had never stepping foot into my own classroom how could I ever know how teaching would affect my life journey.
Fast forward to today. I have always believed we are given gifts in life and how we respond to these gifts controls our destiny. Art for me is more than a subject, more than an ideology, or a picture in a book. It is truly a life journey. I remember being 5 years old and asked my mom, "What do you want me to draw?" She would always share with me what she envisioned for my paper. I fumbled through my Crayons, thought, and then embarked on my own personal journey, responding to her but always giving it my own artistic twist.
Teaching for me is much like that memory of childhood. I decided early in my career to adopt the simple quote above as my teaching philosophy, surrounding myself with master teachers, taking every opportunity to learn, seeking, creating, and re-evaluating when necessary. This philosophy is what I hope to instill in my students and my peers that I have also found myself blessed to instruct. Take every challenge, turn it into an opportunity to put your stamp on the world, whether it is to create a work of art or develop a master concept for students to explore.
I want my students to see everything and believe the possibility of the impossible. I want them to drive down the road and look at every tree, every branch, and every leaf. Intent to create beauty such as this, careful to pay attention to every detail, how each branch breaks away and creates its own personal journey. Always reaching and seeking that speck of light or knowledge that is always there but must be sought, this is how a beautiful work of art is created and a student is fostered. Intention, cultivation, attentiveness, and purpose, these are the ingredients. It is also how I as a teacher challenge my own creativity as I develop ideas for my students to examine.
It was not long after I learned these ingredients that I felt compelled to challenge myself beyond my classroom. I have always known that art was more than drawing, painting, and sculpting. It is about our human response to the world around us. I deemed this to be my mantra. I want my students to sing their lives through their media of choice. Every work of art has an essential question and that question for my students is the exploration of connections between who they are and how they perceive their world. This is the role I play as a teacher, facilitating and cultivating ideas into works of art that no one else could have made - marks on the world that speak.
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