If you have ever had a really good art class, whether in school or a workshop, you probably retained some real gems of wisdom from the instructor. These may be specific things that were emphasized, or their overall teaching philosophy. These positive ideas and words have the power to shape our studio practices for our entire creative lives. We reached out to some art instructors, all friends of the Messy Studio Podcast, to ask them to share their insights and approaches to teaching, as well as how they motivate and inspire students to find their own direction.
Teaching art is a work in progress, and most instructors see their messages evolve over time to be more supportive of students, as well as more challenging. The best art instructors have years of experience, and know what it takes to find a meaningful path because they have traveled that path themselves. Other instructors,however, have only enough experience to come up with something that works, and they teach in a formulaic way. They know what is true for them, but not how to help others find their own way.
Meaningful art comes from personal experience. Teaching individuals involves guiding them to draw from their own well of resources, and requires the instructor to understand approaches other than their own. Students do need basic nuts and bolts information. However, they also need a wider context that goes beyond a one-size-fits-all teaching style.
We asked several friends, colleagues, and former guests about their teaching approaches and advice and invite listeners to recall words of wisdom from their own art instructors.