A Philosophy of Open minds and Empty… Stomachs?
Through my various roles as an educator I have developed a growing passion for working with our youth in creative, collaborative learning environments. I am a firm believer in the adage “Education’s role is to replace and empty mind with an open mind…”, and instigate this focus in my work with students. Whether in the classroom or the art studio I am a committed energetic facilitator and collaborator, with a hunger for discovery matched by a curiosity for critical investigation. Moreover, my aim as an arts educator is to inspire others to get hungry!
What is creative hunger? It is the need to sow and seed your space with kernels that might bloom into bounty. It is the desire to feed and share “food” with others. It is that burning, rumbling feeling when you don’t know what is next. It is inspiration, desire, passion, and curiosity at once! When we become genuinely hungry for the discovery of something new we open up possibilities for growth, excellence, and most importantly: innovation. Hungry students not only inspire themselves, but infectiously rouse those nearby. Through a range of motions and motivations I seek out opportunities to feed the creative appetite of the student…and I become hungry through this process. Within this holistic approach a synergy occurs, which I see as a fundamental momentum of arts education.
When we are hungry, a range of possibilities arises for us as creative individuals. Our instinct to ”survive” might engage. For some, the need to feed can be out of control. For others, starvation becomes a reality. It can be a dog-eat-dog world out there. As an educating artist it is necessary to demonstrate an ability to mentor with versatility in this phase: leading by example is an absolute. Exercising discipline is crucial. Operating with curious awareness is essential. One must demonstrate the ability to feed oneself as well as others. Here, the student can learn to allow their hunger to co-exist alongside others. We can feed with and from one another. This is a delicate space that demands certain sensitivities, patience, and tolerance on behalf of all.
Beyond this instigation, part of my role as an arts educator is to help others identify their hunger- their creative drives and strengths- and unleash them within various avenues. A degree of control must be exercised. Here a student can be challenged to identify and push their own boundaries, augmenting a critical awareness of their unique artistic strengths within a broader scope of history, culture and society. Medium, technique, and mastery become opportunities to feed from at this point.
An artist’s hunger doesn’t always end once we’ve had our feed, and it shouldn’t! This is why I seek to teach: to facilitate and demonstrate this… for I am hungry!