“Should We Protect Arts Education?” in Education Week

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by Clara Lieu

I recently wrote a guest blog post for the Leadership 360 blog in Education Week titled “Should We Protect Art Education?” Thanks to Jill Berkowicz, and Ann Myers for inviting me!

The article talks about my work with students in the RISD undergraduate program and RISD Project Open Door.  Working in such contrasting programs (one a degree program, one a free community outreach program) has led me to believe that the vast majority of the time, art education is a simple matter of access.  In my opinion, it shouldn’t be that way, which is why Art Prof is an important initiative towards equalizing access to high quality arts education.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

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PORTFOLIO VIDEO CRITIQUES
Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories!  More info.


ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.

ART PROF Teaching Assistant: Yves-Olivier Mandereau

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Our ART PROF staff likes to laugh about our initial impressions of each other. Sometimes those first impressions were perfectly accurate, and other times they were totally off.  Yves-Olivier Mandereau, one of the ART PROF Teaching Assistants, was no exception to these extremes. I didn’t know this at the time, but Yves told me later that when he entered my freshman drawing class at RISD back in the fall of 2011, that he was terrified. The majority of his work prior to art school had been in three-dimensional media, and he felt at the time that he really didn’t know a thing about drawing.

Whereas many students would have allowed themselves to be paralyzed by their lack of experience, Yves quickly accepted his limited background in drawing. Despite being out of his element in a drawing class, Yves was extremely tenacious and willing to take on anything. Yves is one of the most determined students I’ve ever had in my classes, he had an iron will and drive that I rarely see in students at that stage in college.

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A group critique in my class from 2011. Yves is on the right,  in the default state of most RISD freshman. Annie Irwin, another ART PROF Teaching Assistant is on the right in the front.


In group critiques, Yves distinguished himself with his candid, honest comments which were articulate and straightforward.  When students enter art school, most of them have very little experience speaking during a group critique, and it can be highly intimidating to talk about your work in front of the entire class. Yves was critical to his class because he helped establish a level of seriousness in our discussions that fostered mutual respect and honesty among his peers.

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Yves’ very first homework drawing he did in my freshman drawing class in 2011


Later, Yves was a TA for my RISD Project Open Door class, and we reconnected again a month before he graduated in 2015. I visited his ceramics studio and was surprised to see him making figurative ceramic sculpture(see below)-nothing remotely like anything he was making when he was in my class. Having a background in figurative sculpture myself, it was so great to see how he eventually found his way towards that path.  The changes and progression over the course of art school are usually quite dramatic.  Five years ago, Yves came into his first art school critique in my class with a drawing of a seed pod. (above) Today, he’s doing an artist residency at Zentrum Fur Keramik in Berlin, Germany.

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“As a kid I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. I think I didn’t know because no one allowed me to consider a career in the arts. In middle school, I always had the most fun in art class, yet art was never really considered a legitimate pursuit like science and athletics.

I was first exposed to ceramics in an “Art 1” class, where I learned watercolor and acrylic painting. I was hooked but didn’t see any way to deepen my exploration. My art teachers let me stay and work during lunch, but I was essentially on my own. I worked on the pottery wheel but was just making lots of little cups because that’s what I knew how to make.

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The summer after my junior year in high school, I attended the Pre-College Program at RISD, a six-week summer art program for high school students. I saved up all the money I could from busing tables and working for a catering company. The program was beyond anything I could have imagined. The intensity and depth of the classes were addictive. When the program ended, I said to myself, “I don’t want this to end.” That’s when I knew I had to pursue visual art seriously.

Having experienced the value of a quality visual art education, I have committed myself to encouraging and helping others pursue their passion. That’s why I’m here, to help other students experience a broader art education independent of school systems where visual arts aren’t supported.”

Visit Yves’ website here. (mature content)

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ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

FB    Youtube    Pinterest     Instagram    Twitter    email    etsy


PORTFOLIO VIDEO CRITIQUES
Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories!  More info.


ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.

When to Stay, and When to Walk Away

Clay Portrait Sculpture

Lately it seems like my patience is being tested in a way it never has been before. Patience doesn’t come naturally to me, and it’s a skill I’m constantly trying to work on.  I always want to keep moving forward, and when the work comes to a standstill,  it can be torturous. I feel like I’m doomed to linger in Purgatory for an undetermined amount of time. I fight a constant dilemma in my head with every single project I work on in terms of when to stay, and when to walk away.

When I’ve worked on a project for a long time, and start to get an itch to move on, I start to obsess over a stream of questions that have no definitive answers.  Am I just being impatient? Am I not giving the work enough time to truly develop and come to full fruition?  Am I cutting off my work flow prematurely? Or would further work on the project just be repetition of what I’ve already done?  Am I wasting my time if I stick around?  What if there’s something amazing that’s just around the corner that I could discover if I stick around for a few more weeks? What if there’s nothing worthwhile in the future, and I’m just beating a dead horse? What point am I at in the project, is this the end?  Or is it really just the beginning? Should I stop thinking so much? Is my thinking paralyzing the project?

I’ve had some projects naturally wrap themselves up in a neat package that feels resolved and complete. At different stages, I can feel confident about where I am in the project.  I know when I’ve got a long way to go, and I can clearly see the finish line slowly emerging as I approach. That was certainly the case with my last body of work, Falling, which I worked on for four years. When I was working on the mezzotint prints, I knew the project would be over when the prints were finished.

Final state     Final State

Other projects can be incredibly rocky, chaotic, with a million unpredictable factors that are up in the air.  I can’t see the finish line at all. I have the choice to keep running, with the frightening thought that the finish line I’m looking for might never materialize.  Or, I can stop while I’m still ahead, with the possibility of either 1) feeling regret later or 2) feeling relieved that I didn’t waste time on a project that was going nowhere.

Sometimes I get so fed up to the point that I force a finish line by stopping and drawing it myself. This time, I’m going to keep running.  I’m going to wait for a finish line to emerge on it’s own time, no matter how long I have to run.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

FB    Youtube    Pinterest     Instagram    Twitter    email    etsy


PORTFOLIO VIDEO CRITIQUES
Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories!  More info.


ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.