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       As an artist and educator, I have found that experimentation with process, ideas, and materials is essential to a successful creative practice. Researching new materials and concepts enables students to problem solve and generate ideas within their work and to produce increasingly refined pieces. Students must learn to imaginatively and effectively arrive at solutions to artistic problems while utilizing and investigating new ideas, tools, and processes. It is essential that students develop a useful knowledge of theory, design, and practice by actively participating in demonstrations, class discussions, and lectures in order to become successful artists.

       Frequently, the journey artists take in creating works of art are fraught with false starts and failed attempts, but encounters with artistic problems deepen an appreciation of process, work ethic, and successes.  Educators should be most concerned with the students’ creative development and experimentation above the final product. As students investigate and overcome difficulties within their work, they gain deep and meaningful knowledge of the subject and materials and arrive at successful solutions to visual problems.

       Students experience the world through different lenses of perception, and these differences should be encouraged and expressed in a constructive and meaningful manner. It is crucial to teach students how to appropriately critique themselves and others. Given that the ability to critique art is one of the most central facets of the art world, discussing art with peers not only enhances the learning process, but it prepares students to be active participants in the arts community. These skills should be reinforced throughout the course of the semester. Peer-to-peer dialogue offers a variety of solutions and approaches to particular artworks. 

      By including a more culturally responsive and inclusive pedagogical approach to higher education, educators can create a more empathetic and respectful learning environment. An educational experience suited to an individual student’s unique interests and needs that explores a variety of cultures and perspectives will be more fulfilling and engaging. As part of this approach it is critical that educators present examples and resources of artists from a range of cultures and diverse backgrounds.

       It is essential to promote creative development and critical thinking within the classroom, and the most effective way for students to learn is by being exposed to various processes, materials, ideas, and culturally diverse perspectives. The art-making process is the most valuable aspect within art itself, regardless of the final product. Ultimately, it is my goal as an artist and educator to inspire the love of learning and the creative process.

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