Middle & Upper School Art
B.F.A., DePaul University
Master of Arts and Art Education, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
My favorite thing is interaction with inquisitive students. Witnessing their creative process broadens my perspective as a teacher and an artist. I learn from their ideas and experience. The interaction with youth makes me aware of generational differences.
How do you inspire students to enjoy learning?
I try to make learning fun and relevant to students’ lives. I encourage inquiry and experimentation, and allow them to take charge of their learning and use their imagination and individual style. The best quality an art student can have is simply a willingness to express himself or herself in visual manner.
What is the most important lesson you want students to learn in your class?
That art is a language. I tell students who might be frustrated with their work that it is a language that is unique to each artist.
What experiences or people had the most influence on you?
My experience an an immigrant. Years ago, my family and I left Poland for two years as refugees in Germany and then came to America. We wanted to provide our young daughter with choices that she would not have in an Eastern European country that was still under Soviet control.
We arrived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, an exotic place where no one spoke Polish, with a suitcase in hand, not much in our pockets and no knowledge of English. I will always remember our first two weeks standing on a chair in our little attic apartment, watching through a tiny window during a heavy rainstorm. It looked like someone was pouring water out of a bucket. We had never seen rain like that!
It has been a long journey since then, but I will always be grateful for the friendship of those who did not speak my language but were eager to help. When we finally moved to Chicago, we spoke English with a mixture of Louisiana and Polish accent and that was another challenging experience.
This move turned out to be an opportunity not only for my daughter by for myself as well. I was able to fulfill my dreams to study art and become an artist and an educator. Now I can say that my life has been an adventure. My experience as an immigrant helped me gain an appreciation for living in a diverse, multicultural environment.
How do you keep current with the subject areas you cover?
I take part in seven professional development sessions per year at the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. I visit all of the new art exhibits at the museums and frequently visit contemporary Chicago galleries. Through reading contemporary art criticism, I keep current with the the new developments in the art world which I then share with my students.
This summer I was part of the team that worked on development of new educational program for the Art Institute of Chicago. I recently participated in a workshop at the Art Institute of Chicago on how to create a lesson that includes “mystery object” from the museum. Also, I am a practicing artist and I am exhibiting my work.
What are some of your interests and hobbies?
Traveling, reading mysteries, and working out.