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Re: I'd love you to share......

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From: Michelle H. Harrell (michelle_h_harrell_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Apr 30 2002 - 18:06:53 PDT


Jane, I believe there are basically two big reasons that many art teachers
feel so much guilt about not doing their own art. One of the reasons is
that we know how much the personal process of art enriches our art
instruction rather than becoming the dull lifeless shadow of a teacher than
pulls out "canned" art lessons year after year.

The second and I think bigger reason (oh, boy.. I'm going to get heat on
this one) is peer pressure from others in the art education community.
Earlier in this same thread, someone shared a story about receiving middle
school art teacher of the year and commenting in her speech the importance
of every art teacher being an artist. Well I believe every art teacher
should be immersed in the visual arts but it doesn't mean that they should
put out 3-4 solo exhibitions a year.

I was at a party recently chatting with an art teacher friend. Someone
asked what we taught and then asked me what kind of art I did. I explained
that I like to paint. He turned to my friend and asked the same but she
said that she's more of a historian than a studio artist. Handled with
grace. Then I got to thinking how so many careers in art are not strictly
studio oriented- curators, directors, historians- and it's okay that not
every art teacher specializes in a studio concentration. It's NOT that I'm
about to put my paintbrush down. But I'm going to think carefully before I
say that every art teacher should also be a "practicing" artist because it
implies a narrow vision of what the visual arts represent. Visiting
museums, supporting arts organizations, and advocating for the arts will
also enrich our art instruction- just in a different way.

My personal opinion,
Michelle Harrell

Jane asked "Why do we feel shame that when we are not doing our artwork? Do
people who are not artists feel this way? Am I always going to feel this
way? Even when we do work on our own stuff don't we still feel this way
when we are doing something else. I'd love to get over the guilt. "

> I'm ashamed to say I just don't make time for my own work except in the
> summer (and often not even then).
>

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