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Lesson Plans

Re: Artists and Art Teachers

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Alix E. Peshette (apeshet)
Tue, 12 Aug 1997 22:16:52 +0000

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> Date: Wed, 13 Aug 1997 09:03:11 +0000
> From: Bob Greaves <>
> Subject: reply to the question!
> To: RWilk85411
> Cc: artsednet
> Organization: Monash University, Peninsula Campus
> Priority: normal

I would like to build upon Bob's comments about exhibiting artists and
practicing artists. I say this from the experience of being an
exhibiting artist for over 30 years and an arts educator for 24
years. IMHO, being an artist is about process! Whether one sells,
exhibits or just does art at home, never to be seen by anyone else,
it's art! Because it completes something within the artist. I like
to use the analogy of sports. How many people love to play sports,
because it makes them feel good? How many of those people have
serious thoughts about making a living by playing sports? If they
aren't making a living at it or playing in exhibition sports, does
that make them any less an athlete?

In my life, I have had the luxury (an oxymoron consider the
starvation level) of being a full-time producing, exhibiting artist.
Making a living at it meant doing acceptable imagery, in a size that
fit over the couch and matched the draperies. The choice I came down
to was to either be true to my artistic vision or make a living at it. I
decided to get a day job that I could love (teaching art) and give
myself the luxury of making the kind of art that completed me. It is
still a struggle to find the energy to make art during the school
year. I tend to do my body of art during the summer.

As to whether an art teacher has to be a practicing artist to have
validity, NO. Art is a way of seeing the world. It
doesn't necessarily have to be manifest on any tangible level,
it only needs to make the artist feel complete. Teaching art is about
showing students how to see their world in a different way. Are we going
to say to our students that if they are not producing and selling art as adults,
that they can't say they are artists?

Just my 2 cents worth...

-Alix Peshette
> ( In your opinion should art teachers be practicing artists? Yes or no?
> Why or why not?)
> Depends upon what is meant by "Practicing" Being an artists does not
> mean one has to exhibit or sell works. Being an artist is
> participating in the arts. The question is then probably is the art
> "Good" in the terms of public acclaim or is it mediocre. I know
> people who claim to be artists and produce work for public viewing but
> the standard is appalling and then there are those who produce
> brilliant work purely for self satisfaction.(and visa vesa.)
> Bob Greaves.

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