Re: question

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Elizabeth J Garber (egarber)
Sun, 24 Aug 1997 20:33:27 -0700 (MST)

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Your questions about the importance of college teachers being practicing
artists or trained teachers are good--and perennial. As someone who
brings to teaching several years as a professional artist (yes, scraping
by for a living) and who holds an MFA, I am convinced
experience in both areas is preferable. That is, an artist understands
ways of making art, dedication, materials, the development of concept and
idea using materials--in ways that others do not. This does not mean that
the artist communicates well with people outside of his or her art, or
that he or she has "good people skills." An art educator is (with proper
training) exposed to methods of teaching and communicating about art.
I have worked with people who believe that they can train any good artist
to be a good teacher. I'd like to believe this, but I don't, because some
artists are too solitary, others too wrapped up in their work, others
wrapped in
themselves or in another lifestyle.

This brings me to the conviction that people who teach art must have a
strong background in the arts AND understand communicating about art
making and art to others. They must be able to devise methods, to motivate
people, to help them grow and become self-empowered.

These are my hunches, even beliefs, after teaching and practicing art and
art education. Your idea for more systematic study is good. Please let me
know if I can help.

Elizabeth Garber
University of Arizona

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