I have taught people of all ages across the Chicagoland area and beyond for over 15 years! I offer many workshops, classes and individual Art Mentoring through my company, Creative Courage Art. Please click here to learn more!
My vision as a Teacher is to use art to inspire and empower my students to courageously seek, imagine and create meaningful lives for themselves and to transform the world around them. I want my students to know that who they are and what they do matters to me and to others so that they can value themselves and grow with integrity and purpose.
To inspire, I take the necessary time to connect with my students, connect my students with the lessons and to guide my students in connecting with their inner selves. I use a variety of creative methods in my classroom including stories, poetry, quotes, songs, movie clips and theater games to engage their whole being with the big questions that guide the work. Nurturing this requires being open to where students are connecting to the concepts and having the ability and creativity to make adjustments to projects in the moment. I believe in thorough preparation, but I see my lessons as living documents that always change to suit the needs of those I teach. Being in this process with students provides ample opportunities to build connection between us as it demonstrates that their feelings, thoughts and experiences are important to me and to the class.
I strive to make my art classroom a place where students can also learn how to connect to their inner world of imagination and intuition. It becomes increasingly imperative to cultivate this space aside from the busy noise of everyday life. I see the warm-up activities as tools to teach them how to hear their inner voice and tap into their innate creativity and I challenge them to dig deeper than their initial ideas to exercise the often underused imagination muscle.
Empowering students is about providing them with the tools they can use to take action in the world. In art, this often translates to teaching about the techniques and materials necessary for the creation of art that expresses their voice and captures their vision. The exploration of concepts is the central focus, therefore, the techniques and materials are planned accordingly.
I also empower my students through the implementation of Small Groups Dynamics and Processes which allows them to feel ownership over their learning experiences. The teaching of leadership roles, positive and negative norms, healthy conflict resolution and effective communication build cohesion in the classroom as well as teaching positive skills that will enrich their lives. As they become aware of the positive and negative roles and norms, they can also see concrete paths for change and growth.
When a young person is inspired and empowered, his or her life can become a process of continual transformation. As an educator, I believe it is a moral responsibility to demonstrate how the transformation of each of our lives is tied up in the lives of others. I seek to do this by providing a space for students to share their stories with each other through art-making and by sharing powerful stories of other artist heroes. I want each and every one of my students to strive to live their life as an artist, finding and sharing meaning, valuing the contributions of every character, looking for the teachings and being a part of creating a more beautiful world.