Those Who Can, Make Art….Those Who Can’t, Teach.
Published on March 27, 2014
Back in my art school days it was common to hear people say:
Those who can, make art. Those who can’t, teach.
So when I took my first job teaching art at the Cleveland Museum of Art, I did so a bit reluctantly.
I was worried that somehow teaching art would make me less of an artist and that helping others on their path would distract me from my own. I’ll even admit it to you, a part of me was worried that I was in essence helping my competition and there would never be enough space/time/clients/resources for myself.
But something magical happened that first year of teaching.
Surprisingly, my students helped me fall in love with art and art making even more.
I literally got high off of witnessing others’ break throughs and I became obsessed with finding ways to help everyone, of all skill levels, swim in their own creative juices!
Also, simultaneously, as I was falling deeper in love with teaching, my students were falling deeper in love with art as well.
I’m proud to say that at the time I was the only teacher there that actually had a waiting list for my classes!
One of the things I did that made my classes so unique is how I approached the art history portion of my lessons.
Being that we were in an art museum, each of us teachers were required to use the collection as our main resource and to share the history with our students.
While other teachers were boring their classes by rambling off dates and trivia, I spent my time researching the more obscure and scandalous parts of the art periods and then shared what I found with my students in story telling fashion.
I considered myself more of a gossip reporter instead of a historian!
From spilling the juicy details of a Pharoah’s failed love affair or having my students yearning to hear more about the scandals behind the Vatican during the Renaissance Period….I got people excited about art history.
And sure, some folks in the museum had a real beef with my teaching style.
But noone could deny that I got people interested in art. I inspired my students to learn more. I helped them feel comfortable in the halls and galleries of an art museum. And most of all, I got them calling themselves an Artist.
My goal was not to make scholars out of my students–but lovers of art.
My art assignments were just as unconventional as my art history lessons–and I pushed my students to be creative as well as disciplined in doing the work to gain certain technical skills.
I taught for 8 years at the Cleveland Museum of Art before finally deciding to go back to college for my art education degree.
I fell so deeply in love with teaching that I thought for me to be the best teacher I could be, I needed a formal education.
Sadly, I started to become disheartened with teaching once my college classes took over. The stripping away of heart and humanity from the actual craft of teaching really took a toll on my Spirit.
In my academics there was so much stress on having the perfect lesson plan and scheduling every second of a class that there was no room for creativity, spontaneity, and real listening to our students’ needs and interests to make true learning bloom.
From there I took a full time job in a public school that only lead to my heartache around teaching, until finally, four years ago, I said good bye to the traditional teaching world and embraced teaching online full time through Dirty Footprints Studio.
I don’t regret my formal education or the years I spent in the public school system. I learned valuable skills and theories through my studies that I still apply today.
But I do see now that “that Connie who thought she needed the education”….well, she was really enough.
What made me such a powerful teacher back in my museum days was my passion, love, and commitment to my own art practice NOT pedagogy.
And it’s still my greatest attribute today.
That is why I created IGNITE. It’s the “formal training” I wish I could have had when I was seeking guidance to be the best teacher I could be.
IGNITE marries the formal with the Feminine!
In IGNITE we start with the fact that you are already “enough”.
That everything you need to be the best teacher is inside you. Your gifts as a teacher are only in gestation. With the right support, encouragement, and attention they will soon feel confidant to shine brightly.
There are only five more days left of the early bird discount for IGNITE.
If you are feeling called, I encourage you to reach out and explore if IGNITE is right for you.
My wish is to help more women experience the incredible joy and fulfillment that comes from teaching/facilitating and inspiring others with creativity!