The Artist Educator
"What do you want to be when you grow up?" is a common question asked of students from the time they are able to tie their shoes, to college-age and beyond! Students, from a very young age, are led to believe that they can do ANYTHING, be ANYTHING they want if they are willing to work for it. And that right there, is the key word---WORK. Having your dream job is a lot of work--and takes risks, which can be incredibly scary. The high school guidance counselor often forgets to mention that part. BUT, if you truly want to do something, you will take those risks, and work through the difficult times.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people at the "Zonta Ladies Night" fundraiser event in Cheyenne, Wyoming. One woman in particular told me that she was gathering information (business cards, brochures, etc) from all of the artists' booths to share with her daughter. Her daughter, she explained, was a very talented artist, but wasn't sure she wanted to pursue art in college, as it didn't seem like it would amount to a real job. In our conversation, I mentioned that I was not only an artist, but also an art teacher--which didn't seem to go over well. She laughed as she explained that her daughter thinks that being a teacher is something that artists have to do in order to make a living... and she doesn't want to become a teacher.
She has a point.
There are a lot of artists who resort to teaching as a way of bringing home the bacon, since selling artwork is not a very consistent means of income. While I do teach full-time, and having that steady income DOES make me feel more financially stable, that is not WHY I teach.
Teaching is EXHAUSTING. I'll be the first to admit that. After a full day of teaching, the thought of going home and trying to work on my studio art is not always appealing. However, teaching is also incredibly energizing! When I'm not creating my own art, I am sharing my gifts with others AND becoming inspired by their work at the same time! My elementary art students are some of the most creative little artists I know---and that is because they are not afraid to dive into a new project and see where their creative journey takes them.
In last week's post, I wrote of the importance of displaying your artwork for others to see. Just as showing your work to others is important, SHARING your expertise and love for art with others is just as important. In addition to teaching art full-time, I also teach two monthly painting workshops to the community--focusing on the processes that I use to create some of my paintings. Why do I do this? Because I feel that openly sharing my techniques with the community not only forms a good relationship between myself and community members, but also brings people closer to understanding my work! Art is a form of investigation, and recreating a painting forces the artist to get up close and personal with the artwork--increasing their knowledge of, and connection to the piece.
So, am I an artist, or am I a teacher? I like to call myself an artist educator, because not only am I an artist, but I'm also educating FUTURE artists! The most wonderful thing about being an artist is that it is one of those jobs that naturally fits with almost anything else. Can you be a prolific artist AND a pharmacist/doctor/lawyer/manager/accountant/etc? Absolutely! Find a way to weave everything together---make those connections between your various occupations, and you'll find inspiration in all that you do!
Have a wonderfully inspiring weekend!
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Welcome to the whimsical world of Tara Pappas' mixed media art! Thank you for stopping by to view samples of my work and read a little about my adventures as an artist. I am always looking for new ways to connect and grow as an artist, so would love to hear from you if you have any questions or interests in a particular piece. I hope that my work brings you inspiration and joy!
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