Valerie George, Associate Professor of Sculpture | Teaching Philosophy
Before sophisticated and complex ideas can be brought to fruition, there must be an understanding of the fundamentals of art making. In my foundations courses, I create assignments that introduce basic equipment skills and refine craftsmanship. I work closely with underclassmen to develop effective problem solving skills, both formally and conceptually.
Beyond introducing the tools and processes of the disciplines I teach, I encourage and challenge all of my students to understand the rich history and the complex dynamics of art making. I supplement courses of all levels with historical and present-day critical readings to help students contextualize their ideas within the contemporary art world.
Critique and class discussion are important exercises in which students participate. Not only do they demand that the artists verbalize methodologies and ideas, it helps them to develop skills to process new information, criticism, and become comfortable with the broadened implications of the work when filtered through context and audience. I strive to facilitate a rich, honest and supportive environment for critique and discussion.
Creativity has to be cultivated. It is common for artists with all levels of experience to encounter feelings of fear during the creative process. Many young artists are intimidated by the sheer volume of art that has preceded them. I address the importance of my students' present and future contributions to the artistic discourse. Many have preconceived notions of the functions and aesthetics of art. I urge my students to feel confident in their natural propulsion to challenge norms that are underlying in art and in the world around them. As students grow to better know themselves, understand local/global concerns, and recognize the functions of the art world, their work will begin to voice the ideas that will help shape the future of what art might become.
Valerie George, Associate Professor of Sculpture | Student Work