This semester I was able to experience a teaching internship with Professor Mary Stewart’s Contemporary Art Foundations class. After taking her course the previous fall, I was offered this opportunity to intern with her class, providing writing assistance for the course assignments, researching and learning about contemporary artists, and giving a few lecture presentations based on this research. Throughout the course of the semester, I researched contemporary artists and topics that I wanted to learn more about.
One of my presentations dealt with contemporary artist Ann Hamilton, whose investigation of the connection between text and textiles leads her to produce extraordinary interactive installations. With my research on Ann Hamilton, I also provided the students with a step-by-step lesson on poster design in conjunction with the class’s “Hero’s Journey Poster Project,” in which students select an inspiring contemporary artist and design a poster based on his or her life and achievements. As part of this lecture, I examined my own poster, which I had created when I was a student in the same course, and explained to the class how I went about re-designing it to learn more about poster design. This experience was both challenging and rewarding, as I was able to improve upon my own work and learn from the ideas of the students.
A second presentation proved even more challenging, as I approached a new assignment, Professor Stewart’s “Thematic Inquiry,” with the task of examining the assignment from three different viewpoints. In this project, students were asked to investigate a disciple, subject, or theme in contemporary art that they would like to know more about and to research and discuss ten artists who fall into their chosen category. I was asked to chose and discuss all three categorical options, and learned more about myself and my artistic interests as a result of my choices. Through this assignment and presentation, I learned about artists exploring nature as a subject, those using glass as a discipline, and those who investigate mortality as a theme.
“You learn by teaching,” Professor Stewart told me one day, and nothing could be truer in relation to this experience. Getting to work with studio art students in their writing and artistic endeavors has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career thus far. I never thought I could offer so much insight and advice for art students, some of whom were experiencing contemporary art for the first time. In addition, I have expanded my artistic horizons farther than I ever anticipated, and I am eager to continue learning more about my interests and abilities.