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FSU Art BA ’16 James Parker Interns with Professor Mary Stewart

Published March 11, 2015


Before returning to school, I worked at an accounting firm typing numbers into a database all day. It was stable and consistent; each day was mostly the same as the last. To break the monotony, I enrolled myself in a drawing class thinking that I was gaining a hobby. Instead, I was given a new perspective through which to view the world; one of possibility, excitement, and freedom. I feel an urgent need to share what I had found, and the best way to achieve this goal is through teaching.

During my first semester at FSU, Dr. Stewart unexpectedly offered me a internship launching a new e-series course, Creative Inquiry, after I shared my aforementioned goal in an introductory essay for her Contemporary Foundations class. I play several roles in this position. First, I test run assignments, providing students with an example solution and simultaneously pushing the limits of my own creative practice. To date, I have completed two of these projects. The first, The World is a Stage, involved photographing everyday locales and situations in an attempt to capture a moment of visual poetry. The second, From Chaos to Composition, required me to create a dynamic composition using monochromatic source images cut into 3×3″ squares, which I then expanded into a sculptural piece.

My second role is to serve as a resource for students. Honestly, this has been the most challenging and fruitful part of my experience. It was difficult in the beginning of the semester because I occupy a grey area between student and instructor that carries ambiguous authority in the classroom. Over time, I have earned rapport with our group and feel comfortable in my position thanks to Dr. Stewart’s extensive coaching.

My third major role in my internship is to assist in preparing for the class in a variety of contexts. This has consisted of researching articles and other online media to share on Blackboard, assembling materials students will be using in class, and organizing the classroom before students arrive. Although not the most glamorous aspect of my position, I have been able to get a good picture of the amount of work that goes into launching a new class.

This semester I am applying for BFA status, and am looking forward utilizing the invaluable information I have learned from Creative Inquiry into my work. I also want to expand my teaching experience by offering creativity workshops. These will start simply at first, and gradually build into more ambitious endeavors over time.

Professor Stewart’s launch of Creative Inquiry has been a huge success. It has been immensely rewarding to watch the students grow so much in such a short period. This course will be offered again in Spring 2016, and I highly recommend this interdisciplinary course to anyone wishing to integrate more creative processes into their major.