View Full Version : I'm A Professor!
06-14-2005, 06:48 AM
I just accepted a position in South Dakota as a professor. I will be in charge of the sculpture and art education departments at Northern State University. I'm excited about this opportunity. Any input into building a sculpture program would be appreciated, I will need to rebuild this program. I guess all of this schooling finally paid off.
06-14-2005, 08:19 AM
Hi Matt, Congratulations on earning your professorship. Sounds like you've got a big job ahead of you, rebuilding the sculpture program.
I don't think I could offer any advice, not knowing the situation that you're walking into, but I think that your hard work and well thought out decision making will make the program better.
The best of luck to you,
Have a great day,
06-14-2005, 08:43 AM
Many thumbs up for you! And you were the one who asked "Now what?"
As for the program? Don't overlook your own experience. What did you like or dislike about your own education program? After all, you are the one with the MFA. Make it pay back.
The best of luck to you.
06-14-2005, 09:27 AM
Matt,good deal,and the art gods were toying with you before when you where not sure what to do ,and know you have a great opportunity,that's how dedication and hard work pay off.Do you know what there facilitys are like?Start snapping up tools and materials from goverment surpluss if they have one?Ya got to hook up with the local scrap yard,and always fight for the school money for the art department.Now go kick some butt..........Eric
06-14-2005, 11:18 PM
Good to hear everything worked out for you. You have an excellent opportunity to create an environment where art can be taught, appreciated, and promoted. Since my goal after graduating from the New York Academy is to teach at the university level like yourself, I have thought a little about this eventuality and will share with you what has occurred to me.
Sculpture today is underappreciated in the visual arts. It has been so reduced, in some part, by a significant disconnect between the public and the educators who help teach, train, and create appreciation for it in our schools. I have seen that much of this can be attributed to some extent to the university/liberal art college mentality towards the fine arts. My point? Art is not an esoteric/mystical process and only for the intellectually or philosophically inclined...nor is it something to be detemined by those in control of a particular program. My own experience in two universities and what I have heard from many other artists about their own experiences, however, is that oftentimes fine art programs can be elitist and exclusive rather than inclusive. (I had one professor set me down, before I considered applying to his school's program, and give me a slide show of what was and wasn't art. His choices did not seem to be based upon quality or artistic accomplishment, rather, they fit into a preconcieved idea of his own on the type of technique and subject matter that one should use if you were to be considered a true artist.) This is not an across the board situation by any means, but it is out there and, in my opinion, is a hinderance to the educational process (and the promotion of the arts as a whole). Why any artist/professor would want to keep other artists and types of art, other than those they are comfortable with, from being considered artistically is beyond me. As educators, and artists, we can be the most effective by embracing those not like us as well as those we share common ground with.
My advice, accept sculptors of every stripe and any subject matter, figurative or non-objective. If quality and seriousness of intent are your only criteria you should have a richly diverse program. It takes all sorts and many different opinions on what art is and how to go about creating it for us to have a healthy and vibrant art society. We can all learn from each other despite our differences and that is a good foundation for any art program.
Good luck in your future efforts. Keep us informed of your programs growth and how things work out.
06-15-2005, 11:27 AM
thanks for all of your input and I welcome any more that you have. Someone asked about the facilities...well the art department is housed in the old gymnasium/ swimming pool area for the university.:) THe sculpture room is the old pool, they have constructed a floor over the old pool, it is quite large. There is also access to the old pool for storage. The sand pit for casting extends down into the shallow end of the pool. It is a really quirky space but very adequate, just needs a bit of a spit shine and a lot of rearranging. The old prof apparently didn't like to use the power equipment so most is either pushed to the sides of the room or in the storage/pool area. THe benefits of this reconverision of space is that the ceramics area is housed in the old womens locker room, all tile easy to clean. I have already eyed some scrap yards and will definately make connections once I get there, there is also a large industrial park with some major factories, I am going to check into getting some donations from them, and as always the state surplus will be getting lots of visits.
Anyone know of show opportunities in Minneapolis/ Fargo areas?
06-15-2005, 11:43 AM
Sounds like a "sink or swim" deal to me. :)
06-27-2005, 11:02 AM
Congradulations! All I can say is its whats inside that counts. My mentor was in Jr. College of all places. He had come from NYU. It was the 70's and all I can say is He built fire around enthusiasm and I have been creating my whole life. A wonderful man. Had no time for pretender students but was always there for those of us who were curious and serious. Sounds corny but I can't tell you how important his lack of pettiness was to me. I took courses later at university and dropped out because of the totally idiotic teachers and courses. Do good!!!
PS Students follow by example
07-02-2005, 01:38 PM
One of my first memories is an Art teacher (Mr. Friendfrock) grading a drawing with a big A+. As a little kid I thought wow this is fun. All through middle school I had a wonderfull patent Art teacher named ( Rosenthal), I can still see that 1st pot on the throwing wheel. In high school it was (Dunn and Winegar). Winegar introduced me to the thrown ceramic circle. At K.C.A.I it was (Eldred and Leedy) truely two of the finist. Something these people all shared was, and is, the delight in provideing an open atmosphere, with adequate tools, materails. I still have not determined who has more fun, the kids, the teachers, or the professors. From the little I've read here you will do just fine. have fun cs
12-02-2005, 08:47 PM
Yo professor,how are things working out?hope you are up and running and the fire is burning....................IA
02-14-2006, 10:14 AM
Can't offer you anything very methodical on this. But there is an interesting article in a UK context: 'The Development of an art curriculum for part-time adult students', which may be inspiring, or maybe not.... http://www.arts.ac.uk/docs/cltad_2002jones.pdf
09-15-2006, 07:12 PM
I dig out this old thread by Iowasculptor as I come across this article about the new Chair of Sculpture at a College of Art talking about her plan for the department.
Thinking back, the local art college where I previously attended part-time did not even have a proper Head of Sculpture, and didn't have good planning for their sculpture courses. But being a 'mature student' (what a funny terminology), I picked up relevant tips for the skills, techniques and materials, and the rest especially the creativity is up to me.
Krause unveils plans for sculpture department (http://www.thecampuschronicle.com/scadatlanta/features/060915b.cfm)
Savannah College of Art and Design-Atlanta acting sculpture chair Susan Krause said she is enthusiastic about the future of sculpture at SCAD.
“Our new state-of-the-art sculpture building enables us to provide a top-notch program in sculpture,” said Krause. “Our plans are to develop the sculpture major into a nationally-ranked program and to expose students to the numerous possibilities, skills and applications of sculpture making and its relationship to public art, personal vision and commercial applications.”
SCAD-Atlanta’s students will be involved in numerous competitions, community outreach and exhibitions and will work with visiting artists to gain exposure to professionals in their field. In late September, Krause’s students will collaborate on creating a piece for the annual “Scarecrows in the Garden” competition and exhibition at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. The exhibition will be on display in the Woodland Shade Garden and the Children’s Garden, Sept. 30 - Oct. 31, and will showcase more than 50 original scarecrow masterpieces created by local organizations, businesses and individuals.
Krause also will be forming a critical thinking group for graduate students this fall. “Students and faculty will meet and discuss pertinent issues, watch films and attend lectures,” she said. “The goal is to help tie graduate students together and facilitate interdisciplinary communication throughout the college.” ......
09-16-2006, 09:06 AM
Congratulations and best wishes for the challenges ahead. I think JasonGillespie gives some solid advice regarding inclusiveness. Successful relationships are Venn Diagrams: just don't lose yourself in the pettiness inherent in the academic art circle!
09-16-2006, 12:40 PM
So it has at last happened for you Matt. Congratulations! A Wonderful accomplishment indeed.
As to advice I have none to offer you based on actual experience. However being a member of closed forums where professional artists can talk in depth about art schooling, or lack there of without fear of galleries or collectors finding them, I can tell you that those who have gone through formal training fall into two camps in their opinions.
1: Those who have spent a decade or more tying to discover and impliment the creativity that was programmed out of them in art school from Professors trying to make mini versions of themselves.
2: Those who lay their professional accomplishments at the foot of Art Professors who supported them in finding their own voice and gave them the basic tenants of art to lend authority to that voice and the confidence to implement it in the outside world.
09-16-2006, 09:56 PM
It is now more than a year since Matt (Iowasculptor) put in his first post here, which is when he came into his exciting job as a professor of sculpture. Perhaps he can come back to share with us his retrospective view of his experience.
For what it is worth, my view about giving good guidance to students of sculpture in the area of creativity is to be flexible and vary according to the student. Some students are all at a lost, and do need guidance and suggestions for directions. But some are themselves creative and like to try new ideas and take challenges. Their creativity of course should not be blocked, but rather encouraged with positive strokes.
09-17-2006, 09:08 PM
I was getting a kick reading everyone's posts. Last year was pretty good, I felt I was fighting a battle much of the time. The community and school are about as far away from an art center or even progressive thinking as you can get. Anyway I kept pushing it down their throats, I have been very frusterated at times but it seems that things are changing. This fall as a result of my initiatives we are installing 5 sculptor designed benches in a "sculpture" courtyard that I designed. We are putting sculptures on campus created by professional artists, grants and monies I was able to raise. We just had our first artwalk and it was a huge success, this will happen monthly. THe paper has been putting a lot of writings about my projects in.And now as a result of one of my suggestions the city and some citizens are interested in working with me and the university to create a commercial art foundry. The city actually has a great facility and have preliminarily offered it to us. This could be huge for this town and this university the ripple economic benefits will be widespread and the students will get an unbeatable education. So after being approached last Thursday I am getting calls wanting a business plan and a startup budget so we can get moving on it. Is been busy but I really think things are beginning to change. I haven't even talked about teaching... the kids have been great but in most cases uninformed about the larger art world. I have been trying to expose them to more contemporary concepts and processes. They are beginning to understand my high expectations. I always let the students choose their path as far as their concept although I do ask a lot of questions and try to guide them to the best outcome. A lot of our students are working full time and going to school full time which makes it difficult to get the intense dedication to their art that I would like to see but there are a few. We are taking them to the SOFA show in Chicago in November and going to the art institute and other galleries, I am trying to make contact with some artists so we can take them to their studion and let them see what "real" artists are doing.
Thanks for asking, if anyone has questions about any of these projects I will be happy to share... none have made me even one penny, just goodwill and hopefully the good deed will come back.
09-18-2006, 03:53 AM
You have not mentioned your sculpture colleagues. It is helpful to have good colleagues. But you are not a one-man operation, are you?
09-18-2006, 08:32 AM
I am the only sculpture professor at my university. We are severely understaffed in the visual arts, only 4 FTE which breaks down to 3 full time faculty and two half time. This makes us all work overtime to get things done. We have approx. 85 students in visual arts. So most of the time I am a one man show which has its ups and downs.
09-18-2006, 05:34 PM
I guess you are fairly settled in by now, but this might be of help to you. I spent 3 semesters at a small university and I believe that there were less than 100 students studying art (other than Appreciation and History) and probably around 30 majors. Every major and member of the faculty knew each other quite well. 2nd semester I was there we moved into a new facility which was great. New spaces designed with input of the professors, new tools, all that fun stuff. Besides the fact that it was all new and a great set up the thing that I liked the best was that there was a space in the halls that had basically some carpet covered boxes and some large walls where anyone could display anything they wanted for a day or two. (designed as a break area) It was a great way to get feedback from your peers and teachers and I felt it was a great way to help feel your way along a fairly dark path. You knew there was light at the end but the ability to fall and quickly get back on track was a huge help.
If you do not have a no permission needed gallery of some sorts you might try to get one started. Bad work tends to have a very short shelf life due to the tendency of students to have no mercy about critiquing each others work, and if you can't take it from your peers (and learn from it) a new major might be in line.
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