SchoolArts Magazine

April 2016

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Page 16 of 58

M y teaching philosophy revolves around three important ideas: develop- ing inquisitive minds, experimentation, and risk-taking. I see my role as the students' mentor and guide, helping them to develop these valuable skills in order to become self-driven learners. Introducing students to contem- porary art theory is the ideal place to start the discussion on inquiry. Con - temporary artists produce work that questions and challenges ideas we are familiar with or sometimes uncom - fortable talking about. Since contem- porary art has no easy definition, these artists are not constrained by rules. Students are free to think about their methods, materials, and concepts in more versatile and innovative ways. Artist Inquiry Students begin their projects with questions. While researching and developing their ideas, they are exploring different methods and materials. Like many contemporary artists, the student is working back and forth between concept and mate- rial, searching for the method that best conveys his or her vision. In my opinion, the result of this interdisci- plinary approach is much more exper- imental, which often makes the work more compelling. Multiple Methods Like many contemporary artists who combine new technologies and uncon- ventional materials, or create experi- ences through their work, students look at multiple ways of representing and thinking about an idea. Digital media is particularly helpful for this type of study. It allows students flex- ibility to smoothly move back and forth from idea to medium because of its versatile nature. For some con- temporary artists, process is almost as important as the final piece. Focus- ing on the process rather than the end result allows students opportunities to take risks. Collaboration and Critique Collaboration can also provide valu- able opportunities for risk-taking. Since contemporary artists work less in isolation, their ideas are constantly evolving, and discourse plays an important role in that development. In fact, during these discussions, stu- dents are asked to find points of inter- section or overlap, and are encouraged to collaborate with their peers, other nonvisual artists, or even people working in other disciplines. Dialogue has become critical to the art-making process. One-on-one critiques with teachers, peer-to-peer critiques, and group discussions allow artists to process and formulate con- ceptual ideas within a group. I am passionate about teaching not only because I am continuing to explore the creative process with students, but because I am constantly learning, evolving, and being chal- lenged intellectually through the pro- cess of teaching contemporary art. Niema Qureshi is a teaching artist with CAPE (Chicago Arts Partnerships in Edu- cation). niema.qureshi1@ Niema Qureshi Introducing students to contemporar rt histor s the ideal place to start the discussion on inquir . Questioning Contemporar Art P O I N T O F V I E W 12 APRIL 2016 SchoolArts

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