Posts Tagged ‘Eva Wagner’

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Arts Learning Grant Recipient

April 9, 2018

Bangor High School

Potter and MALI Teaching Artist Tim Christensen

“Sharks, tarpan migration, stingrays. Canoeing in deeper water while a dolphin gave birth under the boat. No tolerance for being bored. I had something to say. Being a potter let’s me capture information and communicate it in a durable way. In 500 years what do you want someone to know about you, what your life is like in 2018”?

These are some of the stories that teaching artist Tim Christensen shares when he visits classrooms – stories of how he got where he is and how he is living in Maine and working as an artist. He shares why he does what he does and how it came to be. He started out selling text books after majoring in writing in college. But at age 28 after losing his job he took time to consider what he really wanted to do.

Earlier this month I visited Bangor High School while they had Tim working with their students from all three of their art teachers students. The school received a Maine Arts Commission (MAC) Arts Learning grant to provide this opportunity.

Tim makes clay bowls by throwing them on a potter’s wheel and uses the sgraffito process to decorate the pottery. Sgraffito is made by scratching through a surface to reveal the lower layer of contrasting color.

I’ve visited Tim in action in other classrooms and its always interesting to see where he is in his development as an artist and as a teacher. The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) is pleased to have Tim as a Teaching Artist Leader and on the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist roster. It is clear from the teacher and student responses that Tim did a fabulous job and impacted students and teachers during during his four days at the school.

ART TEACHER EVA WAGNER’S REFLECTIONS

Tim Christensen was such a refreshing presence in our classroom. His knowledge, skills, talent, creativity and energy inspired our students to create truly unique artwork. I learned so much from him in just a few days and I am hoping to get him to come back and work with my classes again.

He is a great story teller and he really took an interest in the students’ artwork. They really responded to him personally.

Working with a professional artist is such a valuable experience to give to our youth. It helps them to see fine art as a viable career and exposes them to a whole new way of working and caliber of work. Often high school teachers, like myself, become a sort of jack of all trades because of the amount of time we spend teaching and preparing different lessons. A professional artist has the luxury to focus which raises their production and craftsmanship –  it is wonderful to be able to expose the students to someone who works in this way.

STUDENT REFLECTIONS

  • I enjoyed working with a professional artist because it’s broadening who we learn from. It was cool working with someone who makes and sells art for a living.
  • I learned that quality is better than quantity. I would love to work with this artist again.
  • I enjoyed that Tim took the time to teach us individually and took interest in our art. I also enjoyed the story he told us about sailing across the Pacific ocean.
  • It makes us realize that there are artists out there that make a living from their art. It broadens our outlook on art and gives us perspective of art in the real world.
  • It was inspiring to hear someone’s personal story of how they became a professional potter.
  • I learned about creating sgraffito that tells a story on pottery. I would love to learn more about throwing with Tim Christensen.
  • I liked hearing about Tim’s life story and how he started art. He had many interesting views on art and how he saw the world because of his art. His art itself was incredible, and I had never heard of the techniques he used.
  • Having a Teaching Artist in the classroom can further your understanding of a subject to have someone that is specialized in that art. They can inspire students with their story and give hands on advice.
  • It helped me to see what it would be like to be a professional artist.
  • I enjoyed it because I got to work with a professional on my favorite subject.
  • I learned that there were more than just the few art styles that I’ve learned about over the years so far.
  • I learned how to do sgraffito and that sometimes you don’t need to work from an immediate drawing, you can just start from nothing and keep going from there.
  • It allows you to explore ideas and techniques you might not normally do.  It allows you to learn from them, and hear their stories and get new ideas.  It dispels the idea that artists are unapproachable. It allows you to see other career options beyond lawyer, doctor, teacher, etc.
  • Working with a professional artist was really nice and eye opening to see what his type of life is like. He was a really good artist that was super different from any work that we’ve done in school but it was really eye opening. He was really nice and helped me personally open my eyes to doing different work that was outside my comfort zone.
  • Tim Christensen taught me to step outside my comfort zone and to realize that when I think I’m done with an art piece, if there is still open space on my work, then I am not done. He helped me make my work better and was overall a good teacher.
  • He was an excellent teacher, and had a thoughtful answer to everything we asked.

ART TEACHER ERIC HUTCHINS REFLECTIONS

Many of our students want to become professional artists, but it is a scary thought for them and even their parents to survive as an artist. It is really nice for them to see a Maine artist that is successful at what he does! Tim was able to introduce new and different techniques to many different classes, and offer opportunity for ceramic works to classes that would never get a chance to experience that. Every opportunity students have can open new doors for them.

Tim’s stories about his travels around the world set it apart from other artists that have spoken to our students. His travels and stories connect to the art that he creates, so the students can hear and see the stories at the same time.

We had teachers from other departments visit while he was presenting and even had the opportunity to create their own work with him. They were as engaged as the students.

Students were so impressed with how incredible his work was they were captured by him at the very beginning. It was nice to be “on the outside” and see the students entire conceptual process with the art and see how they react to someone else. It provides you with insight in how students understand and comprehend what is being taught.

PRINCIPAL PAUL BUTLER’S REFLECTIONS

The quality of the contact between Tim and the students was outstanding, and he brought great energy to his visit. Technique sharing is one thing, but interacting with a practicing artist in the way that our students were able to is quite another– and will have a lasting impact on them.

TIM CHRISTENSEN’S REFLECTIONS

I see my value as a teaching artist to be manifold. I create connective tissue in the arts education field by helping people to network, and by connecting art teachers working on the same ideas. I also can bring specialized knowledge into the classroom, whether it be about natural history, technical clay knowledge, or professional and funding opportunities. For the students, I am a fresh face with no baggage, someone who is working in the field of fine art, and is very comfortable sharing all of my professional knowledge. I also provide a platform from which the students can speak and be heard, by stressing the communicative, content bearing parts of any art project.

I very much enjoy teaching the sgraffito technique as a communication tool that transcends culture and/or time. In a way, sgraffito was the original emoji. I urge the students to think about what they would like to say to someone five hundred years hence, and to create artwork that is capable of doing that. I am successful when I have empowered students to speak using their visual voice and to create from a place that is uniquely theirs, confident that they will be heard and that what they have to say matters in the global conversation about our world.

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MAEA Awards Ceremony

April 12, 2013

University of Maine Museum of Art

DSC00584Suzanne Goulet from the Maine Art Education Association awards committee planned a party that celebrated the outstanding work that goes on in visual arts classrooms across the state. Not only did we celebrate good teaching but we had a great time. The event was held at the University of Maine Museum of Art in Bangor Friday, April 5.

Four teachers were recognized for their contributions that spanned the last 3 decades.

  • Middle Level Art Educator of the Year: Susan L. Beaulier, Ashland Schools
  • Elementary Art Educator of the Year: Cathy Grisby, SAD #61
  • Outstanding Service to the Profession: Stephanie Leonard, Bangor Schools
  • Maine Art Educator of the Year: Sandy J. Brennan, Wells Schools

DSC00602In the near future each teacher will have a post dedicated to them so you can learn more about their contributions to Arts education.

A great big thank you to the University of Maine Museum of Art, Director and Curator George Kinghorn and Education Coordinator Eva Wagner for hosting the event! Everyone enjoyed the artwork, the food, and especially the company!

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UMaine Museum of Art: Eva Wagner

May 25, 2012

Learn about Eva

I am very interested in the pathways that lead folks to their careers. Eva Wagner is doing a fabulous job as the Education Coordinator at the University of Maine Musuem of Art (UMMA). In February, when the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative teacher leaders and leadership team met to review the first phase, Eva kindly opened the doors for us to meet at the museum.

Eva kindly answered questions for this blog post. If you’d like to reach Eva and learn more about the offerings at UMMA please do so at Eva_Wagner@umit.maine.edu.

Background

I am the Education Coordinator at the University of Maine Museum of Art. I started my work here in July 2011. I completed the foundation program at the Maine College of Art in Portland and then went on to get my B.A. in Studio Art and MAT (Masters of Arts in Teaching) in Elementary Education from UMaine. I have a varied background that I think really helped prepare me for my work at the Museum. I have taught in public and private schools with students of all ages. I worked at an ad agency in New York City and was educator at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland. I first became interested in Museum work when I went on an art and architecture tour of Paris and London when I was nineteen. I was drawn to art history and thought my guide had the best job in the world. Later at UMaine I was a work-study student at UMMA and that work helped me land my job at the Farnsworth. Here I am back at UMMA, so in a sense things have come full circle.

Goals, hopes, and dreams for UMMA

My goals, hopes and dreams for UMMA are that we develop a vibrant educational program that serves people of all ages. In addition to young children, teens and college age students I really want to reach adults. I want the Museum to become a destination for people, where we host book groups, regular drawing groups and teacher workshops. I would like to learn about and offer more programs involving technology as I feel technology will play an integral role in the art world as we move forward. I would like to offer more programs for new parents to get their children involved in an arts education from the beginning. I know how much my trip to Paris influenced my life and thus I would like to make travel to museum destinations in the U.S. and abroad more accessible to Maine students. I would like to build the Education department to include more educators but that is really a long term goal. I hope UMMA continues to grow and be a leader in arts education throughout the state. I wish UMaine could offer a top notch Museum Studies program as we currently do not have Museum Studies in the state. I know students who design their own programs through UMaine and USM but I would love to see an official program reinstated here at UMaine.

Strengths and opportunities that UMMA provides

We currently have two grants that educators may want to utilize: UMMA on the Road and Access to the Arts Transportation Grant, both funded through the University of Maine Patrons of the Arts. UMMA on the Road allows me to travel to schools with our traveling exhibits. I share the exhibit and we discuss the work using the Elements of Art and Principles of Design and then do a hands-on workshop. I have implemented lessons on landscapes, portraits and printmaking to schools throughout Maine and have had great feedback. I have worked with children from pre-school through high school in art, science, social studies, language arts and visual literacy classes. The Access to the Arts Transportation Grant allows UMMA to provide a bus subsidy to schools who visit the Museum. We reimburse schools up to $175.00 for their bus fee. I have developed a host of gallery and studio activities that students can take part in when they visit. UMMA has also provided artist gallery talks for students. Jemma Gascoine and Ruth Marshall who are currently on exhibit gave gallery talks to student from Holbrook School and Brewer Community School. Both of these programs have really enhanced the Maine student experience and I hope more educators will take advantage of them.

I am also very proud of our Young Curators program which we developed this year. We invited students between the ages of 11-18 to apply and from there we selected a strong group of students. This is a seven week program where students meet one afternoon per week to get a behind the scenes look at a contemporary art museum. They meet with all members of the staff, take part in a matt cutting workshop, and work together to curate their own show from selections from our permanent collection. They also research artists and art works and create wall text for their show. They will present their work at our Member’s Preview reception on June 21, 2012.  There is no charge for this program, UMMA staff  have all taken time out of their busy schedules to make it happen and I am very grateful to this amazing staff for their commitment to education.

What would you do with a gift of $500,000?

If I were given $500,000 to do whatever I pleased, I would develop a traveling Young Curators program. Many young people in Maine do not have the opportunity to go to Boston, New York or San Francisco let alone Paris, Florence or Athens. I would like to see these opportunities be more accessible to young people of Maine. My vision is that we would have a core of Young Curators who perhaps met monthly here to do research and writing and then had a two week tour to a different destination each summer. Students and parents would be responsible to raise part of their funds to cover the cost of travel but the foundation could help make it all possible. Students from all over Maine could apply. I really believe that access to an arts education and travel early in life is a vehicle to a better appreciation for our history as humans, and this affects how we move forward in the world.

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