The “Artists that Teach” exhibit shows viewers a different side of teachers as it made its debut at Shippensburg University’s Kauffman Gallery on Aug. 26.
The exhibit features work from artists who teach kindergarten to 12th grade. The art comes from teachers all over central Pennsylvania.
When stepping into the exhibit, a viewer is greeted with all mediums, from acrylic paintings, ink drawings, sculptures made from paper-mache and even found objects.
Each piece tells a story of the teacher, and some even about how their students inspired their work.
Jill Claire Rakowicz of Littlestown Area School District created a piece titled “Reinal,” which she gained inspiration from her students. It features drawings that her art students have made, all jumbled together in blue, green, white and yellow markings.
“Intrigued by intuitive and raw mark makings, I have collected drawings from elementary art students over the past several years. I observe the juxtaposition between random and intentional when a child begins a drawing, erases, adds, and subtracts,” Rakowicz said. “Observing those drawings makes me question ‘What is intuitive and what is automatic?’ And ‘Can the automatic be defined?’”
Rakowicz strives to combine her students’ representational images with automatism by deconstructing her students’ drawings.
“I attempt to find a balance of drawing without any rational control with an instinctive need to connect the shape,” Rakowicz said.
Other teachers took their pieces to the classroom and included their students’ work, while teaching life lessons as well.
Jessica Barlup of Newport School District created “The Pointer,” a large acrylic painting of a big blue pointer dog with green farmland in the background.
“I created this particular painting in my classroom, where students could watch me make mistakes, problem solve and express myself,” Barlup said. “The process provoked a healthy and necessary creative exchange. It helped my students see that I am human and share similar struggles as well as successes.”
The exhibit also showed what these art teachers do that is just as imaginative as what their students come up with and influence.
Kelly Lani-Burtch of Huntingdon Area School District created a three-dimensional, paper-mache, water-dragon-like monster whose head protrudes from the gallery wall, teeth baring at the viewer.
The piece is called “Untitled,” and Lani-Burtch named it that because she wanted the viewer to dive into their imagination when seeing it.
“I did not title my sculpture because I want to invite you to imagine. Is this creature a terrifying ruler of the Pacific or a fierce, but protector of the alpine lakes?” Lani-Burtch said.
Another teacher invites the viewer to imagine her artwork as a scene of nature the viewer hopes to see.
Julie Geisinger of South Western School District painted “Fragmented Reflection,” which encompassed with acrylic paint and layers of colored pencil to reveal a serene mountain scene.
“My hope is to evoke the viewer’s eye with an explosive scene of nature as either someplace you have or hope to see with your own eyes one day,” Geisinger said.
“Artists that Teach” gallery invites people to step into the minds of teachers, and minds of their own when it comes to imagining what art can be.
The exhibit opened officially Aug. 26, and will be located in the Kauffman Gallery until Sept. 20. To find Kauffman Gallery hours, visit its website at www.ship.edu/art/gallery.