Department of Art and Art History Art Education

New York, Tuscany, Zurich: undergraduate students travel across the globe this summer

Mon. August 31, 2015

Chelsea Chang, undergraduate in Art Education

woman in yellow shirt posing for photo
Image courtesy of Chelsea Chang.

How did you find your summer internship? What kind of experience were you seeking?
I knew about Southern Methodist University's Summer Youth Program because I had taken one of their classes in middle school. I've been learning about theoretical classroom management and teaching strategies, so I sought experience in those areas.

What was the best or funniest experience you had?
Children just say the most precious things. One week, my coworker and I had the children introduce their partners to the class as an icebreaker. One of the questions was "what is your favorite color?". One boy couldn't decide and ended up saying "All colors are equal, just like people!"

How will this internship impact your future goals?
My future goal is to become a high school art teacher that specializes in the combination of art and technology. SMU offered many classes that involved this subject so I got experience on how to teach video game creation, stop motion animation, digital comic book creation, etc. I worked with about eight teachers, so I also got to see the effect of many teaching/classroom management strategies and build up my own way of doing things.

Anyssa Flores, undergraduate in Art Education

children sitting in chairs facing Guggenheim Museum
Image courtesy of Anyssa Flores.

What kind of work you did this summer at the Guggenheim Museum?
I was a Family Programs intern in the Education Department of the Guggenheim. During my internship I would facilitate activities at exhibition openings, events and museum hours. I also helped the educators lead summer camps and tours, did research on various artists and helped create activities based on the artwork on view. Additionally, the Guggenheim had a Museum Culture Seminar Program where I got to visit other arts institutions and learn about their history, exhibitions and programming.

Did you accomplish or complete any work you found particularly interesting or are especially proud of?
Besides doing research and creating activities I was proud of, I really enjoyed getting to educate people and doing activities right in front of the artwork in the museum. Because of the complex subject matter, I think that contemporary art can be one of the most interesting and difficult subjects to educate people on, especially younger audiences. Learning how to lead those discussions and understand how people experience artwork was really beneficial to both my practice as an educator and an artist.

While in NYC, did you take some time for fun or sightseeing?
I did so much sightseeing on my days off and ate all kinds of great food — it was like being a three-month-long tourist! The subway system is so convenient, and you could get anywhere in NYC in a short amount of time. I would spend the day seeing art at the museums or Chelsea galleries and then end up in Chinatown for dinner, or I would take a short trip to Coney Island for the beach or a baseball game. On days I had nature withdrawals, I could hang out in Central or Prospect Park. Even walking around the city was always a fun adventure in itself.

Read more via the College of Fine Arts


Erica Halpern, undergraduate in Design

women standing with arms spead in front of Google wall

Image courtesy of Erica Halpern.

You traveled to Zurich for your second summer internship with Google. What kinds of projects did you work on as part of the internship?
I worked on Inbox, Gmail's new email client, specifically on the smart grouping of emails team that is responsible for bundles like trips and promos. As an Associate Product Manager Intern, I worked with the engineering and user experience teams to design and build a new feature. My exact project has to remain a secret until it launches though! 

What was the best or funniest experience you had?
Some interns and I rented a car to visit the Swiss alps and there was a traffic light to regulate the amount of cars that entered the tunnel. This created a giant traffic jam and left all the cars at a standstill. Since everyone was stuck, we all got out of cars ate cheese and baguette in the middle of a highway with a bunch of strangers for about 30 minutes!

How did the internship impact your future goals?
I'm double majoring in Design and Computer Science and in the classroom these fields often don't directly intersect. This internship has been a great way to see how both my interests can come together to create something exciting! My experiences this summer have helped me to figure out what career I would like to pursue. Working on a large product with many people in different roles and teams has taught me many valuable skills that I will use in the future.

Kayla Jones, undergraduate in Studio Art

black and white photo of white blanket in landscaping
Image courtesy of Kayla Jones

This summer you completed a residency at Oxbow and Co-Lab Projects' SUMMERSCOOL program. What did you hope to gain from these experiences?
I hoped to achieve, overall, similar things from both of these opportunities — to find a way to stay engaged with my practice and in conversation about art through the summer break. At OxBow I most looked forward to participating in OxBow’s immersive artist community, through conversations with everyone there: peers, professors and visiting artists. From SUMMERSCOOL, I was extremely excited to experience what it takes to produce a professional show, from start to finish. I definitely feel that through both of these programs I’ve gained experience that you can’t learn in a classroom, and I feel a little more prepared to enter the real world after graduation.

What was the best or funniest experience you had?
This is so difficult to answer; it’s hard to convey how memorable every single minute at OxBow ends up being. I would say that my most exciting experience was the studio visits I got to have with professors and visiting artists at OxBow. It was extremely helpful and eye-opening to hear from artists whose work I’d studied before, and also inspiring to hear them talk about their own passions and beliefs and where they intersected with my work. Having those meetings made me even more excited to come back and experiment in the studio with what I’d learned.

How did Oxbow and SUMMERSCOOL impact your future goals?
Both of these programs exposed me to a wide range of professions that someone with an arts background can pursue while maintaining an art practice. I feel more confident and optimistic about finding a path for myself that I enjoy that also supports my art after I graduate (but ask me again in May).

Nick Purgett, undergraduate in Art History

man standing in front of building posing for photo

Image courtesy of Nick Purgett.

Why did you decide to attend Learning Tuscany?
Ever since I took art history in high school, I wanted to find some way to get out of the classroom and experience all that I had learned about firsthand. I especially enjoy Renaissance art so Italy always seemed like an obvious choice. So when I found out about Learning Tuscany it felt like a no-brainer. After all, who wouldn't want to spend six weeks in Tuscany learning about a fascinating subject?

What was the best or funniest experience you had?
The best part of the program was interacting with all the non-major people who had no conception of what art history was and seeing them take interest in the subject. It can be hard to see why art history is so cool when learning off of slides every day. However, when you're standing in the Roman Forum or Loggia dei Lanzi, you understand why these fantastic places are so important and rightfully deserving of study. It sounds quite cliché but it was inspiring to connect with people through art history

How did Learning Tuscany impact your future goals?
It really reaffirmed that I want to be doing art history for the rest of my life. Showing people why art is so fascinating, in some way or another, seems the most fulfilling future I could have.

Leslie Moody Castro presents The Other Mexico with Bill Arning at the Texas Contemporary Art Fair

Tue. August 18, 2015

photo of woman holding umbrella and taking picture with phone in window
 

Leslie Moody Castro (M.A. in Art Education, 2010) and Bill Arning, director of the CAMH, presents The Other Mexico at the Texas Contemporary Art Fair. Ten booths will feature galleries from Mexico City. Read more about the project on PaperCity.

Q+A with Amanda Barbee

Sun. August 30, 2015

family of four sitting on boulders with hook'em hand sign

Amanda Barbee complete her M.A. in Art Education this past May. Barbee hails from Sanford, North Carolina and received her B.F.A. in Art Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is headed to Richmond, Virginia to complete a Ph.D. in Art Education at Virginia Commonwealth University. While at UT Austin, she raised her two sons, Henson and Jasper, with her partner, Jon.

Before leaving Austin, she answered a few of our questions by email.

Why did you decide to study Art Education as an undergrad?

Amanda Barbee: Originally, I was a speech pathology major. I’d chosen that major because I wanted to help people, but I still remember the day I was sitting in class, looking at a slide of the anatomy of the inner ear, and internally screaming “I’ve got to get out of this major!”

To pick a new major, I thought of the people who had been the biggest influences in my life, and I realized how much I owed to my elementary art teacher Mike Riddle. His teaching style made me feel intelligent and creative every time I was in his class. I had the chance to make kids experience that same feeling of success and support, so I switched to Art Education.

How did you find your thesis topic?

AB: While working with the undergraduate Art Education students, I realized that in the past, I had truly fit the profile of "survival years" when I was a new teacher. I wondered if that rough time was because I’d not been actively engaging with the subject I taught—art—for those first years.

Around the time of this realization, I’d also been reading a lot and really appreciated Pearse1 and Rolling’s2 models of understanding/art-making. These three models (technical, situational and critical) perfectly indicated the three levels of awareness that I worked to balance when teaching and when making art. Tying that together with the belief that student teachers would be optimal arts-based researchers, I landed on my topic. Dr. Bain and Dr. Powell were kind enough to let me alter the calendar and assignments for the student teaching semester course in order to conduct my research.

Can you talk about how you quantified or evaluated the successes or challenges of your thesis research?

AB: One gigantic challenge was the choice to use a grounded theory methodology, which is much more common in social sciences than in the arts. Ultimately, it was the perfect fit for what I wanted to do, which was observe the levels and patterns of reflection that the student teachers were experiencing. I collected everything each student teacher wrote, created, or said relating to the course, and tied up open questions with an interview. I then tallied each and every reflection as they fell within the three Pearse/Rolling models. By chronologically charting this data, I was able to see when each student teacher experienced different types of reflection and understanding, in regards to six different categories. It was amazing to see their focus shift, and how they grew and changed.

How do you hope your research is utilized either at UT Austin in shaping the undergraduate AED curriculum, or at other institutions?

AB: My hope is that the concept of the student teacher as researcher will become a strong focus at UT Austin and elsewhere. Artists are researchers, exploring and expressing what they capture. Art Education student teachers have an established connection to reflective practices through their studio courses. I believe that guiding them to process their emerging career, through and with art, could be a very natural and fulfilling part of their preparation.

What was it like to raise your children and deal with your graduate work at the same time? Any advice to pass along to others?

AB: It was not easy, but it might become easier when more women agree that it is not only okay, but absolutely wonderful, to want more than what fits into the categories of wife/partner and mother. At times I have almost felt guilty about having ambition, but there is no other path where I’d have found the happiness and satisfaction I receive from working this hard on something I care about so much.

Having a supportive partner who constantly prioritized family needs with me made all the difference. Jon and I worked on the big victory separately a lot, but we always planned our “attacks” together.

You will also be in a new position in the National Art Education Association (NAEA), Preservice Division Director, how do you hope to shape this position?

AB: The NAEA Preservice Division is the newest Division to join the NAEA Board of Directors. This team is going to support existing student chapters nationwide, and reach out to other art and art education programs that do not yet have NAEA affiliation. We’re trying to reach out to every future classroom, community, or museum educator, as well as future teaching artists and those in related fields.

Since I only have a two-year role as Director, I think realistically we will only foster better connections and increase the diversity of our chapters during my time. The Division Director-Elect Jessica Burton and I share a long-term goal of creating our Division to be a space for future art educators to connect, encourage, share concepts, plans and career ideas, and grow professionally before they are actually in the field. Ideally, I’d love to see preservice art educators weighing in on the current educational climate, and advocating for art in students’ lives. It’s a really exciting time to be involved.


1Pearse, H. (1983). Brother, can you spare a paradigm: The theory beneath the practice. Studies in Art Education, 24(3), 158-163.

2Rolling, J. (2013). Arts-based research primer. New York: Peter Lang.

Dr. Christina Bain Honored with 2015 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award

Mon. July 13, 2015

woman wearing colorful necklace and green shirt posted for portrait
 

Dr. Christina Bain, one of eleven faculty members from The University of Texas at Austin, has been chosen to receive 2015 Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System.

The awards program is one of the nation's largest monetary teaching recognition programs in higher education, honoring outstanding performance in the classroom and dedication to innovation in undergraduate instruction.

Dr. Bain is an Associate Professor of Art Education. Her research interests focus on the intersection of theory with practice in art education. More specifically, her research examines the preparation and development of art teachers, both at the preservice and inservice levels, with topics including the development of teacher identity, curricular development, technology integration, arts integration, and material culture.

She is the author of Pixels are Not Paint: A Qualitative Study of the Effectiveness of the Digitalfolio as a Learning Strategy in a College Digital Art Classroom and has contributed chapters to Matter Matters: Art Education and Material Culture Studies and Remembering Others: Making Invisible Histories of Art Education Visible.

In the past, Dr. Bain has been recognized with awards including: the Texas Art Educator of the Year Award in 2011, the Texas Art Education Association’s Higher Educator of the Year Award in 2005, and the National Art Education Association Student Chapter Sponsor Award in 2009.

Each honoree will receive $25,000 and be recognized at ceremony August 19 at the JW Marriott in Austin.

“There is nothing more important at a university than good teaching,” said UT Austin President Gregory L. Fenves. “I thank the UT System and Board of Regents for recognizing the work of these talented faculty members, and I thank the recipients — at UT Austin and across the UT System — for inspiring their students every day.”

Established in 2008, the Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards program recognizes educators who deliver the highest quality of instruction in the classroom, the laboratory, the field or online.

Faculty members undergo a series of rigorous evaluations by students, peer faculty members and external reviewers. The review panels consider a range of activities and other criteria in their evaluations including outstanding teaching, mentoring, personal commitment to students and motivating students in the classroom.

“These amazing educators are responsible for helping to prepare the next generation of great leaders,” said Paul Foster, chairman of the Board of Regents.

“The efforts of these faculty members significantly enhance the educational experiences of our students, and the UT Board of Regents is pleased to have this opportunity to honor them.”

The full list of 2015 Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards is available here.

From the Death of Pachyderm to The Internet of Things: A profile of alumnus Alex Freeman

Thu. June 25, 2015

photograph of man wearing brown jacket in front of structure

“I studied at UT Austin at a very interesting time,” said Alex Freeman (MA in Art Education, 2009). “I saw the rapid advancement of certain mobile and social technologies.”

Originally trained as a painter, Freeman worked as a framer and then as a gallery assistant in Houston before entering the Art Education graduate program.

“After a bit of soul searching, I realized that my favorite part of the position at the gallery was talking to people about the art,” described Freeman.

His thesis focused on the historical importance of art critic Charles Caffin (1854–1918). Freeman explains, “it was the technology and the communication channels Caffin used that were of most interest to me—an idea that still plays out today with artwork via websites, blogs, and social media.”

While a graduate student, Freeman used Pachyderm, a microsite builder which used Flash, to create sites for the collections at Mexic-Arte Museum and The New York Graphic Workshop: 1964–1970 exhibition at the Blanton Museum of Art.

“I thought I had found my marketable niche as a Flash-based museum interpretive designer,” remarked Freeman. “Then the iPhone came out and smashed my dreams because Flash was all but dead when that happened.”

During his time creating Pachyderms and obtaining grants for digital projects, Freeman worked with Rachel Varon (BA in Art History/MA in Art Education, 2002/2007), who worked for the New Media Consortium (NMC). The connection would later result in Freeman’s recruitment into a position with the NMC.

“My work at Mexic-Arte and the Blanton provided me with the opportunity to experiment on digital projects that directly connected my coursework with actual museum practice,” said Freeman. “I don’t think I would have been into creating digital interpretives or using social media as much, had I not had an avenue to see how it worked in the real world.”

With Pachyderm out the door, Freeman was forced to apply his interests and knowledge in a different way to his work at NMC.

“Writing, lecturing, and creating digital assets—skills I gained in grad school—are key to the work that I do now at the NMC on the Horizon Project,” said Freeman. “The NMC Horizon Report > 2015 Museum Edition is a longitudinal study on the trends, challenges, and technology poised to impact teaching and learning over the next year to five years. It has generated a lot of buzz within museums circles.”

Freeman’s NMC report was released at the Smith Symposium at Balboa Park and again at the American Alliance of Museums annual meeting. In addition to releasing the report, Freeman was recently awarded an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant to pursue an online continuing professional development course for librarians and was also awarded a national leadership grant valued at $500,000 for a similar project for museums.

Later, Freeman was invited to present the NMC report to the IMLS board of directors. While in Washington D.C. for the IMLS presentation, Freeman was invited to attend an award ceremony at the White House, where Michelle Obama was in attendance.

“She [Mrs. Obama] said we could take the cocktail napkins but needed to leave the silverware,” laughed Freeman.

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