Department of Art and Art History Visual Art Studies

Alumni Spotlight: Meet Karen Cervantes, BFA in Visual Art Studies, 2013

Fri. March 27, 2015

woman in black shirt posing for portrait in front of dark back drop
 

Karen Cervantes (BFA in Visual Art Studies, 2013) teaches at Zavala Elementary School in Austin, Texas.

Professor Christina Bain: What has surprised you about teaching these past few years?

Karen Cervantes: The students’ engagement is crucial to the whole art lesson. The more engaged they are, the better the effort in their work and the more meaning they add to their artwork. I’m surprised at how well I’ve learned to think on my feet because no matter how organized and planned I’ve been, something unexpected always comes up like fire drills, paint spills or never-ending waiting time. Also, the environment in the art classroom is completely different from the students’ regular classrooms and I’ve been learning to embrace the differences. It’s okay to have an organized “chaotic” art class.

 

CB: What aspects of the program at UT Austin most prepared you for post-grad life?

KC: My art education classes completely changed my perspective on how to view art and its significance in our society. Art can be an educational tool, a voice, an opinion... not just a hobby. Elementary students can be taught about big ideas such as social justice, identity, and culture. Elementary art doesn’t just have to be the basics of art or cookie-cutter art; it can be full of meaning and importance too. My passion for art and for teaching has grown and it’s all thanks to my amazing and unforgettable professors Dr. Christina Bain, Dr. Paul Bolin and Dr. Kara Hallmark.  

CB:   What advice would you give to graduating students?

KC: Once you’ve landed the job, building your classroom environment is completely on you. I did not want to emphasize my classroom rules my first year and mid-year, I was having a ton of behavior problems. Lesson learned. You can still be the cool hip art teacher but with some cool hip structure in the classroom. As a second year teacher, I take advice from veteran teachers all the time and one I keep hearing is to be consistent with your consequences. Don’t be afraid when administrators or mentors come watch you teach. Their criticism or suggestions can end up helping you and how things flow in the classroom.


Related topics:

Student Spotlight: Meet some of our newest BA in Art History graduates
Student Spotlight: Meet some of our our newest BFA and BA Studio Art graduates

Student Spotlight: Meet Caleigh Taylor, BFA in Visual Art Studies
Alumni Spotlight: Meet Lucy Parker, BFA in Studio Art, 2012
Alumni Spotlight: Meet Terah Walkup, BA in Art History, 2007

Student Spotlight: Meet Caleigh Taylor, BFA in Visual Art Studies, 2015

Thu. March 26, 2015

woman in red and white striped dress sits on railing to pose for picture
 

Caleigh Taylor, BFA in Visual Art Studies, 2015

Tell us a little about your background.
I am from Houston Texas. I have loved art from a very young age. I also enjoy dancing and playing music. I draw most of my inspiration from my love of stories and nature.

How did the Visual Art Studies (VAS) program change you or your goals?
The VAS has changed how I see my working process as an artist. Now I see that it is important to me share my passion for art not only though my art but helping others to get to learn to love art as well!

Why was the program special to you?
This program was special to me because they have encouraged me to try new things not only as a teacher but also as an artist. The faculty see you as an artist first so they will help you in developing your own creative process. The student group Artist in Action helped me to see how to be an artist that is helping the community.

Now that you are student teaching, what has most surprised you?
Student teaching has taught me about myself. It has pushed me to be a stronger person and to have more confidence in myself. It has also helped me to make up my mind quickly. I did not see myself learning about myself as much as I have.


Related:

Student Spotlight: Meet some of our newest BA in Art History graduates
Student Spotlight: Meet some of our our newest BFA and BA Studio Art graduates
Alumni Spotlight: Meet Karen Cervantes, BFA in Visual Art Studies, 2013
Alumni Spotlight: Meet Lucy Parker, BFA in Studio Art, 2012
Alumni Spotlight: Meet Terah Walkup, BA in Art History, 2007

Talk by Amy Hofland

Mon
Feb 23
911:45am

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