Juarez Hawkins Profile Picture

Juarez Hawkins

Back to list Added Oct 16, 2006

Teaching Philosophy

I believe creativity can flourish in a safe, supportive environment. Toward this end, I create learning spaces where students are encouraged to move past any sense of limitation to create quality work they can be proud of. Often, the non-traditional and/or disadvantaged populations I serve have gaps in their education or artistic training. I draw upon my experience as a K-12 educator to coax out engaging work without shaming, while encouraging stronger study habits and artistic skill-building.

As an actively working professional artist, my passion for art as a practice goes beyond the theoretical. I believe students interested in an art career should be provided with the tools to establish themselves in the marketplace. My years of exhibition experience lend a real, direct understanding of the rigors of a professional practice. Moreover, my experiences as a self-employed artist bring to the classroom a real-world understanding of the business of art. I support this by exposing students to other industry professionals, via gallery talks, studio visits and in-class presentations.

I am involved in developing art consumers as well as producers; both should be well-informed about the art they see, and comfortable interpreting and critiquing said art. I believe in the importance of teaching history so students can see how shifts in a society are reflected in its art trends. To facilitate student engagement with art, I present them with modern and contemporary works that touch upon issues central to their own lives. I created Art on Trial, a series of controversial works and related questions designed to foster lively classroom debate. I am particularly interested in the work of minority and non-western artists, and am committed to presenting such art in tandem with mainstream work. I continue to actively research this area, utilizing both academic resources as well as the rich history embedded in Chicago's artistic communities, to present an array of art as diverse as the people who create it.

In order to produce technologically proficient students, technology-based tools must be part of the classroom and curriculum. I provide access to web-based study tools (such as the QUIZZART flash card files I developed), and integrate popular digital media (blogs, YouTube, social media) into my course offerings. Course management tools (such as Mediafire and ConnectArt) streamline the administrative part of my job and provide a vehicle for sharing assignments and other materials with students.

I hope to foster a community of lifelong learners who continue to critically engage with art, who see art not as something stuffy and detached from their reality, but as a vital part of the world in which they live.


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