Early on my studio art education and artist's instinct turned a series of diverse jobs, in three different areas of the country, into a journey of discovery and distillation; it was a grand time. Two decades later a distinct desire to be of service to the arts, and the inner compass still strong, I entered the MAT program at MICA, the very one I teach for now.
I love working in most media and this suits teaching perfectly. My personal artwork references ancient and archetypal ideas. I realized the aesthetic influences of growing up on a farm in Pennsylvania in art school when I began to appreciate things like the way someone might use wire, string, or other materials to quickly mend a fence and how it weathered years later. Unusual combinations of materials are still a primary way of teaching and making art. At a time when it was unfashionable, my sculpture looked like artifacts, metaphoric adornment, accoutrements. "Romancing" sites such as Stonehenge with a series of large wood-fired plates, or Tibet, with fabricated collections and installations of "relics", I was conjuring places and cultures that instinctively invoked genuine attributes (as I found out later after actually visiting sites). It follows that I began to study archaeology, do field work and research, briefly in England, and now in Russia, Mongolia, and Iran. Photography is now the primary medium for documenting travels and creating work for publication and display. Travel continues to knit together Eurasian culture and history. Within this vast puzzle new pieces beckon: the Caucasus, Kyrgyzstan, the Gorno Altai, promising the remarkable. History and culture are made visible through art. It is the lens for viewing life contextually and valuing differences.
This propensity for antiquity led to work on two monumental sculpture projects: I assisted sculptor Alan LeQuire for the first three years' full-scale construction phase of the 41-foot 10-inch tall statue of Athena Parthenos in the Parthenon, Nashville Tennessee. The fiberglass-reinforced gypsum statue, which stands gilded today, is considered (aside from structural materials) a reasonably accurate reconstruction of the original wood and chryselephantine original, and it is the western hemisphere's tallest indoor freestanding statue.
When visiting Japanese sculptors constructed a monumental wood statue on the Maryland Institute campus in 1990, I researched, designed curriculum, and helped develop a school tour program during the statue's unique construction period. With Art Education Graduate Chair, Dr. Karen Carroll, we co-authored the curriculum guide, Fudo Myoh-Oh, Japanese Sculpture Project.
Experience reinforces my teaching philosophy that the arts are essential to knowing, expressing, and solving problems in ways that constitute a whole education, a whole life. In addition to MICA, I continue teaching Elementary Public School art to provide authentic, meaningful opportunities for students to pursue that wholeness. Outside my art room windows is a small but vibrant wetland wildlife habitat. In 1997, with a first grade teacher, we coordinated parents, students, and school administrators to construct this. Hosting a monthly environmental club helps students to grow wiser about environmental issues, maintain, and develop the habitat. Our school enjoys its renewed status as a Maryland Green School and 2001 Runner up for the Presidential Environmental Award.
The joy of teaching Elementary students is in the shared wonder of discovery and play-as-learning. Children's directness and purity of visual expression keep me aesthetically fulfilled and freshly challenged in my own art making. Working with such brilliant Art Education majors at MICA allows me to share current perspectives as an art teacher in the public school system and, in turn, MICA's emerging artist/teachers further my professional development by pursuing cutting-edge ideas and continual mindfulness toward crafting best practices in art education. Designing art problems, testing ideas, and seeing the resultant artwork and its transformative effects on young artists is, for me, as much making art - making choices, and articulating ideas into form.
Awards & Recognition
2005 - 2008
- Outstanding Teacher Nominee, Carroll County, MD Public Schools.
- MSDE Institute, University of Maryland: Crossing Borders / Breaking Boundaries, The Arts of India 1566 – 1658.
- Recipient of a Marcella Brenner Faculty Development Grant.
- MSDE Institute, University of Maryland: Crossing Borders / Breaking Boundaries, The Cultural Influence of Islam on the Arts of the Renaissance
- Recipient of a Marcella Brenner Faculty Development Grant.
Eurasian Studies & Expeditions
2002 - 2003, 2005 & 2007
- Horseback expeditions, Islamic Republic of Iran.
- Scholarship, Moscow Institute for Advanced Studies, Russia.
- Internship in Archaeological Drawing: StateHistory Museum, Moscow.
1993 - 1995 & 2001
- Archaeological excavations, Pokrovka, Russia.
- Ethno/Archaeological survey, Bayan Olgiy, Mongolia.
Selected Publications & Presentations
- Catalog cover for Photography as Fine Art Pennsylvania Biennial Exhibition.
- Aetoi. Perspectives of Eurasian Culture and History in Image, Text, and Verse, Artist's Edition of 10.
2000 - 2001
- Maryland State Visual Arts Standards Content Team.
- Fudo Myoh-Oh Japanese Sculpture Teacher Resource, co-authored with Dr. Karen Carroll, MICA.
- 1990 Video Commentary and Narration, Athena, The Goddess Awakens, Athena Fund Foundation, Nashville.
Most Recent Solo Exhibitions
- Guests of the Wind, exhibition of photographs and artifacts, Bottle WorksEthnic ArtsCenter, Johnstown, PA.
- The Photograph as Fine Art, Biennial Juried Exhibition, Susquehanna Art Museum, Harrisburg, PA.
- Stories at Hand, When Children's Clay Grows Up, Pedagological Exhibition in conjunction with NCECA conference, MICA.
- The Photograph as Fine Art, Biennial Juried Exhibition, Susquehanna Art Museum, Harrisburg, PA. Catalog cover, 2005
- Traveling Light, Photographs, Artifacts, Records of Ancient Nomad Lands, Pinkard Gallery, MICA.