by guest blogger Clara Lieu
This art professor is launching a new project that offers online teaching for visual artists – free for people of all ages. Here is her idea.
I am a visual artist and adjunct professor at the Rhode Island School of Design where I have taught for the past decade. For the past two years, I have partnered with Thomas Lerra from WGBH Boston and a team of 6 Teaching Assistants and 10 Interns to create ART PROF: a free, online educational platform for visual arts.
ART PROF will provide people of all ages equal access to high quality art education. We are excited because we believe that ART PROF has the potential to make an impact on art education, which is chronically underfunded or non-existent in many schools.
ART PROF originated from the loneliness and frustration I experienced trying to learn visual arts as a teenager over twenty years ago. I loved art class in elementary school, it was literally my favorite hour of the week in school. I had an incredible art teacher who fostered my artistic drive with nurturing, enthusiastic support.
By comparison, it was upsetting to discover that visual arts at my high school was underfunded, and that the art teachers were stretched thin and overworked. The opportunities to study the one subject I was passionate about did not exist. Despite those early struggles, I was lucky-eventually, I made it to art school.
In 2013, I began teaching for RISD Project Open Door, a free college access program for urban teens. These students expressed the same frustration about the scarcity of teen art programs to me. When I began my Ask the Art Prof column for Huffington Post, I was surprised that people of all ages started contacting me for help. I realized that visual arts education is simply not available to most people. I saw an aching void that I realized I was in a position to fill.
I started thinking about how I could make a difference, and became determined to reach those people who want access to art education, who would never make it into my classroom. ART PROF is my answer. I hope that ART PROF will give everyone the flexibility to learn visual arts on their own terms. Whether you make art every day, or once a year, I believe that visual arts has a positive impact on all of us.
UPDATE: This Kickstarter Project was Fully Funded! Thank you!
Clara Lieu is an Adjunct Professor in the Illustration department at the Rhode Island School of Design. She wrote Ask the Art Prof, an advice column for visual artists which was featured in the Huffington Post for three years. Her studio practice explores isolation and mental illness through drawing, printmaking, and sculpture. Recent exhibitions have been at the International Print Center New York, Bromfield Gallery, the Danforth Museum of Art, the Currier Museum of Art, and the Davis Museum. Lieu has received grants from the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and the Puffin Foundation.