Hi, I’m Adrienne. Allow me to (re)introduce myself and tell you a little story of how how I fell in love with art education.
Recently, I’ve been reflecting a lot about my childhood, how I was as a child and how that connects to who I am today. I was a “busy” kid, as my mom puts it and it’s true, I was very busy. I had a pet shop to run, a had classes to teach, I had cooking shows to host and I was always making something. Looking back, I was endlessly imagining and making up stories. I loved school because I loved seeing my friends and most of my teachers. But I had a hard time feeling comfortable with how I was learning. Most things didn’t click and it was a lot of really hard work for me to “retain” any information. I did not like “learning”. Despite my young imaginative play as a teacher and maker, my aspiration was not to become an educator and I think that was because I didn’t feel that school was my place while I was growing up.
I ended up as an Art History major and found I connected to storytelling through art. This clicked for me. Although I was not (and still am not) great at remembering dates I could remember and really engage with the stories that were being told. It was broadening my understanding of the world by seeing it presented through different lenses. Examining art make me question our world and consider the many different possibilities she holds. This was exciting to me and it made sense. I liked this “learning”.
I began working as an art educator at the Art Gallery of Alberta after I finished my Bachelor’s degree. I quickly fell in love with art education as a means to challenge ideas, to question realities, to spark and engage in imaginative thought. I could witness people connecting with a new idea, a new possibility, or a new challenge and I could facilitate these experiences. In engaging with art and making art I started to see how students could be empowered and could find a place where they could grow and have sense of belonging. This inspired me to pursue a Master’s degree in art education.
Initially, I thought my master’s work would centre around play and art. That evolved into exploring relational pedagogy, which became the philosophy that guided my thesis research. This research highlighted the importance of presenting art education in a different way. It made it clear to me that art wasn’t just for art’s sake. It was about so much more. By centering our relations with one another as the guiding factor allows for a rich and meaningful art education. My philosophy and approach today is rooted in the value of art education for our growth as humans. Our understanding of the world, of each other and our ability to think divergently and take action. I see myself as facilitator and participant. I have a plan but I’m open to the unknown possibilities that can lead us to an unexpected outcome.
Generally speaking I tend to be a planner, I like to know what’s happening, what’s going to happen and I’m admittedly not the most spontaneous person. However, in my practice as an art educator I’ve experienced how allowing for a plan to evolve and embracing not knowing what the outcome will be is a liberating and empowering learning experience for both student and educator. I strive to create the opportunity for these happenings in my art programs. I appreciate that I am in a constant state of learning and unlearning.
P.S. Here are some other things about me...