Spotlight on the Arts week continues, and UGA has Lamar Dodd School of Art director Chris Garvin highlighted in its Focus on the Faculty feature:
How does your research or scholarship inspire your teaching, and vice versa?
Being trained as a painter who has practiced primarily as a designer helps me bring a balanced approach to my teaching. I feel I have sensitivity for both the artistic impulse and the business acumen that our students need to thrive in an ever-changing world. My teaching has really helped to nurture my ability to be a good listener. Teaching in any field is a performance art but studio pedagogy is live theater. Like any good performer, your ability to act and react and to improvise is a vital skill. I think my practice is greatly improved by my experiences in that type of classroom. That skill set translates very well to a client meeting, a pitch and a boardroom and maybe, most importantly, to being empathetic with the people you work with.
What do you hope students gain from their classroom experience with you?
I hope they have fun learning. My job is to take this content and help them find a place in their lives where it makes sense, is helpful and guides them to find their path. There is no one correct way to do most things, and there is no one path to a creative career. What I hope to give my students is a way to internalize the material and shape their point of view. The second part of that is reminding them that success is something we all define for ourselves; it is a highly personal and subjective metric. Without that understanding it is difficult to weather the ups and downs they will all face in their lives.
Describe your ideal student.
I don’t know if there is an ideal student for me. But I have often said that one of the reasons I so enjoy teaching freshmen is that they have this wonderful cocktail of fear and enthusiasm and dreams and energy that will fuel them to run through walls. I love trying to harness that, help them pick a direction and then letting them run. What I hope students can hear from me is to stay open to new experiences and ideas. Students who get that are a joy to work with.
Arts education at UGA received a great boost with Garvin's arrival - and it was already doing very well. Great time to be a learning creator on this campus.