“The arts make the world worth living in and help define purpose.”
Cindy Clark, BYU ARTS Partnership leadership team member, visual artist, singer (in the shower), piano player and teacher, works hard to ensure that teachers and future teachers feel comfortable and successful with the visual arts.
Cindy is currently helping participants in the Arts Integration Endorsement classes to get more comfortable with an art form. For example, everyone in the class recently played with watercolors in their personal sketchbooks. “We talked about sketchbooks/journals, and used watercolors as background or borders for our journals,” Cindy said. “Plus, we threw in a couple of fun watercolor techniques. We decided that teachers need to be artists and reflective practitioners and that we need art for ourselves, not just for our students.”
The following week, teachers chose a favored artform–dance, drama, music or visual arts–to teach part of a lesson to their students. Cindy is working with the teachers who record themselves teaching their art lessons in GoReact, a video assessment tool, by giving them feedback.
“While Cindy hopes her students will feel proficient as teachers of art, she mostly hopes that they will view themselves as artists.”
The medium that Cindy uses and is asked about most frequently by students is encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting. “I explain that encaustic involves beeswax, pigment, resin and high heat. Then, I usually show them some paintings and I explain my artistic concepts.”
While Cindy hopes her students will feel proficient as teachers of art, she mostly hopes that they will view themselves as artists. “I am a mom of three children, a teacher for 30 years in Alpine District and an artist, all at once. Even though I was constantly creating art, my purpose was creating art to be a better art teacher,” Cindy said. “I never considered myself a good artist. I think many women often lack self-confidence in a profession, especially art, because so much of our time and energy is devoted to mothering and teaching, rather than art-making.”
Cindy said that, at times, the world thinks of art, especially for women, as merely a hobby. “Besides being consumed as a mom, I spent the bulk of my artistic energy as a teacher working with students, helping them improve and excel, brainstorming with them, helping them create novel ideas or strong portfolios,” she said. “Then one day, I was doing a teacher workshop in San Juan County for Jean Irwin, of the Utah Arts Council, and she introduced me as ‘Our artist, Cindy Clark.’ I had never been introduced as anything besides a teacher. And that day it hit me: I am an artist.”
“I am an artist.”
That experience totally changed the way she thought of herself. “I value being a teacher and a mom, but I realized that I am an artist too,” Cindy said. “Being an artist brings joy, fulfillment and helps us become lifelong learners. Whether it’s music, dance, drama or visual arts, let your soul expand with the arts.”
“Arts engage the imagination, build self-confidence, foster flexible ways of thinking and validate our feelings in a world that deadens feelings,” Cindy said. “The arts make the world worth living in and help define purpose.”
Have you experienced an “I am an artist!” moment? How has visual art impacted your life? Do you have a favorite artwork? Please, share with us in the comments below!
All images courtesy of ©Cynthia Lewis Clark.
Laura Giles is a lover of all things art, a first-grade teacher in Alpine School District, a writer for the Daily Herald newspaper, an Arts Leadership Academy graduate and has earned the Arts Integration Endorsement from Brigham Young University. She can be reached at LauraCGiles@gmail.com.