Category Archives: Interviews

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Art Teachers View: Sarah Beaver Chesebrough

Category:Interviews,Press

Some time ago Dan (heART of the City) reached out to ask if I wanted to write occasionally about my journey to becoming an art teacher. Absolutely! I am honored to share my story because it really has been quite liberating, and to perhaps evangelize a bit (or a lot) about the importance of an art education. Apologies up front, though, I’m wordy. Dan- edit away. J

About 2 years ago I decided to change careers and go back to school to become a teacher, specifically, an art teacher. I worked in museum education for years, and have taught a lot of different kinds of classes in my free time over the years, and there is just something that I love so much about sharing knowledge and helping others grow. Over the years, my mom would drop suggestions that I would be a great teacher. She studied to be an art teacher herself. I chose a different career path in college, and honestly, life happened. Three kids later and two separate careers in museums and marketing later, with my husband finishing his masters and my own unrest in my career growing, it felt like the time was right to make some change happen.

I knew pretty early on in this adventure that I want to end up teaching at a middle school, and was overjoyed to be placed at one for my student teaching experience. You might at this point be wondering if I’m of sound mind. I’ll admit, there are days that I also question that-I left a wonderful job doing marketing for a company that I still deeply care for, working alongside amazing people (including my dad and sister) to enter a completely new world of education and frankly take on a job that was a thousand times harder than anything I’d ever done.

Well, it just happens that I’d blocked out time to start writing my first post one evening earlier week, which happened to follow on the heels of one of my hardest teaching days to date. From the time Dan first brought up the idea, I figured that I’d start off my guest blogging by talking about WHY I decided to make the change to teaching. Honestly, though, I don’t think I fully understood the importance until this week. Or how tough it was going to be.

I was going to give you the sunshine and roses version…following my dreams, finally taking a chance and doing what I really want, making art all day long with kids, blah blah blah… Yes, guiding a student to an ‘a-ha’ moment is amazing. So is watching them perk up when you share some super cool artist with them and then they come up to make sure they got the name so they can look the artist up later. But while those types of ‘teacher gold’ make me feel warm and fuzzy inside, I am beginning to see that they aren’t the most important reasons why I need to be a teacher.

Do you remember your own middle school years? Who here had a crap-tastic middle school experience? I’m going out on a limb and saying quite a few. Remember the hormones and weird body changes, bad decisions and impulse control, cat-fights and frenemies and bullying? No longer being kids but also not being adults-and the adults in our lives forgetting that you’re caught in-between worlds and heaping unrealistic expectations on you? Yeah, those years.

But middle school IS a phase, and most of us come through it stronger for the adversity, wiser for the mistakes, and with a clearer picture of who we are…. Except those of us who don’t. I’ve always had a weak spot for the hurting and confused, maybe because I identified with those emotions so much over the years. Early on in my transition to teaching program, I knew that I one of my main motivators was walking alongside students and being a positive influence in their lives- to be one more voice cheering for them. I just didn’t know how tough that was going to be.

This has been a tough week for several of my classes behavior-wise. What I have been learning is that the very students that are driving you bonkers with their misbehavior are the ones who are likely hurting the most. I learned that the kid who has been disrespectful and ignoring your authority for weeks on end will stand in the hall with tears in her eyes and talk about how overwhelming her life is and how she just doesn’t want to think about what is going on at home or how she feels like a failure at school so instead she tries to make people laugh and like her in class to avoid the pain. I learned that the kid who acts like he doesn’t want to be bothered to learn how to draw realistic objects and scribbles instead of working on his still life actually really is dying to know-but it feels too hard for him and he’s worried that his friends will laugh so he tells you instead that this is dumb. I learned that, in theory, being there for the kids as they go through these tough years sounds noble and heroic, but in reality, it is messy and frustrating and sometimes it will feel completely overwhelming.

So, why teach? And why teach art? Those are two different questions, really, but the short answer is- I know art. I am really passionate about the benefits of an arts education. Art is a wonderful medium for self- expression and exploring the world around us. These are luxuries that frankly some other content areas aren’t often afforded in this day of standardized testing and rigid curriculum requirements. And the kids need them so much! Art can be used to build critical thinking skills, collaboration, etc….. I could go on. The bigger question, however, is why teach? In my short experience as a teacher, teaching as a profession as every bit as hard as popular myth would have it be. But these kids NEED us. The more they act out, the more they give you attitude, the more they don’t turn in their work, the more they are really telling us, “Don’t give up on me. I need help. I am scared and confused and I just need someone to care.”

P.S. I’m not sure I’m allowed to say what school I’m at but I couldn’t have asked for a better placement, and my supervising teacher and ‘the other’ art teacher are wonderful mentors and have taught me so much-so here’s your shout out guys-you know who you are!


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Featured Artist: Ando Anderson

Category:Featured,Featured Artist,Interviews,Press

If you came to Art On Broadway: Holiday Edition December 2nd, you may have popped into the Brass Rail to see this article’s featured artist’s work. Jeff “Ando” Anderson’s prints can be seen right inside the door across from the rail and are for sale. If you are a Brass “Railgular,” then his work isn’t new to you. Several of their posters have been designed by Ando throughout the years. The music industry seems to be a fan of his hip designs. Since he began designing, bands like Left Lane Cruiser, The Hooten Hallers, Tom Vanden Avond, Andy Frasco, Paul James, and Hillgrass Bluebilly Record label (Austin, TX) have all hired him in the past for posters, t-shirt or logo designs, and CD artwork.  When looking for inspiration to create, he said the best place is the “front row of a live music show.” Since he is a talent buyer/promoter at the Brass Rail as well as a bouncer, he can be surrounded by inspiration without too much of an expense.

So where did it all start? What impacted this artist’s participation in the art world? Well, he didn’t always live in Fort Wayne, for starters. He was born in Bluffton and raised mostly in Garrett. He accredits his art teacher Mr.Ober for inspiring him during his childhood.  Ando never had any formal “art” training outside of art class in high school. “I’ve had a little college but mostly self taught on that,” he said, explaining his graphic design background, “my college work didn’t really prepare me well for the real design world.” The two biggest motivators for creating art are money and boredom. Ando’s style and medium are inspired by graphic, pop, and folk art like that of Print Mafia ( http://printmafia.net/).

His current studio space is his kitchen table. When I asked him when he started identifying as an artist, I was in awe by his response:

“I’ve never identified myself as an artist. I probably never will, although there are some that will argue that point with me. I just feel like there are people out there that do way better work than me, that have gone to school for art and do this for a living. If I were to call myself an artist I’d be taking away from what they do.”

Humility is great. There are plenty of artists who could use a bit of it, but honestly Ando is not one of them. I am one of those people who is going to “argue that point” because his presence in Fort Wayne as an artist has been a defining part of my experience here. He deserves credit for his hard work, and definitely deserves the title of “artist.”

All my favorite places have little pieces of him.  He may not have had formal training, but Ando has been doing freelance graphic design for about 20 years. He formally began operating under “Pretty Good Posters” around 10 years ago. Ando has been making big moves in his business and recently opened an online merchandise store as well! Check it out if you have a chance!  <https://teespring.com/stores/prettygoodgeneralstore> 

His hard work is evident in his constant local presence. He had a skateboard painting hung in Portland, Oregon and Chicago for a traveling show. It now hangs in the Bravas dining room along with another piece of his. Pint-N-Slice has had his work in their upstairs gallery. When Cinema Center had their ReMake fundraiser, he was a part of it.  For his first solo show last year at the Dash-In, he collaborated with Amber Cox, Jared Andrews and Rick Racket. This is one of the first shows I had the pleasure of seeing. Since then, he has shown at Trubble Brewing (September 4th-October 23rd), the Cinema Center for Fright Night, and now has a show at the Brass Rail.

      

(Pictures from his art show at Trubble Brewing back in September/October. Left to right: Jimmy Bananas, Dead Deads Invasion, and Party Cat)

What is it about Fort Wayne that made him want to be here, you ask? Well, “Fort Wayne is cool,” he said, “It’s big but not too big. It’s trying.” It’s a place with small town kindness but big talent. As a dad, it’s a good place to raise his daughter. One of the most important things to him, I found out, is being a full time dad. “I don’t take myself super seriously,” he claimed. When I asked for something people might want to know about him, his response had me rolling:

“I have a third nipple and one butt cheek hangs lower than the other.  I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom. My favorite movie is Face/Off or anything with Nicolas Cage”

He is a quiet man, but when he creates it is gold. His sense of humor is pretty great too, as you can tell. If you see him around, stop and say hello.  As you can probably tell, it is well worth it.

Jeff “Ando” Anderson, owner of Pretty Good Posters, is also always available for commissions, collaborations, and requests. You contact him on social media if you are interested:

https://www.instagram.com/prettygoodposters/

https://www.facebook.com/prettygoodposters/

 


Written By: Jenna Turpin


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