Should all artists teach? I was recently discussing this topic with a few other artists. Some people say that all artists should teach and educate others as a means of supporting themselves. They believe that teaching a skill is a good revenue stream to support ones' creative pursuits. No one can deny that. But, on the other hand, teaching is a skill in and of itself and perhaps not all artists are cut out to be educators.
As an artist who has taught of dozens of art workshops over several years, I don't believe that all artists are destined to be teachers; however, I've enjoyed facilitating every one of my classes and am positive that teaching is for me. Here's why:
- Sharing Knowledge: I love facilitating my watercolor classes to groups of mostly beginner-level adults. Through my demonstrations and sharing my techniques, others can have an accessible starting place to begin something new. Being a part of a teeny tiny transformation in another person and witnessing those ah-ha moments is extremely gratifying.
- The Joy Of Something New: Learning new skills and jumping into that 'growing zone' is something that adults don't do enough of. Taking the time and space to learn something new takes intention, and a certain level of commitment, be it an hour long workshop, or a daily challenge.
- Student Interaction: Much of my work week is spent solo. As an entrepreneur, running workshops allows me to meet people, interact with the public, and collaborate with some awesome local businesses like Timber Pizza, Buffalo and Bergen, and Toki Underground!
- Growth: While my workshops tend to focus on demonstrating basics, I also find myself diving deeper into certain skills when people ask for further explanation. These moments keep the classes challenging for me, which I enjoy because I'm also constantly learning. I am reminded of a friend who says, you never stop getting better! And with regard to teaching, I think this is true, too.