Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2011

Faculty Award winner

Kevin Haran

 College of Arts and Humanities

 School of Visual Arts and Design

My goal in teaching studio art is to give students a college-level experience in creating a body of work that they would not have made on their own. This work will represent an awareness of traditional and contemporary issues in art. I challenge art students while offering encouragement as they pursue their education. In my classes I strive to motivate students to develop an intuitive process of seeing and to build a vocabulary that will enable the students to visualize this process. Many studio assignments are directly linked to issues that I have been exploring in my work over the last fifteen years.

Most studio projects in my classes involve direct observation of the still life and of the human form. In my beginning classes I teach traditional issues of technique, process and composition. I believe that students need this basic foundation in studio art before they begin working in more advanced classes and at the graduate level. In working with intermediate and advanced students, I often use models for figure drawing, emphasizing structural and expressive issues. I believe that the figure is a timeless motif that art students must be exposed to in their course of study. Based on my experience with students, the figure can be an end in itself but also very instructional for the aspiring graphic designer and animator.

One of my challenging projects involves building a life-size, planar model of the human skull. The class completes this project in one week, and the resulting model is then used for doing a series of drawings. This is one example of how I try to get the students invested in the subject by building their own motif that is then translated into another media.

I believe that studying examples from the history of art is a crucial aspect of teaching studio art and I use past imagery whenever possible. In addition to historical examples, I encourage my students to visit local museums and galleries to see and study contemporary work. As a former gallery director and museum educator, I believe in the gallery / museum as a supplemental teaching space where students should view, contemplate, and critique art.