Unrequited Love ...for Learning Art: The need for offering tutelage outside of the art schools and academies
I have taught art for 15 years in various Universities in Canada and US and independent classes in Europe. I have also had the privilege of teaching courses for the Continuing Education program in the local community of Langley, of developing an artists’ collective and of doing private mentoring over several years. From these experiences I have become acutely aware of the gap between the grass roots art community and the art academy. I have met numbers of gifted people wanting to learn more about making art but have never had and never will have, the opportunity of formal education. I am currently in the process of attempting to develop some ways to bridge this gap locally and would like to open a discussion about the need, the possibilities and the people who might respond to a personal ad that went something like: Wanted: A Lover... of art and of community who would help develop the artistic voice and skills of local artists. We have unique life experiences but cannot be heard because we do not have the right credentials. We are mothers of all ages who could not attend art school. We are retired men, and young people with artistic gifts but no means of further education. Some of us are from other cultures or financially handicapped but we are intelligent, talented individuals who have a lot to contribute.
At a time when the Arts are being more embraced by the Christian community, it would be a positive goal to encourage upcoming art professionals to use their education and talents not only to become successful in the academic world and professional society, but to also reach out into the community and serve others, bringing vitality though the arts to a broad spectrum of communities.
Betty Spackman is an international multi-media installation artist and painter who has lived and exhibited in Canada, Europe and the US. Her work focuses on cultural objects and the stories connected to them. She is currently working on a multi media installation project scheduled for The Penticton Art Gallery, September - November, 2010. Now based in Fort Langley, British Columbia, Canada, she co-founded The Fort Gallery, an artist run gallery that serves the local community. She has taught studio art at various universities for over 15 years and is currently involved in community education and private mentoring. This year she will also teach two courses at Trinity Western University. Spackman has been a guest speaker at many conferences and retreats including The Greenbelt Festival in England, the IAM Conference in New York City, and “Art Talks” at the Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto, Canada. She is the author of A Profound Weakness. Christians and Kitsch, Piquant, UK 2005.