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Kelly Manning

1211 Garfield Street


Lexington, NE 68850

Teaching Philosophy
Phone: 308.233.0302
Email: kellykozakmanning@gmail.com
Website: kellykozakmanning.com

My role as a teacher and artist is to provide information to students


that enable them to change their way of seeing, to alter and enrich their
perception of life. This altered perception involves not only a broadening of
their worldview, as learning in general certainly does, but also a deep
engagement with seeing in daily lifeseeing beyond mental abstraction.
Take the simple act of encountering a chair as an example. Rather than
seeing a chair and letting the mind quickly label chair and then return to its
usual mental chatter, an artist learns how to observe the chairhow the
chairs legs slowly taper toward the floor, how light falls on the cushions and
the shadow it caststruly seeing this usually mundane ordinary object in all
its quiet dignity. Truly seeing and experiencing life in the present moment is
the gift art brings to our world, in both its creation and its viewing experience.
Part of my job as an art instructor is to find as many ways possible to allow
this shift in perception to occur in students.
I believe the best approach to art education starts through teaching
strong foundational skills grounded in life observation. In my experience, this
has involved utilizing perceptual drawing, design strategies and observational
color theory in my foundations classes, mainly Introduction to Painting and
Two-dimensional Design. Teaching foundational art skills requires a high
degree of organization. In presenting the material to the students, I
disseminate the information in multiple forms, mainly demonstrations,
written handouts, and one-on-one mentoring. A successful demonstration
requires good speaking skills, being able to articulate through words the task
at hand, as well as confident doing skills, being able to show how to
accomplish the task at hand. Visual aids, such as examples of finished
paintings or paintings in different stages Julia Childs-style, give the students a
better idea of how the assignment will develop. To supplement my
demonstrations, I give detailed written handouts that often double as my
demonstration notes. These handouts serve as reminders lest students
forget important aspects of the visual demonstration. Finally, and probably
the most crucial way of reinforcing the material is through one-on-one
mentoring. This occurs after demonstrations and reading, when the student
is digesting that information and applying it for the first time. Often, its
through talking with the student individually as they are working that they
finally understand. Despite all the structure, I strive to create an
environment that is relaxed and non-threatening. It is important that the
students are comfortable creating artwork in front of other people, and arent
afraid to get feedback on their work so they can improve.
Mentoring has been the most rewarding aspect of my teaching
experience. Mentoring involves talking with students individually, showing
techniques and giving advice, or simply talking about life as it relates to their

Kelly Manning

1211 Garfield Street


Lexington, NE 68850

Teaching Philosophy
Phone: 308.233.0302
Email: kellykozakmanning@gmail.com
Website: kellykozakmanning.com

work. Giving feedback on students artwork is not always easy, as their


sense of self-worth and identity is often intertwined with their creations, so
that criticism of the artwork is taken for criticism of the self. A delicate
balance has to be achievedencouraging and building confidence in
following ones inner guidance, while being honest about what is not
successful in any particular work of art. Success in mentoring and achieving
this balance is often difficult to quantify, but signs of successful interactions
with students include seeing an increased production rate in the students
body of work, showing confidence, and seeing my advice was taken into
consideration.
My own artistic production has a positive impact on my ability to teach.
In the past, my office, which was connected to the painting studio, also
served as my personal studio. Students are able to see my studio practices:
how I build my palette, organize my studio space, and see my own progress
from one day to the next. Maintaining my own artistic practice strengthens
my empathy for students, and serves as a reminder of just how vulnerable,
deeply personal and at times just plain difficult it can be to create art.
Confidence and trust are essential in sharing such a personal creation with
another human being. Openly sharing my artistic struggles and victories with
students allows for this confidence and trust to build. Staying professionally
active also gives students an example of how an artist interacts with their
community. I strive to serve as a role model in this respect, through
communicating with students the ins and outs of my relationship with the
gallery Modern Arts Midtown in Omaha Nebraska, such as pricing a work of
art, the necessity of having gallery representation, or working towards a solo
show. I am also a proponent of supporting the arts in the local community.
This allows opportunities to meet other artists and get acquainted with
various artistic practices and customs. Becoming more involved in
community arts enriches our lives, expanding our capacity for critical
thinking, visual acuity and empathizing with variety of artists unique
perspectives.