Ira Epstein

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What I teach.
Why I teach.
How I teach.

— what?

In each class, I pursue specific, mapped-out and clearly documented goals …but that’s just part of it. There is excitement to share and context and meaning to explore. Also, there has to be room for every student to make discoveries of their own.

I've divided my classes into the following areas. Please select a subtopic:

design
fine art
hybrid
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— why?

Because teaching art is my mission. I believe that art elevates everyone who engages it. Regardless of the goal, be it career or exclusively personal, I believe art-making reaches out in every direction. It enriches the artist and in that way enriches the world at large.

Most of my classes have been required studio classes covering a variety of topics for art majors. Yet through each I've learned a similar thing – that what I love most is fanning the sparks of creativity in anyone who chooses to recognize that their sparks exist. I'm devoted to encouraging their ignition.

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— how?

I have “timed” lesson plans that I share via handouts (called Daily Schedules) with every student in almost every class. The schedules are also made available online via a website maintained for the purpose. The lessons are designed to fit school-specific timelines with core material that can easily be restructured for semesters and sessions of different length. But I would like to point out that I only use these super-specific Daily Schedules as a spring board; time spent is actually determined by the individual class’s needs. The pace of each group varies widely and so my schedules serve mainly as a map, a utilitarian – but malleable – guide pointing to essential outcomes.

Please select a subject to see an actual lesson plan:

Every class begins with appropriate fundamentals — the primary elements of the given subject. Formal elements are studied, relevant elements of communication are discussed, techniques are learned – and creative solutions to problems are sought. Along the way I'll often reference influential artwork from the particular discipline's present or history; and I may also reference the artwork of other areas, including geographic locations, cultures and timeframes.

I encourage a warm atmosphere, safe, focused, and mutually supportive. Short lectures or group critiques are generally followed by lengthy hands-on time where students join me in specific exercises. Homework assignments augment the class material. Minimal reading gets assigned. Each session incrementally mounts to fulfil the goals established in the curriculum.

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