Sometimes a wobble
is a stance.
Lia Purpura's poem "Belief"
Here we welcome adaptation and creative evolution.
We share resources, and perspectives from educators as we collectively re-envision the whats, whys, and hows of "best practices" in studio art education.
Projects and ideas exchanged here may not yet be fully developed or enacted in a classroom, but contributors foresee their potential. This potential will grow as we build from each others’ offerings.
This website, since it may be edited at any time, is an opportunity for academics to reimagine, restructure, and reframe.
Whatdowedonow.art will evolve collectively, as we continue to question our approaches with our students, our classroom environments, our communities, and ourselves.
In the spirit of social sculpture, our goals are to:
Build support for the challenges we currently face in art education
Welcome and support adaptation in academic dissemination
Provide a virtual workshop space for seeding ideas and experiments
Envision and prepare for the future landscape our classes (online, in person, out in the world)
Collectively source and offer for free project prompts and examples for educators to build from
Encourage open, inclusive dialogue and collaboration
Question productively, and allow these questions to lead us
What do we, as art educators, need to sustain our classrooms?
What do our students need to stay connected to their academic goals?
How do different teaching formats impact our students?
What do we do now?
Other challenges also continue: Material costs, funding, safety, burn out, teaching loads, etc. Collaboratively, we will continue answering “What do we do now?” with productive and concrete approaches.
In May of 2020, two studio art professors, Naomi J. Falk & Stacy Isenbarger, had a #&%! conversation. Facing the strong possibility that the classes they loved teaching the most in person would be forced online, they dealt with their frustrations by fostering possibilities. Supporting each other, they shifted their energies into creating a resource where faculty could share their new and retooled classroom approaches in a more adaptive format.
Naomi asked “What do we do now?” The spirit of this question became this website.
Other helpful resource formats existed. Many supportive Facebook exchange groups were already answering their call, but the ever-streaming information was getting buried and harder to find. Better sorting was available through publication and conference formats, but, since dissemination traditionally espouses proven outcomes, pandemic time did not yet allow for helpful output. So, we developed this site as a more readily adaptable resource with the ability to stay in flux.
We've started as two professors with a passion for outreach and an understanding our own time limitations. As others, driven to strategize and connect join in, our approach continues to evolve. 2020 changed our understanding of what’s possible, and we continue to building beyond its ruptures. Back then we couldn't be within six feet of each other, but we can continue to extend our reach here.
You may find residue of thinking through the pandemic in various projects shared, but the spirit of exchange remains in these artifacts. It's this spirit that fueled us to build this platform. Just as stances are made to be questioned, countered, and adapted from, so too are any ideas exchanged here. As we continue to ask what's next, we hope you will too.
When academic terrain seems shaky, let's find our footing together. With each project and resource you help us share, our collective reach strengthens and fortifies. Thank you for joining us.
Naomi J. Falk
Co-Creator, Contributing Editor
Naomi J. Falk is a sculptor and installation artist. Her work examines our relationships with the manufactured and natural landscapes we inhabit, exploring the current climate, socially, environmentally, and politically. She’s an Assistant Professor in Studio Art: 3D Studies at the University of South Carolina. She grew up in the wilds of Michigan and, from an early age, planned to be an archaeologist, a brain surgeon, a heart surgeon, a meteorologist, and travel the world with Jacques Cousteau.
(He was an underwater explorer and conservationist and made films for tv about his adventures). None of those worked out, but she did learn to scuba dive, studied sculpture and ceramics at Michigan State and Portland State Universities, and received an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University.
M. Michelle Illuminato
M. Michelle Illuminato creates events, public-exchanges, and artworks to help reveal the complicated and often contradictory relationship between people, their culture and the land they live on. She often works with the collective next question and counts her Key to the City of Aliquippa Pennsylvania as her most treasured public award.
Michelle is an Associate Professor at Portland State University where she heads the CORE Program and teaches Pedagogy + Praxis to social practice and visual art graduate students. Always looking for the positive, she has been devising new ways to communicate with students as alternatives to our new main mode, Zoom. (Think: letters, group walks using phones, online fairs, and kite-flying). She received an MFA from University of Wisconsin – Madison and BFA from Carnegie Mellon University.
Stacy Isenbarger’s creative pursuits include sculpture, installation, mixed-media drawings & student mentorship. She received her BFA at Clemson University & her MFA from the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia—two places she has tremendous gratitude for especially in regard to how both experiences shaped her approach to teaching.
As Foundations Coordinator and Associate Professor of Art + Design at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, USA, she celebrates her opportunities to explore creative communication and empowerment. When she's not teaching or making—and sometimes when she is—she's usually dancing since the act continuously validates her joy.
Claudia Morales McCain
Claudia Morales McCain is an abstract painter and educator based in the San Francisco bay area. She received her BFA at California State University, Fullerton & her MFA in Drawing and Painting from California State University, Long Beach. Claudia has exhibited her work throughout the United States & abroad including the Torrance Art Museum (CA), The Pacific Design Center (CA), University Art Museum (CA), Arizona State University (AZ), Kohler Arts Center (WI), Alexander Calder Arts Center (MI), United States Embassy, New Zealand, and Centro Nacional De Arte (El Salvador).
Claudia teaches drawing and painting at Santa Rosa Junior College. When she is not teaching, you can find her drawing or painting away in the studio or exploring her new found love for anything to do with clay.