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What does an Art Instructor do?

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  • Written By: Cassie L. Damewood
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2018
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An art instructor teaches her students the basic concepts of creating art through a variety of applications and mediums. She traditionally helps them identify and develop individual talents. The teacher may work in a classroom setting or provide personalized training to individuals or small groups.

The basic mediums in which an art instructor teaches her pupils generally include drawing, sketching, painting, sculpting and multimedia art. She may specialize in one type of art instruction or provide a general curriculum that encompasses the fundamentals of several artistic forms. Some students concentrate on one artistic medium while others choose to experiment with several artistic modes of expression.

For each type of art she teaches, she normally demonstrates the technique or shares a good example of the technique being executed. This is especially applicable to drawing done with charcoal, pencil, pen and ink or soft ink tools, all of which produce dramatically different images. Painting is another artistic avenue in which the choice of oil or watercolors has a dramatic effect on the finished work. Multimedia art commonly incorporates found objects or debris into three-dimensional objects with frequently disputed artistic value.

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Her instruction commonly includes ideas on how to observe and study art to best understand the message or emotion being expressed by the artists. Trips to art museums, galleries or local art shows are typically part of an art instructor’s teaching program. These excursions are generally incorporated in the course to increase the students’ awareness of art history and inspire their own artistic development.

An art instructor is generally expected to provide students with guidance on techniques as well as offer them constructive criticism. Discovering an emerging talent in a student is normally an exciting part of an art instructor’s job. She is often less than enthusiastic, however, when she must gently inform pupils of their lack of talent or promise.

In addition to planning outings and providing classroom instruction, an art instructor typically selects the reading material for the class. She also commonly provides a list of supplies that each student will need for the course. In the spirit of inspiration, she frequently plans student contests or arranges local exhibits of her students’ work.

Art instructor positions usually require a bachelor’s degree in art or fine art. Courses in education may be helpful as well. A background as a professional artist, gallery owner, art critic or art museum employee can be an asset. If an art instructor works at a public education institution, she may be required to obtain additional licenses or certifications to be hired.

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