What Is an Art Lecturer?

Mark Wollacott

An art lecturer is someone who teaches art in a school or university. Art teachers tend to only teach the one subject. In university and in college, they tend to be called art lecturers or art professors. In kindergarten through high school, or in British secondary schools, they are usually called art teachers.

An art lecturer may lecture on art history.
An art lecturer may lecture on art history.

In order to become an art lecturer, applicants will need both qualifications and artistic talent. They will also need skills and qualities intrinsic to teaching. In terms of qualifications, potential lecturers for grade school will require a bachelor’s degree with a completed teaching program and a teaching license. Teaching programs can be taken in-degree or as a postgraduate qualification.

An art lecturer does not make money from the art, but from teaching it to people.
An art lecturer does not make money from the art, but from teaching it to people.

Universities may offer different routes to becoming a teacher. For example, many university lecturers complete postgraduate and then doctorate studies on their chosen subject. As they progress, they take up teaching roles with undergraduates. Other specialists, such as experts within a certain artistic field, may be invited to lecture specific modules and courses.

Artistic talent is more subjective to define than simple qualifications. Most art teaching jobs will require the lecturer to demonstrate a wide number of disciplines. While many will specialize in one particular area of art, they will have to know the basics of artistic areas such as painting, drawing and pottery.

Teaching about art is not just about practical demonstrations and class participation. The art lecturer is required to be well-versed in all aspects of art history and art theory. This includes combining or comparing different theories such as classical art and postmodernism.

The art lecturer does not make money from the art, but from teaching it to children or to adults. Their role is not just instructional, but also inspirational. Inspiring students to take up a lifelong love of art is one of the key qualities of being a good teacher.

Qualities inherent in good teachers are difficult to define, but include patience, good speaking skills, empathy and thick skin. Some subjects such as the student’s native language, math and science are considered important throughout a student’s life. Art lecturers tend to know their chosen subject is not a key skill, but more of a hobby or elective course.

Teaching art requires thorough planning, knowledge of various pieces of equipment from easels to kilns and the procurement of lots of artistic tools such as paints and pencils. Not being a textbook-taught subject gives the art lecturer more freedom to vary classes, create new lesson plans and inspire students. These teachers are also better able to accommodate different skill sets amongst their students.

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