21 Sep Julia Zak – Montclare’s Got Talent!
Interview with Julia Zak – Montclare Art Teacher
Speaker/Panelist at National Art Education Association Confrence
Montclare’s got talent! One of our Art Studio teachers (the other being Jane Ramirez), Julia Zak, was invited to be a panelist at the National Art Education Association Conference. Julia was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about her experience.
What was the subject of your presentation at the Conference?
The subject of my presentation at the conference was a semester long project I completed for a course I took in my Art Education Master’s program. The course focused on the importance of educators nurturing relationships to build an inclusive sense of community with their students. The semester long project had us focus on one community that we did not have much prior knowledge about. We engaged in thoughtful and insightful assignments to engage and learn about the people in the community. I presented with my professor and two fellow classmates.
What first attracted you to becoming an Art Educator?
I have always been fascinated with the various ways children express creativity, imagination, and their view of the world. Watching children play, you can see how easily they transform a simple block into a castle, boat, horse, or giant shoe. I see art as an extension of this type of playing. Art is a way for children to transform, create, and imagine. I wanted to become a part of that playing, to facilitate children in expanding their learning, creativity, and imagination.
Beyond being an educator, what draws you to the arts?
I am an artist. I focus mainly on photography. When possible, I still use film and analog developing. However, most of my current work is digital. I use photography to explore the world around me, photographing everyday objects, creating large-scale images of very small objects.
Did you learn anything you’d like to share while you were at the conference or presenting?
The conference was a great learning opportunity for me. It reinforced many of my beliefs in art education. Mainly, that art education is not just about learning how to create artwork. But it is a tool to learn skills, expand ones creativity and critical thinking skills, as well as how to manipulate material to create something we may see in our imagination. I learned about new techniques, project ideas, and materials that have already been incorporated into the art program at Montclare.
How did you become involved with The National Art Education Association?
I became involved with the National Art Education Association through my Master’s program. The program director encourages us to become involved with various art educator associations and organizations. It is a great way for us to stay connected to our colleagues across the city and across the country. It is also a great way to learn about different art projects, techniques, and materials. Art teachers are great at sharing ideas and lesson plans!
Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience?
It was a great opportunity for me to attend the conference. To be surrounded by thousands of my colleagues – to learn, teach, and interact with them. I look forward to more opportunities like this and learning new things to bring back to the Montclare community.
Thank you, Julia! We are fortunate to have you here at Montclare.