By Megan Ewert (MFA 2013)

I knew I wanted to be a teacher the first time I walked out of critiques in my Painting I class in undergrad. Fairly shattered by the less than stellar feedback, I remember asking my painting teacher, “Am I just not cut out for this?”
To which she replied, “There are all kinds of artists.”

There are also all sorts of teachers, whose outlook on art is shaped by their education and experiences.  I decided that I wanted to be a teacher capable of offering my students a variety of ideas and perspectives about contemporary art theory and practice.  During my undergrad years at Kansas City Art concept was king and my studies focused on the expansion of the idea of painting often through interdisciplinary means.  When it was time to choose a graduate school, I chose the Academy knowing it would be drastically different than my undergraduate education and I wanted to be a part of a community of artists that valued not only a figurative tradition, but also its community of painters.

During my time at the Academy, I was determined to gain teaching experience.  I started out as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for Continuing Education (CE) classes assisting in beginner courses.  At the beginner level, I was able to offer practical demonstrations, give feedback on the CE student’s work while observing the instructor’s teaching techniques. After graduation, I decided to continue to pursue teaching and gain more experience by becoming a Teaching Assistant in the MFA Program. I signed up for a variety of courses ranging from studio to seminar classes, expanding my repertoire of subjects I would become qualified to teach.

I  wanted to go above and beyond what was expected of me. I set out to build relationships with students and extend my participation outside of class.  I set up one-on-one meetings, edited research and thesis paper drafts and gave personal studio critiques. For each course, I committed an additional four hours a week to further interact with students and create resources for their benefit.  One of these projects included the creation of an online image data base: ART and CULTURE: Images (Art and Culture I: IMAGES and Art and Culture II: IMAGES). To help expand students' knowledge of artists, both historical and contemporary, I compiled every artist’s name mentioned during each class and uploaded images. This database is an art historical resource that also helps students discover new artists to reference in their studio practice.

As a side project to a class I am currently TA-ing, I am developing an online community that would act as a resource and forum for information regarding studio/group critiques ( CRITIQUE-CRITIC (CC) will be a resource for information about different approaches to art criticism while examining institutional art critiques. This website will not only be a compilation of different perspectives but a place to post student work—in progress or otherwise—to get feedback from other students in programs nationwide. As a direct outcome of this project, I hope to create a platform that showcases emerging artists and writers. 

To date, my work as a TA has allowed me to work with several amazing artists including John Cichowski, Bonnie DeWitt, Catherine Howe, John Jacobsmeyer, and Jean-Pierre Roy. Being a Teaching Assistant has not only helped me improve my ability to demonstrate and communicate the knowledge I acquired at the Academy, but also to create connections with current students, faculty, and alumni outside of the classroom. It has allowed me to pursue my goal of becoming a teacher while also allowing me to give back to the Academy community post graduation. 


Interested in becoming a TA at the Academy?  Please contact Katie Hemmer in the Academic Office

To learn more about Megan Ewert visit her website

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