Teacher Feature- Juana Meneses
My work is usually attached to a site or a specific place and I use those geographic markers to speak about how we build identity. When I lived in Los Angeles the dessert and the US / Mexico border were the sites I used to think about how fluid and changing ideas about ourselves are. When I moved back to Miami 5 years ago the Everglades became that in between space. As a Colombian immigrant the in-between is where I live and all of my work comes from.
What inspired you to become an educator:
Becoming an arts educator happened almost by accident for me. I had an internship as a gallery educator in the Chicago Cultural Arts Center 15 years ago when I was getting my BFA at SAIC. I loved it. I have a genuine enthusiasm for sharing art with audiences. I simply love the discovery process and teaching for me is about opening a door to a world that I try to spend as much time in as possible. After that, I sought out teaching opportunities and I have spent most of my professional life teaching in museums and arts organizations as well as teaching college classes. Two and a half years ago I decided to give classroom teaching a try and a job that I had dreamed about became available at New World.
Ultimately I love to draw and paint and that can take many forms. It could exist in as an artist’ book, an animation or a painting.
Proudest teaching moment.
My proudest teaching moments are when I can help a student surpass what they thought they could do or understand. This happened when I taught Art History to non-majors in College and now at New World with my sophomore and seniors students. It always feels like an unveiling. I think almost all learning happens that way. It is a slow build-up of concepts and skill building that eventually adds up to a revelation. Being present and witnessing those moments is what makes me proud to be an arts educator.
Having lunch with an artist:
It would be around table of writers and artists. For the writers it would be Haruki Murakami, Margaret Atwood, Maya Angelou and for artists Wangechi Mutu, Peter Doig and Lisa Congdon. All of these people have a very particular vision of the world and they are determined to live in that vision.
Personal and Professional Goals:
I want to integrate my artwork and product based business more into my daily life. At this moment I want to spend as much time in the company of other creative people that are investing all of their energy into making their goals happen.