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Park Tudor Blogs

Park Tudor's Teaching Artists, Designers, Musicians and Performers
Heather Teets, Director of Fine Arts

Our Park Tudor Fine Arts Department is comprised of professional artists, musicians, performers and educators who bring a depth of passion, education, expertise and experience to their teaching practice.

As a team, we support one another in a multitude of ways, one of which is through our encouragement to sustain our personal practice. Whether during the school year or the summer, many of our faculty are working in the local arts community and beyond. We recognize that teachers who are active in their respective fields, taking creative risks, are often more sensitive and dialed in to the challenges encountered by their students.

Artists as teachers and teachers as artists cultivate flexible learning environments. In a co-constructive space, the student sees the teacher as a learner, as someone who does not have all of the answers but one who must approach problems with curiosity - one who experiments, creates, tests, and practices. Collaborative inquiry and sharing of ideas means that teachers are often learning alongside students. Learning is viewed not as a mutually exclusive concept for the student, but rather as a shared experience for the acquisition of knowledge and skills to benefit a community of learners.

This past summer our faculty read Neuroteach: Brain Science and the Future of Education, which continues to inspire our conversations on how neuroscience plays an important role in teaching and learning. Chapter 12 of the book is titled: Teachers as Researchers. Authors Glenn Whitman and Ian Kelleher suggest two approaches:

1)    Teaching strategies informed by mind, brain and education (MBE) science: which strengthens the teacher-student relationship; and

2)    Curriculum Understanding: which strengthens the teacher-content relationship.

The authors are ‘aiming for: teachers solving problems of pedagogy in context, in a collaborative fashion, with a reflective and iterative process - problems that are learning-focused’ (p.164).

As working artists, we experience first-hand problem-based learning, which takes place within the contexts of authentic tasks and issues that are aligned with our personal work. Working in close proximity provides our department with opportunities to be iterative in our teaching and art-making by getting feedback from each other, trying new approaches, reflecting and revising. In addition, our work outside of Park Tudor in the local arts community provides collaboration with external partners who add a vital dimension of feedback and support.

At the end of the year, our Department will be joining together for a retreat to continue our work around MBE education, as well as 21st - Century initiatives in the arts.

Click here to view works by Park Tudor Fine Arts Faculty.

Please stop by to view the Fine Arts Faculty Art Exhibition currently on view in Leffler Gallery from February 1 - March 1, 2019


How does your personal art-making influence your teaching?

      “Each time I perform in public, I am reminded of what frightens my students. Confidence (or lack of), preparation, physical condition, mental attitude, and desire are all factors that my students experience when I ask them to perform for me or in front of other students. Thus, I consider all of these issues when determining achievement levels for each of my students.”

      “As a ceramic artist and teacher, my hands are constantly in clay. My personal art making keeps my teaching inspired and fresh. As I create new work and explore new techniques, I am constantly reflecting on how I can incorporate said techniques into my students’ learning experience or am inspired with a new project idea for them.”

      “I always teach materials and techniques I have used myself, so that when I see a student struggling I can advise them on what worked for me. In the case of the current faculty exhibition, I am showing work using materials and techniques that I am teaching in my classes this year.”

      “Staying active in the community as a professional musician keeps my own musical creativity flowing. I believe I am then able to transfer this musical vitality into my teaching.”

      “Performing professionally allows me to gain knowledge & experience that I am able to apply to my methods & content that is used in the classroom. It helps me learn additional repertoire, work with conductors, directors, costume designers & choreographers in the field.”

How does your personal artistic practice influence your interactions with students?

      “I am constantly encouraging my students and colleagues to take creative risks. Sharing my continued photographic practice inspires my students and demonstrates I would not ask them to try something I would not do myself. Sharing my work also opens the door for stronger connections and relationships with my students. I believe it is important that I model the artistic habits of mind I am espousing to my students and colleagues.”

      “My interaction with my students is more mentor and mentee – I consider my students “young artists” rather than students. I teach them techniques to help them be successful with clay but allow them to generate their own ideas and make personal decisions about their creations.”

      “As a result of reviewing the fundamentals of good musicianship on a daily basis in my own practice time, they are fresh on my mind when I work with my students.”

      “My desire to expand and improve my artistic abilities drives me to continue taking workshops and learning new techniques. The experience of being a student helps me be empathetic to my students—making art, especially in a classroom setting where there are other people around—can be very intimidating, especially when you are trying a new approach or material that you haven’t used before. Also, as an exhibiting artist, I have plenty of anecdotes about both times when I put my artwork up for judging and had success, and also when I did not . . . this is helpful when encouraging them to enter their own work in contests and exhibitions outside of school. I always share with them opportunities to participate in local exhibitions, and one of my favorite things is when we exhibit together.”

      “I believe I have compassion for the stages of the emotional feelings of my students as they undertake the task of learning each new piece that we study because I go through the exact same feelings as I practice and struggle for unreachable perfection with my violin and viola.”

How does your personal artistic practice impact the way you construct and use learning environments?

      “I always clean up before I start something new. Having a fresh space helps clear the head for new thoughts and ideas.”

      “I know that organization is very important—whether you’re a student or a professional, studio time is precious, and there is nothing more irritating than wasting it looking for a tool or material you need. As a landscape painter who works from a combination of direct observation, sketches, and photographs, I also know that getting out of the studio from time to time can inject new energy, so I take students outside in good weather, into the auditorium during set construction, to the dance studio for gesture drawing, and into the gallery during our visiting artist exhibitions.”

      “I always expect the best of myself and want my students to see that and do the same. I like interpreting music, there are many ways a student may express his/her talents. It's my job to explore all of those possibilities in each of my students.”

      “Working professionally during the summer allows me to keep up with best practices in the world of theater. I adapt that to the high school level and give my students the opportunity to succeed backstage in leadership and team roles. Our stage managers at Park Tudor are some of the best that I have encountered. I am confident that our stage managers could call a professional show and not miss a beat.”

      “Throughout the rehearsal process, I have to find ways to deconstruct the story and make each moment have impact for both a cast and audience. My lesson planning is done the same way: each week I try to figure out how I can make the important learning outcomes have an emotional resonance with my students, so that it is meaningful to their own understanding of the big-picture concept.”

How does your teaching influence your personal artistic practice?

      Teaching allows me to remember to break things down into manageable pieces. Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed, I make sure to back away from the problem at hand and try to break it down into smaller parts, just like I would for my students.”

      “Sometimes learning a challenging work can feel like a daunting task to my students. I teach them to break down difficult passages into smaller, more manageable chunks. Gradually, by putting these smaller chunks together, mastery of the entire passage can be achieved. Seeing this process work with my students helps me be patient in my own personal practice when I'm faced with a difficult piece.”

      “I love learning, and because teaching requires constant learning, it is the best thing ever. My students are a tremendous inspiration to me—every day they make and do things that would never occur to me to do. While I can’t think of a specific example of a time when I adopted and idea or technique directly from a student, what being in the school environment does for me is keep my mind and eyes open to possibilities within my own work, because my students show me that every question raised by a studio art exercise or assignment has an infinite number of right answers.”

      “My students constantly inspire my personal artistic practice with the ideas and artwork they create. Their energy, and curiosity for learning to work with clay refreshes my personal passion to grow my skill sets with working clay to better myself as an artist and teacher.”

      “Teaching has continued to grow my abilities to manage large groups of people and to problem solve quickly. Producing live theater in an outdoor venue presents challenges that have to be dealt with quickly.”

Please list any performances/exhibitions you have engaged in the past two years in your personal art-practice:

Nolan Brokamp

      I am currently the Production Manager and a company member of Indianapolis Shakespeare Company We will be performing Hamlet this summer in our new home in Riverside Park where construction will start soon on our new outdoor amphitheater that will tie into the Taggart Memorial.

Stefanie Dean

      Shows: Indieana Handicraft Exchange (Summer 16,17,18 & Winter 17,18); Bloomington Handmade Market 2018; Yelp Bazaar 2017, 2018; Irvington Halloween Festival 2017; Crafty Supermarket (Cincinnati, OH) 2017; Crafty Mart (Akron, OH) 2017; The Art Market (Fort Wayne) 2017; Cleveland Bazaar 2017;

      Sell at several stores across the US including Homespun (Indianapolis); FOLD Gallery (Los Angeles); Moonshine (Portsmouth, NH); Edge of Urge (Wilmington & Raleigh); Burning Books (Buffalo); Wonder Fair (Lawrence, KS)

Lorelei Farlow

      I am a freelance musician who performs professionally for weddings, receptions, church events, and other concerts.  I am principal violist with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis, and I often play with the Anderson Symphony and Lafayette Symphony as well.  I am the violist with the Mannheim Quartet and violinist with the Village String Quartet.  My professional experiences include performing in orchestras accompanying artists such as David Baker, the Moody Blues, Natalie Cole, and Kyle Cook.

      In addition to my contracted responsibilities, I spend every Sunday evening with a quartet of friends playing standard chamber music literature just for fun!

      I invite everyone to attend the next concert of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis! It is our 21st annual Gospel Concert. Saturday, February 17, 3:00PM  at Pike Performing Arts Center. ​

Chuck Flowers

      Indianapolis Brass Choir, Indianapolis Trombone Choir, Carmel Symphony, Indy Express Band

Marlina Koonce

      I have participated in numerous art fairs including: Penrod, Carmel International Art Festival, and St. James Art Show, selling my work through my small business, Under the Glaze. I also have work currently on display in the Leffler Gallery

Lamonte Kuskye

      Every Sunday at Pendleton First United Methodist Church. I'm either conducting or playing.

      Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre: audition accompanist (2016-18) rehearsal accompanist (2016-19) assistant musical director (Singing in the Rain 2018)

      Indianapolis Civic Theatre: Young Artist Program - Music Director Grease (2017), Legally Blonde (2016); workshop presenter on audition skills and character preparation (2018) accompanist for guest artists Josh Kauffman and Telly Leung (2017, 2018)

Jennifer Nie

      As a conductor: 2016-present: Holiday & Spring of 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019: Young Voices of Indianapolis Concerts; conductor of Preparatory Choir
Tours with Young Voices of Indianapolis:

      Summer 2017: Took Concert Choir on Tour with Young Voices & Performed at Sydney Opera House, Australia; March 2019: Taking Concert Choir (Young Voices of Indianapolis) to perform at Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL.

      As an Opera Singer:

- February 2019: Opera Chorus in Concert, Indianapolis Opera

                - November 2018: La Boheme, Opera Chorus & Children's Chorus Director,   Indianapolis Opera

                - November 2017: La Traviata, Opera Chorus, Indianapolis Opera

Tracey Petrov

      I have been working on small projects in my studio.

Laura Schroeder

      2016: 1st place in Painting, Indiana State Fair, “Home in Indiana” at City Gallery at the Harrison Center for the Arts, teacher contest section of “19 Stars of Indiana Art” at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (with Kathy Campbell!), “Encounter: A Sci-Fi and Fantasy Art Experience” at the Garfield Park Arts Center.

      2017: “#Resist” at Indy Convergence, “Every Trick in the Book” book arts exhibition at the Harrison Center for the Arts.

      2018: "The Post-It Show" at Sugar Space Gallery (with students), “Impressed: A Printmaking Exhibit” at the Garfield Park Arts Center, “Black History Month: Heroes” at the Garfield Park Arts Center (with students). Every year: Indiana State Fair, “Art in the Garden” at the 3001 Building.

Heather Teets

      2016 “Spoleto, Italy” at Leonardo Umbria Gallery, Italy.

      2017 work published in Woven Tail Press, Volume #6.

      2018 Faculty Show in Leffler Gallery


      Instagram: heather.teets

Nicole Tremblay

  • 'Murder in the Library' -interactive murder mystery; 'Milo & Murphy' - IndyFringe short play festival