February 13, 2020
"The sense of community ... cannot be replicated without being there in the moment."
Dustin Smith has taught at Greensburg Community High School in Indiana for 10 years. His preferred studio art medium is oil paint, but he loves almost any drawing tool and finds reasons to be enthusiastic about whatever he happens to be teaching at the moment. As part of the Summer Teacher Residency cohort of 2018, he found camaraderie around art making that just isn’t available to him at school, where he is the only art teacher.
“The most valuable thing was the in-person, real-time critique,” Smith said. “The sense of community that grew among the residents and mentors is something that cannot be replicated without being there in the moment. Having conversations about our own artwork with peers is something that I rarely get to do.”
During his residency, he created 35 canvases, each 12 inches square, that composed a large still life. “The entire painting was done in burnt sienna, then each square was glazed in various colors. The idea was to emphasis the art creation method over the subject matter.”
Over time, he has shared his residency experiences with students. “It gets them motivated to work and excited about college,” Smith said.
Recenty, he completed two commissions for a project with the city of Greensburg. Surprises often come along with such collaborations. In this case, Smith said, he often had to communicate with people who had little direct knowledge about the project. That said, the project turned out well, and even the surprises were good ones.
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