Teaching Artist Anndee Hochman
Welcome to our monthly feature, Teaching Artist Profiles – Today, we’re highlighting teaching artist Anndee Hochman, recognizing the benefits of arts education, and celebrating the children we serve.
Anndee Hochman has been working with Appel Farm as a teaching artist since 2013, with a focus on Appel Farm’s HeART & Health programs. She has worked in a variety of settings: school-based and after-school programs, juvenile detention centers and group homes, senior centers and writing conferences.
“Anndee Hochman is a journalist and essayist who listens intimately, questions fearlessly and writes frankly about people, families, and communities. She cherishes small details and pokes at big questions. Anndee especially seeks voices from the margins, truths that surprise and connect, stories that make it harder for us to dismiss each other.” –AnndeeHochman.com
What makes Appel Farm standout as a leader of arts education in South Jersey?
Appel Farm stands out because it spreads the seeds of arts education with broad enthusiasm: to older adults and young children, to families, to teenagers living in group homes, to students in after-school settings.
Why did you decide to become a teaching artist and what was your journey?
When I was in high school, taking a serious art class, I got a D on my first assignment (a pencil sketch of a toilet paper tube). I nearly dropped the class. But my teacher stopped me from quitting, promising, “If you stay in this class, you will learn to see.” He was right. That class, more than any other in my senior year, altered my perspective on the world and my belief in my own capacity to grow. I am a teaching artist because I want to create those “aha” moments for others — those indelible learning experiences that linger for decades after.
Why do you believe arts education is important?
I believe that art — creating it, experiencing it — in all its forms can touch the best part of our human selves. Art connects and expands. Art wrestles with big ideas and unanswerable questions. Art up-ends the status quo and insists that we imagine the world in new ways. Art reminds us of what we share, and of our startling, exuberant differences.
What are your influences and inspirations, as an artist and a teaching artist?
I’ve been fortunate to have exceptional teachers: my high school art teacher, Bill Bahmerman; my college writing professor, John Hersey (author of Hiroshima); the journalist Evelyn C. White; the poet/memoirist Judith Barrington. And so many writers who have “mentored” me through their texts: Naomi Shihab Nye, Grace Paley, Ursula K. LeGuin, Paul Monette, Toi Derricotte, Tony Kushner, Paula Vogel, and others.
How do you respond when a child says, “I’m not good at art”?
Sometimes I say, “Who told you that?” Or sometimes, “Really? Show me what you made…what do you love about that? What do you want to make next?” Or sometimes, “I don’t agree. I want to see more of your poems.”
Tell us about a story about students or a specific student that reinforced or changed your opinion about arts education.
I was teaching poetry in a 4th-grade class. At the end of the week, I asked students what they had learned. I thought I might hear something about metaphors or line breaks or sensory images. But one girl stood up and said, “I learned to say thank you after every poem.” That reminded me that we can’t ever be sure exactly how our lessons will land; we can only model passion for the work and the process of creating it, and gratitude for those who risk creating something of their own.
If you are a passionate and experienced artist with a love for teaching, we want to hear from you! Appel Farm is always on the lookout for highly-qualified and talented teaching artists to join our roster. Click HERE for more information.