Teaching Artist Kathy Casper
Welcome to our monthly feature, Teaching Artist Profiles – Today, we’re highlighting teaching artist Kathy Casper, recognizing the benefits of arts education, and celebrating the children we serve.
Kathy Casper has been working with Appel Farm as a teaching artist since 2008, with a focus on Appel Farm’s school residencies. As a folk artist, Kathy Casper has been creating with clay for twenty years with hand built tiles, bowls, and mosaics as her focus. As a teaching artist, she works in residence at regional schools and healthcare facilities where she cooperatively designs, creates and installs tile and mosaic murals.
What makes Appel Farm standout as a leader of arts education in South Jersey?
In a quiet town in rural South Jersey, it provides a place for people to come and learn, play, and grow through art. The center is run by a wonderful, creative, and energetic staff. They stay current with the needs of the community as well continuing to find ways to get the word out to communities that might not know about this valuable resource.
Why did you decide to become a teaching artist and what was your journey?
I was asked by a fellow artist to help her on a project and I loved it. Since then and many projects later I still get very fulfilled being a teaching artist. The journey well at times incredibly challenging is also an abundant wellspring of growth and learning. One tile at a time…
Why do you believe arts education is important?
Everyone at some level likes to create. Creating is how we grow as individual people and as a community. Arts education gives people the basic fundamentals to grow their ideas.
What are your influences and inspirations, as an artist and a teaching artist?
Nature is definitely my first inspiration! Just look at a birds nest or a wasp’s nest, the “weeds” that grow in the most unusual places. Inspiration comes from The many artists who came before me and shared their ideas. My family and friends who support me. Which means giving me the time and space to do my thing. As a teaching artist, it is definitely the kids. Even when you think you know the best way to do something, there is always another!
How do you respond when a child says, “I’m not good at art”?
“Let us try and see what we can do together.”
Tell us about a story about students or a specific student that reinforced or changed your opinion about arts education.
The students at Pathways program in Bridgeton always inspire me to keep on going and keep learning more ways to be an inspiration. (and get the job done) It is challenging program because it is after school. Usually, not much prior clay/mosaic knowledge but their enthusiasm more then makes up for that. They are able to come out of their comfort zone and try. They are very proud and impressed with themselves. As am I. I am always amazed that from the chaos of creating and collaborating we end up with a unique and beautiful mural.
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.