Teach What You Love - Maine College of Art

Elise Bothel '10, Art Ed '13

I believe that the arts are a positive experience innate to the nature of us all.

After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture, Elise Bothel furthered her education, also at MECA, by becoming certified to teach art through MECA’s Post-Baccalaureate Certification program (which has evolved into our current MAT program). She currently teaches at Narragansett Elementary School in Maine and was selected to participate in the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative as a lead teacher. She also continues to make and sell her work.

She says, “I believe education should be for the benefit of the student and the community of the world at large. I believe that the arts are a positive experience innate to the nature of us all. With art we can heal, reflect, grow, express emotion, and experience joy. Art is key to personal development, and also a way to show knowledge in a cohesive form. All children are born connected to the art of drawing, singing, dancing, storytelling, and imagination. All cultures across time use art as a means of expression. I aim to reconnect my students to the joy, never ending depth, and inquiry art has to offer. I bring joy to the classroom by being a caring, open, and receptive educator. I design lessons that serve students’ personal interests, ideas, and inquires. I allow failure to be a part of the art making process, while still adhering to the state and national standards for art education. I want my students to be unafraid to create, and to explore and embrace their own artistic abilities.”

“I believe the purpose of art education is to give students confidence in their ideas and in themselves. I like to encourage students to take risks, and to try new venues and ways of seeing using a multitude of materials and methods. Its important that a variety of mediums and techniques from many cultures are incorporated into my arts curriculum because I feel that exploring and learning a new material or process adds skill, self-assurance, and global understanding to the artist’s range of tools.”

“Reflection, interpretation, and questioning are important tools for the art classroom. My classroom climate is supportive and constructive, growing to meet the needs of the individual and the group. Class critiques are vital to collective and self-understanding as well as to build a vocabulary for discussion about art. By looking at and talking about the art created in the classroom compared and contrasted to art made in other places and times, students can better assess their own work and find meaning within the context of the art world. We as humans are all connected. Art is the way to understand and grasp the concept of the responsibility and empathy required to best live and interact cohesively with others.”

Visit Elise’s website.