Paula Benfer

Printmaking, Batik, Collage/Assemblage

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Teaching Artist Statement

I blend a variety of mediums, incorporating cultural influences with creativity. I enjoy interdisciplinary approaches. Art can stand alone, or focus benchmarks. I respect students. I’m flexible, adaptable, and accountable.

Explore and Nurture Creativity in the classroom

Through my art, I let the students “get to know me” and build trust. I encourage them to dialogue and reflect with me.
I try to select appropriate media, adapt processes to grade levels, and trust the classroom teacher to guide me as to the student needs, interests, and past experiences. I select an approach which allows them to be creative: frequently, I pull from them, so they personalize their work so it becomes a reflection of their own ideas.
The mediums I select are varied, and often blended. I break things down into processes which guide the student learning.I reflect and adapt along the way to make sure students feel guided and confident without interfering.
I use humor and approach students playfully so they are not afraid to try or to “make mistakes.I find something in their < work to use as a bridge to take them to more exploration. I treat them like artists and treat their work as art.

Residency Projects

“Fiber as Metaphor”(6th grade social studies curriculum art standards) This lesson addresses issues of immigration and uses the art form of batik (wax/dye)

Using batik to make “Spirit flags”, exhibit as individual, class, or school “Light in the Community” (cooperative school effort for a permanent stained glass mosaic) These lessons used art to reinforce classroom learning about citizenship and public service.

“Regionalism, Symbolism, and Parody” (used at 4 th to HS grade level through Printmaking, Painting, or Collage). These images could “stand alone” or be collected in a book, or attached temporarily as a class quilt.

“Animal Totems/Doodems” (any level, many mediums may be used, like printmaking, batik, collage, or copper tooling). This art lesson fulfills some of MN’s benchmarks to include instruction about local indigenous tribes.