Visual Arts Learning Area: Jan Kennedy

What does your role involve?

My role is a varied and exciting one. The delivery of the curriculum is pivotal to the role, and this, in conjunction with keeping abreast of current artistic trends and emerging artists is what makes the role so exciting and varied. 

Sourcing new ideas for forthcoming projects is a constant work in progress and I spend countless hours engaging in this, which I thoroughly enjoy. 

Obviously there are day to day logistics that need to be attended to in a busy department such as ours, such as the curation of the Mercy Gallery as a creative space for showcasing the students’ artwork, to the managing of equipment and consumables, which are vital to the smooth running of the department.

What do you enjoy about leading the Visual Arts Department at Santa Maria?

I get so much joy from seeing what our girls create, and it never ceases to amaze me the passion and dedication they demonstrate whilst working on their pieces.

Which of the connecting learning to life attributes do you feel that your Learning Area develops especially well in students?

This is an area that we really address head-on. We are constantly encouraging our students to take artistic risks and not go with “safe” or “easy” in the execution of their final artworks. We constantly stress that it is ok to make a mistake, all artists do this and make changes along the way in their artistic journeys. Pushing the artistic boundaries and taking risks are essential and are life-long skills that are embedded in the way our department works.

What are you hoping to do more of in your Learning area this year?

This year’s Artist in Resident, Wade Taylor,  promoted the message of risk-taking extensively, and the concept of moving away from “perfect”.  My goal is to continue this into the other planned projects for the remainder of the year.

I want to challenge the students to push artistic boundaries and try new ways of working, considering the process and what they are learning along the way; not getting caught up in achieving a “perfect” end result.

I can already see some significant shifts in the way students are painting so far this year, and the works in progress simply speak for themselves – so fresh and exciting!

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