J.E. Elliott


The students at The Art Institute of Charleston inspire me because they are so gracious of heart; they come with an earnest desire to use their talents and ideas to help others in the Charleston community. They make me want to be a better instructor, artist, writer, and person. J.E. Elliott , General Education Instructor , The Art Institute of Charleston, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta

Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

The day I turned my family’s living room into a Lego city, complete with roller coaster skate park, working carousel, and fashion show arena...and my mom didn't yell at me.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

I believe that knowing how to take problem solving and critical thinking skills from one class or area and apply them in another is key to succeeding in the real world. I let students know that I expect them to be able to transfer their skills as part of my class.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

In my composition class, we hold discussion on topics such as Hip-Hop and American sign language, turf dancing and ballet, and superheroes vs. zombies as a way to help illustrate analysis and meaning.

In what way do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

Learning comes from within. Learning opportunities are everywhere. When instructors show students how to use their own interests and passions to gain knowledge, the learning happens organically.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

Collaboration pushes students just outside their comfort zone—which is where the best learning occurs.

What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

Know as much as possible about the business of your craft.

What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

Be professional. It’s sad to see a talented person fail because they can’t act in a professional manner.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Every day with my students is a gift. They make me want to be a better instructor, mentor, writer, and person.