The Art Institute of Michigan
Believe in yourself, and go after your creative passion. Stephanie Sarris , Foundations Instructor , The Art Institute of Michigan
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
I was inspired by my sister, a visual artist who supported and mentored me. I wanted to prove that I could be a visual artist as well. When I started taking art classes in college, I found my path and it made me whole.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
My art is my life. Art repeats and redefines itself with every moment in history, and every cultural and every personal experience. My experiences as an artist and instructor have enabled me to touch base with students’ creativity as we explore ideas and concepts.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
All of my projects exemplify my approach to teaching. Foundation classes focus on basic theory of elements and principles. Students become more analytical and sensitive to every line, color, shape, and drawing they incorporate in their artwork. They become confident, with a strong sense for the elements and principles of design and drawing, and they find that their ideas fit together like a puzzle for all the creative challenges they face.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
In Foundation level art courses, students from various majors have a way of inspiring each other with their ideas and their critique. The diversity enriches the class experience and opens students up to a variety of creative choices.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
Develop your design/drawing sense, and build on your skills.
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
Believe in yourself, and go after your creative passion. The best ideas come from experiences and reflections.
Anything else you’d like to share?
My favorite classes are when students accept the creative challenge of each project. They find creative connections and great friendships when they’re inspired by the overall class and by their fellow students.