The Art Institute of Houston
Be a life long learner—and learn to teach yourself. Charlott Card , Instructor , The Art Institute of Houston
M.F.A., Fine Art (concentration in photography), Hunter College of the City University of New York
Professional positions held: Book Buyer and Researcher for Public Programs, Menil Collection; Art Consultant, Susan Rush Fine Art; Freelance Book Design and Production 1983-95; Preparator, Amon Carter Museum
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
In college, I realized that what I was studying was exactly what I’d been working to be in my creative life.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
I share my basic philosophy, which is that history makes sense of the world. It would be naïve to think that a creative person can make aesthetic judgments without a solid historical education. Learning about world events helps you think clearly about period styles and artistic achievements. Professionals who are well versed in history make informed, thoughtful design decisions.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
My students keep extensive notebooks, archiving historical information and creating finished color drawings. The projects I assign are whole works of art and scholarship, which enable students to gather and synthesize research into thoughtful, lasting documents. They feel both challenged and thrilled to have completed the work at the end of the quarter.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
Be a lifelong learner—and learn to teach yourself. Think hard about your own learning style and hold yourself to a high standard of continued intellectual engagement. You’ll be both a growing intellectual and a contributing professional in your work community.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Nothing makes me happier than seeing students “turn on” to ideas and the thrill of our shared global history.