The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division
Stay in a safe spot, and you'll never grow. Jacqueline Hunt , Photography Instructor , The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
As a young child I knew that someday I’d work as a visual artist. I enjoy communicating with images and working out problems creatively. While completing my BFA, I realized I’d like to teach others. I had a number passionate, dedicated teachers who inspired me to be pass along what they taught me, and to be a positive influence on young artists.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
I remember the struggles of being a student. Not always understanding why I was asked to do certain things or meet certain expectations—and the a-ha moments of realization when I started working in the real world. I try to make those connections with students when they get frustrate themselves. I show them when a hoop they have to jump through isn’t really a hoop, but a training and learning experience. I tell them that I’ve been there, that what they’re going through is normal, and that they work hard they can make it.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring—and how do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?
I enjoy teaching what I call the bookends—courses that mark the beginning and end of a student’s education. It’s all about helping students make a transition. I remember the fear and anxiety of being a student, and I believe having guidance is critical during that time. I teach both the technical and creative aspects of photography, and encourage students to experiment, explore, and learn that there’s more than one way to solve a problem. I believe students have more to give than they know—they just need the motivation to break free from their self-imposed limitations. To grow as an artist, we must jump. And to jump, we must sometimes be pushed.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?
Collaborative projects can help artists grow creatively by challenging them to think outside of their normal box.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
Be inquisitive and willing to experiment, explore, and try new approaches. Stay in a safe spot, and you’ll never grow. Look outside of your own creative self.