Karen Gibson

Graphic & Web Design

Graphic & Web Design Instructor
The Art Institute of Philadelphia

Karen Gibson

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

As a high school student, my art teacher inspired me by taking an interest in my work and insisting that I look into going to art school after graduation.

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

I have a great deal of experience exhibiting my work, as well as creating workshops for students in design and fine art. I share both my successes and failures with my students to help give them a real-world sense of what it’s like to show works of art professionally—from finding a venue, framing the work, preparing a biography, and hanging the work according to gallery and museum standards.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

When I teach art history, I always emphasize good design practices and theory that students can apply to their own work. I try to interest them in culture and geography, stressing the importance of a global perspective. In my studio classes, I encourage students to have both curiosity and a sense of quality in their work. Every project begins with specific objectives related to the project—and to students’ future as valuable professionals.

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

It’s vital for students to work with peers from various disciplines. It broadens each student’s perspective, regardless of what area they’re focused on. And it helps prepare them for the workplace, where collaboration is simply the way creative people work.

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

I show a genuine interest in students’ success, and share my vast experience in my field. The most critical advice I offer my students is to put in a genuine effort to succeed and to work up to their potential.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I love what I do. My students are both my mentors and my inspiration to be the best educator I can possibly be.