Teaching

Kirigami at the Chinese American Service League; 20 Neighborhoods through Woman Made Gallery

Kirigami at the Chinese American Service League; 20 Neighborhoods through Woman Made Gallery.

Wood sculpture making in the class, "Women Artists Who Rock!" at Marwen.

Wood sculpture making in the class, “Women Artists Who Rock!” at Marwen.

I have taught at the following art centers and not for profit organizations:

Lillstreet Art Center
Indianapolis Art Center
Marwen Foundation
Chinese American Service League, with the 20 Neighborhoods Project of Woman Made Gallery
Wellness House
Oak Park Art League
Zenith Art Studio
Awake! at Unity
Forest Park Public Library
Evanston Art Center
Hinsdale Center for the Arts
The Suburban Fine Art Center
Special Workshops/Center Studios at the University of Illinois at Chicago
Great Lakes Enameling Guild
Benches on Division
The Chicago Metal Arts Guild
Portage Park Center for the Arts
River Forest Community Center
Northwest Needle Arts Guild
Hinsdale Public Library
Girl Scouts of Whispering Oaks Council
Singing Winds Waldorf School

I have taught metalsmithing, working with Precious Metal Clay, mixed media collage painting, simple printmaking, felting (wet felting from roving) and art history.

 

Philosophy of teaching

by Elaine Luther

The purpose of this page is to share the work I’ve done with community groups and some ideas for future projects. I’m very interested in doing more work teaching workshops in community settings, empowering people and helping them re-connect to their creativity.

My art and teaching practice in the past few years has expanded to include what’s often called social justice work.

For me, that has meant teaching at Marwen in Chicago, and in 20Neighborhoods (20N), a program of Woman Made Gallery in Chicago. Through 20N, I taught at CASL, the Chinese American Service League.

WelcometoChinatown

In both cases, I was teaching underserved populations and what can I say? It was terrific. Bringing art-making to those who haven’t had the chance to do it is an honor. Being the one to create the environment of art making, setting it all up so that the magic can happen, is pretty cool.  The gratitude these students have for their experience is what tells me how important this work is.

I’m available to libraries and other organizations for:

• teach art programs, either on-going or one day
• be an artist in residence
• give speeches on a variety of topics
• lead public engagement art projects

What might that look like? Here are some projects I’ve worked on in the past.

In year two of 20N, the participants at CASL worked collaboratively to make a 3′ x 4′ work on canvas. It’s a collage of their batik work and pounded flowers. Here’s a picture of it in process:

Batik on Canvas at CASL, workshops led by Elaine Luther

Batik on Canvas at CASL, workshops led by Elaine Luther

As a Girl Scout leader, I facilitated this project:

Girl Scouts deliver quilts to donate.

Girl Scouts deliver quilts to donate.

For this project (above), 8 girls made 7 quilt tops (later completed by adult volunteers, the quilting and binding steps) that they gave to resident children at Hephzibah House.

You can read more about these on the Community Work Page. The mural is a design by a Girl Scout, executed with assistance from artist Linda DuPree.

Girl Scout Mural Mosaic

EXPLORE at the Forest Park Public Library
installed July 2015

Black Canvas of EXPLORE at the Forest Park Public Library.

Blank Canvas of EXPLORE at the Forest Park Public Library.

For this project I built the 4′ wooden letters that spell out the word explore, the summer reading program theme for the summer. Library patrons came to decorate the letters.

Library patrons paint letters at Forest Park Library.

Library patrons paint letters at Forest Park Library.

 

Inspirations

You-Are-Beautiful installation at Flourish Studios

You-Are-Beautiful installation at Flourish Studios

Here’s a wonderful piece that could be done as a collaborative group project. I made the capital E in this installation that was at Flourish Studios a few years ago. In this installation, a different artist made each letter.

In a library program, different groups could work together to collage each letter. Each group could be given different materials and creative constraints.

Here’s my installation of the word LOVE at an art gallery:

LOVE installation, copyright Elaine Luther 2015, at Zenith Art Studios

LOVE installation, copyright Elaine Luther 2015, at Zenith Art Studios

Tibetan Prayer Banners

Tibetan Prayer Banners

Tibetan prayer banners blow in the wind in the temples where they hang, spreading blessings. This picture shows a temporary outdoor installation on a theme. I can think of many themes to have groups make these on. The first that comes to mind is Blessings for our Community.

 

Current Course Offerings

Images and descriptions for currently available workshops and multi-week courses are HERE.

 

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