The Lessons of Art Are My Livelihood
As a teenager I loved art and science. The pressure that art was not a career led me to believe science was the logical choice to pursue. So I left the arts behind and went off to college. Not long after, I ran into a different set of life’s pressures. When I was only twenty years old, my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I left college to help him navigate the trials of treatment and the tribulations of being told there was little to nothing that science could do. During this time he gave me a camera and I started putting my energy back into the arts. Science and art are both about observation. They are both about discovering and making meaning. I learned that life is not practical. Life is not always logical. Life is more often than not a poetic mess. As artists and scientists we strive to make sense from that mess. We strive to find solutions to the problems we are presented and ways of making order and beauty from the complexities of our world.
18 years later, I teach art in a middle school. Middle school is this amazing time in people’s lives. Experiences in this formative time will help people make decisions about who they want to be and how they want to live their lives. In my classroom I strive to expose my students to the widest possibilities of the visual arts. I aim to teach them that school separates the world into these discrete disciplines, but in reality, the world is a far more interconnected place. There are paths and places for artists that are just as valid and important as the paths and places for scientists. And more often than not, those paths overlap and are far more connected more than we think. I have made a goal of my work, as a teacher and an artist, to make some objective and poetic logic out of the world through the lens of the visual arts. Thus, the lessons of art and the art of lessons are my livelihood.
Jody Boyer is an artist and teacher originally from Portland Oregon. She received her B.A. in Studio Arts from Reed College, an M.A. in Intermedia from the University of Iowa and her K-12 teaching certification through the Teacher Academy Project at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Her artwork has been exhibited nationally, including at the Des Moines Art Center and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and seen in such publications as Review and Art in America. She teaches art at Norris Middle School in Omaha Nebraska and at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.