“A teaching artist is a practicing professional artist with the complementary skills and sensibilities of an educator, who engages people in learning experiences in, through, and about the arts.” – Eric Booth

Many teacher-artists struggle to play the dual role of an Artist and an Educator. Each role has its own practices and values that represent two seemingly disparate identities. The teacher-artist wrestles to find commonalities and draw connections between the two roles.

But teacher-artists are more than just artists who teach. Their artistic process heavily influences their teaching practice. The artistic way of seeing, thinking and creating are seamlessly interwoven, synthesizing the pedagogy of the teacher-artists.

Teacher-artists regard their teaching as an artistic activity. While artists engage in a process of inquiry and meaning making, the teacher-artists allow this sense of artistry—this artistic way of thinking and behaviour—to inform and inspire the way they design their lessons and their teaching process.

The art classroom of the teacher-artists is often one that welcomes exploration and risk-taking, and where a penchant for play is cultivated. To be able to play with ideas is to feel free to throw them into new combinations, to experiment and even to “fail”. Teacher-artists who model artistic behaviour and ways of thinking in the art classroom see learning as an exciting experience.

It is therefore critical for teacher-artists to continue their art practices while they teach because it informs their teaching, and reaffirms their identities as artists. The 12 artists featured in this exhibition are excellent models of teacher-artists at work. We invite you to join us to peep into their artistic journey of ‘getting lost or stuck’ in the ‘swamp of no-idea’, and their painful struggle with the constraint of time and resources, but also their ‘aha!’ moments in the process of art making. Let us celebrate their sense of play just as we celebrate the intimate conversations they had with their materials and themes.

|| Chia Wei Hou & Vivian Loh Lai Kuen, curators of a|edge 2017