Labinalis Rodriguez ’20 spent the summer teaching at Mosaic Minds Art Academy (MMAA) in Lilburn, Georgia. Owner Summer King started the academy with a vision to encourage children with similar interests to feel safe and comfortable in a world where artists can sometimes feel like outcasts. Labinalis was inspired by this art history-based school where the focus is on teaching technique and terminology. Every four weeks, students study a new artist or art period and experiment with a variety of mediums including chalk, clay, printmaking, paint, and anime.
“I learned that using the correct terminology when teaching children is important. The ceramics class I took at Wesleyan helped me understand that. Prior to that class, I had no experience working with clay. I learned how to score the clay and how to use a kiln. Those were lessons I could take into the classroom at MMAA.”
Labinalis says she grew as a teacher once she realized that students have different learning styles and that there are many methods of teaching a particular skill. “The children had a hard time understanding how to use shapes to draw a human body. I taught them how to use a circle as a head and an oval as a body and how to connect the two to create a human body.”
She was inspired by the joy and pride that teaching brings to her mentor Summer King. “Summer was working at a desk job when she began offering one art class. Soon she was in such high demand as an art instructor that she quit her job and started the academy. She taught me the basics of hard work and the dedication needed to build a successful business. Since I was young I have wanted to own my own art school but thought it was a distant dream. Now I feel like it is a goal within reach.” Labinalis will graduate in May with a bachelor of fine arts degree.
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