Teacher Spotlight: Caitlin Finnegan
Philly Art Center is staffed with an incredibly awesome team of educators and artists.
THIS WEEK, MEET TEACHER CAIT.
I grew up in the suburbs of Philly and have found that both the suburbs and the city hold a pretty special place in my heart. I gravitated towards art at a young age and by middle school, I down right loved it. It was always that thing in my life that just felt right.
I went to Penn State where I received my Bachelor’s in Studio Art (specializing in drawing and painting). Despite my love for art, something was missing and I honestly had no idea what that something was. I knew that having art in my life was a gift but it felt to me like I needed to do something bigger with this gift. I wanted to do something to help make the world a little better but I was baffled as to what my path would be.
About 6 months after graduating college I landed an education internship at a local art center near my home and I think thats really when fate intervened. Something clicked…I fell in love with working with kids of all ages in such a special, creative setting. I saw how happy art made the kids. I learned quickly that art has a pretty special power in helping artists of all ages learn LIFE skills such as confidence, problem solving, and thinking outside of the box. The fact that I could guide children of all ages through this process—even make their lives a bit happier— was that missing piece that I had been looking for.
I went to my two mentors from my internship and told them that about my revelation: I wanted be an art teacher. How had I not known before? I had always felt completely at ease around children (having grown up with over a dozen nieces and nephews of all ages). This “aha!” moment also led me to assistant teach at a preschool for a year.
Favorite project at PAC:
Mixed media portraits with the Kindergarteners!
Typical day at PAC in THREE words:
Non-Stop, Vibrant, (Beautifully) Messy, and HANDS-ON! (Okay, that’s more than three. I tried!)
My mentors’, as well as my family’s support and guidance led me to Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, where I received my Master of Arts in Teaching this past Spring.
Working at Philly Art Center has been one of this biggest and most exciting steps in my life thus far. I’m learning to better trust in myself as a teacher and to really revel in those small but magical moments of discovery and creativity with the kiddos. I love that this setting gives me the opportunity to really, really get to know these young artists: they tell me stories, they are unbelievably creative, not to mention they are extremely funny.