Each student arrives to the Art classroom with a unique level of confidence, ability, and experience in visual art. As a teacher, it is my responsibility to meet each child at his or her individual level of development and align the tools and support to gain mastery of grade-level art concepts while nurturing technical skill, creativity and joy in artistic expression.
Developing units and lessons, I incorporate art history, relating to grade-level social studies as well as other subjects such as ELA and literacy, mathematics, and science curriculum; guide students in examining, exploring and analyzing the techniques and materials relative to genres, cultures and eras. I provide historical background and examples, and generate discussions to promote age appropriate analysis of the influences behind various media and eras. I program a broad range of projects that afford opportunities to work with diverse media and materials including extensive three-dimensional creations and technology such as Photoshop.
Students learn best and are free to create when they feel safe in their environment, confident in expectations and know they are a welcomed and valued member of the classroom community. My students establish our classroom rules, defining the optimum environment for learning and creativity which includes respectful interaction, consideration of one another’s workspace and projects, genuine effort and individual input in assignments and activities. I provide rubrics to capture the main objectives of the lesson, orient to materials and tools, and teach techniques. I then encourage extensive individual decision making throughout the creative process and support students in expanding beyond traditional materials and techniques. Students arrive to our art classroom eager to enter each day, confident they are welcome and certain they will surely mark an accomplishment.
I recognize the value of Art Education in providing a space where every student can experience earned accomplishment. I instill in my students that artistic “mistakes” are a normal part of the creative process, and often, a path to new design or discovery. This methodology supports students in becoming comfortable with learning curves, gaining the confidence to deal with setbacks, and the problem solving skills to overcome obstacles encountered on the path to bringing their creative ideas to tangible results.
As a working artist, I recognize the benefits of the creative process on my social and emotional well-being. I value the expressive and cathartic aspects art provides and the sense of community that evolves among a group of students working creatively. I have leveraged this while working with many underserved pupils, facilitating an after school Art Club and leading large-scale student production projects within the classroom. Providing a forum that encourages healthy relationships and nurtures pursuit of productive interests strengthens my students’ self-esteem and social skills.
Pamela Sheridan’s earliest memories are filled with color, pattern and texture. A native of Malden, MA, Pamela was the middle child of five children and grew up in Malden, Melrose, and surrounding areas. Growing up, art was her solace. The colors that she used saturated her life. As long as she had her crayons and paper, she felt she had everything.
Her early interests were very much influenced by religious works of art. As a young girl, she would attend church service just to be surrounded by the detailed stained glass windows where she would lose herself in the translucent colors. Her jungle gym was the sculptures that surrounded the church. She often climbed the figures to touch their hands and poke their eyes. The thought that someone made these pieces amazed her. What also amazed and inspired Pamela was her oldest sister Lynda. Lynda was an amazing young artist who was also a loving and encouraging entity in Pamela’s life. Pamela’s first awkward drawings were always met with, “(GASP) That is BEAUTIFUL! Keep going!!” Pamela strived to be as good of an artist as Lynda. Along with spiritual art and her sister’s encouragement and inspiration, Pamela’s father also pushed her to pursue visual art. He was always amazed and proud of the things that his two artist daughters created.
Because Pamela was on her own at the young age of seventeen, she did not attend college after high school graduation. Still, she worked on her art constantly. In 2002 Pamela was able to attend Montserrat College of art where she received a BFA in the fields of sculpture and art education.
When Pamela first started attending Montserrat College of Art, she was determined to stay in the realm of classical and representational art. She was very resistant to the abstract nature of the instruction at Montserrat. It was her goal to be able to carve stone as well as her favorite artist, Michelangelo. During her time in college, Pamela was faced with life circumstances and challenges that changed the way she perceived life and how she wanted to express herself. The death of her cousin’s son due to a heroin overdose was one such life changing circumstance. Pamela wanted to make a work of art in honor of this young man but felt that it had to be done in a non-literal fashion. From this, her series “The Fury and the Hope Within” was created. This series of paintings conveys the consuming nature of addiction as well as the hope that lies within addiction; the hope of recovery, the hope of a better life, hope that one’s loved one will be cured of this consuming affliction. This series was Pamela’s first work in abstraction. What amazed her was that viewers could comprehend the meaning of the paintings through the feeling they provoked. Despite this awareness of what she could create abstractly, she still had one foot behind her in representational art. This all changed with her 2005 diagnosis of thyroid cancer. Although a cancer diagnosis is often met with fear of the unknown and despair, Pamela let the diagnosis of cancer be something that propelled her into a better place in her life. She let go of the fear that people would not understand her work if it was not literal. She jumped straight into abstraction and created her sculpture “Paradox”. This sculpture conveys the good and bad in life that exists at the same time together, always. Where one puts focus is how one will fair in situations both positive and negative. For Pamela, she tends to look at the positive. From this point on, Pamela’s work has remained mostly abstract.
Along with visual art, Pamela has also been involved with music throughout her life. One of her life's dreams has been to be a vocalist but she plagued with stage fright. This was a challenge she was determined to conquer but after the diagnosis of cancer, she put her music on the back burner to focus on her visual art and her study of art education with the intention of eventually returning to music. Through this time she continued to sing daily but her musical practice was very much subdued. On January 1st, 2014, a musical opportunity was presented to Pamela. Although it was an area of music that she did not have much experience in, she accepted the opportunity and is now performing and her band is in the process of recording a new album. Ironically, the stage fright that challenged Pamela has disappeared and she is as comfortable now with her music as she is with her art.