Veteran Teaching Artist Shares Her Thoughts

 In The CAPE Blog

CAPE’s Teaching Artist faculty represents a diverse cross-section of talent from across Chicago. Many of them share a profile here at CAPE on our Teaching Artists at CAPE page, which has been updated to reflect many new and returning artists to CAPE. Recently, CAPE veteran teaching artist Jessica Mueller shared her thoughts about how teaching art informs her relationship to her professional art career.

Teaching Artist Jessica Mueller

-How CAPE has shaped your relationship to your professional work as an artist:

Teaching with CAPE has fostered my art practice in a variety of ways. I have learned so much about participatory art and learning, inquiry and research based making, and creating community, all things that are essential to my life and artistic making. Most of all openness as an artistic practice, understanding that everything is connected and through openness those links can be discovered and experimented with.

-How CAPE has perhaps also affected/shaped/informed your identity as a teacher, as a mother, as a person in the world? 

My niche of working with Mother Artists in CAPE’s community programs has informed my own identity as a Mother Artist. Providing and receiving support from other creative parents from all walks of life has inspired me to embrace motherhood and art as essential components of how I move through the world.

-A student who moved you and why?

An artist and mother of adult children from the community program at Telpochcalli Elementary School, Chayu, moved me with a painting of herself as a little girl with ants crawling on her and being cooked in a pot. We were exploring our links to food memories and our identities as well as addressing being treated as less than due to one’s background. Chayu was so honest and open about something that is controversial and can have a negative reaction from others. A piece that is both sweet and visceral, it makes you question your reaction and the reason behind it. Her painting highlights how we are all different and the same simultaneously, and that we need not be so quick to judge others.

-Something you bring to the classroom that is special and truly you:

I bring myself! I do my best to be the same person I am outside of the classroom. I lead by listening and making space for others to bring their strengths forward. I don’t always know the answers and that’s ok, we figure things out together.

Artist | Educator
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