Reviewed by Mary McLaughlin, Ma-TESOL; M.S. SpEd
An art teacher at a community college in Texas is taking her teaching methods on the road in an effort to educate her community and promote her students’ work.
Le’Ann Alexander, an adjunct art instructor at Angelina College, launched a nonprofit mobile art gallery entitled the “Alexander Art Space” in the fall of 2014. The gallery – a trailer with a sleek interior, attached to a pickup truck – consists of work from Angelina College students and other artists from the East Texas area. On March 17th, the gallery was featured at the prominent Bella Salon Fashion Show in Lufkin.
By making the gallery mobile, Alexander can showcase her students’ at multiple events throughout Texas. The results of such exposure are twofold: In addition to educating Texas residents on local artists, Alexander can give her students the real-world experience that cannot be taught in the classroom.
In March of 2015, Alexander took the gallery to Dunbar Primary School in Lufkin. She hopes visits to other primary schools and secondary education institutions will become the norm in coming years.
“I’ll be available to go to schools and expose kids to something new,” said Alexander. “I think a lot of universities and colleges who have art programs will be willing to support something like that.”
The Lufkin-based Angelina College, where Alexander teaches, has a dedicated fine arts program, running a gallery program with visiting international artists and employing instructors with MFA degrees and terminal degrees in visual art. The school also hosts a number of fine arts events, featuring the work of students and local artists.
Every fall, art teachers at Angelina College display their own work as part of the AC Faculty Exhibition in the Angelina Center for the Arts Gallery. The event allows art students to interact with their instructors before beginning fall studies. In 2015, Alexander displayed one of her paintings and answered questions from students during the exhibition’s debut.