Jeff DaCosta | Teaching Philosophy

        As an interdisciplinary sculpture instructor, I believe that arts greatest application is as a tool for exploration and communication. Whether utilized as a means of investigating the past or constructing forms in the present, art can serve as a universal language capable of empowering the individual and strengthening the community. From this tenant I teach through a student centered pedagogy that merges innovative studio skills with professional practices to not only cultivate highly functional artists but also the leadership qualities necessary for my students to persist as creative agents in their communities and the world at large.
            In preparing undergraduates for real world success, I draw from my own extensive professional experience and design my curriculum to cover a variety of skills that directly apply to careers within the arts. I also recognize that many students may have limited resources and the future of creating art beyond institute facilities can present a challenge. It is with this in mind that many of my projects utilize inexpensive “do-it-yourself” processes alongside state of the art studio technologies. Examples of low-cost/high-outcome systems include homemade metal casting foundries, hand tool creation, fundamentals for merging natural media with found objects, carbon fiber, LED light technologies, and a myriad of other materials and processes that are surprisingly accessible. My courses prize creative adaptation in addition to traditional media (please see Technical Skill section of C.V.) and students are encouraged to push both their technical and conceptual limits. All of my courses have a robust professional practice component with instruction in academic research, artwork proposals, artist statements, resume building, public speaking, and presentations to impart the critical tools for their success.
            Whether guiding students through the perils of gallery contracts or giving hands-on instruction casting metal with class built equipment, I instruct sculpture as a vibrant exploratory process specific to each individuals abilities and interests. I hold high academic standards with a deep commitment to indigenous education and strive to create a dynamic studio environment where students want to be. My goal as instructor/mentor is to build upon my students passions and strengths, and expand their knowledge enabling them to pursue professional careers as artists, graduate studies, and beyond.