As a teaching artist, I am driven by similar motives in my studio and in my classroom. When making a new piece I respond to my sensory experience in the world and communicate my observations and ideas in a visual language both universal and individual. As an educator, I curate an experience for my students to observe, explore, and experience, asking them to engage in big questions and ideas as well as giving them space for individual responses and reflection.

When working on a collage, I am seeking relationships between fragments and ways to bring them together in new configurations. I give these cut elements space to move and “talk” to each other until it seems they have landed in a place of purposeful connection. I see the classroom as a part of the whole community in which we live, and I prioritize community-based practical learning experiences. As an educator, the more I de-center myself and center the students, the more we can achieve high levels of shared learning and community.  

When looking at a finished artwork, I still see the evidence of process; this ability is a hallmark of hands-on experience and critical creative inquiry. In the role of teacher, I use this understanding to guide students in placing value on their process, not only their product. I help them build confidence in their own acts of curiosity, discovery, and reflection. As an artist, I understand that the context in which I live and made the piece is part of its story. As the teacher, I offer guidance and tools for students to read these stories in artworks, building visual literacy and becoming informed and empathetic participants in our visual culture.

Art Eduction + Curriculum Design

I am a licensed K-12 Art Teacher in the State of Idaho and the Clinical Assistant Professor of Art Education at the University of Idaho (U of I) , a land-grant research institution based in Moscow, Idaho. My appointment is housed in the Department of Art and Design in the College of Art and Architecture (CAA); however, I also work directly within the Department of Curriculum & Instruction (C & I) in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences (EHHS).
Courses that I teach or Coordinate for Art and Design include: Introduction to Art: Why Art Matters (ART 100), Mixed Media Studio (ART 404), BFA Senior Studio (ART 490), MFA program studio and thesis support.

Courses that I teach for Curriculum and Instruction include: Elementary Art Methods (EDCI 325), Integrated Praciticum II (EDCI 409), Secondary Art Methods (EDCI 436) Art Methods Practicum (EDCI 446)

Consulting at Palouse Prairie Charter School
During the 2023/2024 school year I worked with the faculty and staff at Palouse Prairie Charter School in Moscow, Idaho to develop and pilot a school-wide K-8 art program to enhance students’ learning of foundational art skills and ability to create high-quality final products embedded in semester-long, interdisciplinary learning expeditions. Through this work, I was able to establish communication avenues with the classroom teachers for collaborative brainstorming and planning and worked with every K-6 class to explore techniques in a variety of media and a range of artistic skills. When possible, University of Idaho Art and Education students supported classroom art instruction. Consulting in this capacity allows me to keep a fresh perspective and practice while supporting the needs of the school. The time spent in the school this year has helped me better imagine the future of the PPCS K-8 art program and continue to create the structures and funding needed to fully achieve our vision. Art education is essential!

Workshops for artAbility
artAbility is a student-led project supported by the Idaho CDHD in collaboration with the Self-Advocacy Movement (SAM).

The project was created in 2014 to encourage adults with disabilities to express themselves through participation in art workshops with local art instructors and University of Idaho student supports.”

I have had the priviledge of teaching workshops with artAbility multiple times, and in the Fall of 2023 my Secondary Art Methods group collaborated with the program to offer two workshops on campus. Additionally, I taught a third workshop in the Spring.
Relief Block Printing with EDCI 436 Secondary Art Methods students

This workshop had participants using various art materials to create personalized three-sided stamps. They applied fabric ink to their stamps and embellished canvas tote bags with unique designs.

Watercolor Paper Weaving with EDCI 436 Secondary Art Methods students

This unique workshop used watercolors and pastels to create two contrasting paintings on separate sheets of paper. Participants then cut each page into strips and weaved them together to create a single piece of art.

Quilting Collage with Professor Lauren McCleary

Participants selected an assortment of fabrics to create an original collage with a design of their choice or a design inspired by classic quilting patterns.

Community Programming

Collage Club is a montly meeting of making with friends, neighbors, and strangers of all ages. This work in done in collaboration with Moscow Contemporary. Collage Club demonstrates what I value most about art, an open and inclusive invitation to create in a way that leans into personal vision, intuition, and discover.

The “Spotted in the Wild” Native Palouse Prairie Plants eductional garden is located at the Appaloosa Museum and Heritage Center. The garden activated an underutilized space and brings the learning from inside the Museum to the outdoors where visitors can appreciate and learn about plants and grasses native to this region, imagining what it looked like prior to the shift to large scale agriculture. The garden vision and continued care is a team effort with my husband, David Herbold.

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Lauren McCleary © 2024