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Published February 2, 2021

Photo by Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University

Chair holder Park McArthur helps her students understand the challenges of a career in art and how they can flourish as creators.

The Tepper Family Chair in Visual Arts was established in 2011 with a gift from Marlene Brandt RC’80. It is the first endowed chair at Mason Gross School of the Arts, and Park McArthur became the third holder of the Tepper Chair in 2019. You can read a profile on her here: https://www.rutgers.edu/news/park-mcarthur-inspires-young-artists-rutgers-tepper-chair

In the Professor’s Own Words

What aspects of your work are most satisfying? 

Everything that might fall under the phrase “working closely with students”: the privilege of learning about where their art comes from; learning about what is needed in their academic journey; reflecting upon my own experiences as an artist; and bringing in my friends and mentors as class visitors to make connections across communities.

What do you hope your students take away from your classes?

An ongoing process of talking with themselves about what they need to nourish their art practices and themselves. And that their practices are necessary in making the world we want to live in come about.

What advice do you give students who are concerned about making a living as an artist?

Talking about our challenges is really important. The nature of institutional policy (whether in a museum or a recording contract) hasn’t necessarily been set up to benefit artists. That’s part of what’s hard about making a living as an artist. Demystifying how these policies shape our work and lives can identify needed changes even if changes, some of which can happen inside of the logic of an artwork and some of which can’t, are not able to be implemented as immediately or widely as desired.

How has the pandemic made teaching the visual arts more challenging? Has teaching remotely had any upside?

Shout out to everyone in the art and design department and our chair, Marc Handelman, who have prioritized our safety across overlapping, interdependent staff, student, and faculty bodies. The department has made teaching remotely possible, the upside of which is hope and our survival. Teaching remotely also underscores the ways in which many artworks that we might think of as personally influential we may not have experienced in person. Artworks distant from us nevertheless shape our perspectives and thinking, our feeling, and our understanding of art.

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