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    SCREENING AND CONVERSATION with Margaret Prescod, Founder, Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders and host of “Sojourner Truth” on Pacifica Radio’s KPFK.
    Nana Gyamfi, Lawyer-Black Lives Matter, Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders.

  • Otis Fine Arts hosts a Visiting Artist lecture series featuring Oliver Payne, a Los Angeles-based artist. Read more about him here.
    Contact: Soo Kim, skim@otis.edu
  • Kimberli Meyer trained as an architect and an artist, and has been the director of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House in West Hollywood since 2002. She has initiated and curated many programs there, including the exhibitions How Many Billboards?

  • Industry Spotlight

    Oct 15| Special Event

    An advertising creative director for more than 25 years, Otis alumnus Josh Weltman was the Mad Men co-producer responsible for Don Draper's credibility as an advertising genius.

    Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at the hit series, plus hear key insights from Weltman's new book Seducing Strangers: How to Get People to Buy What You're Selling.

  • Please join the Digital Media Department for a lecture by  Alina Chau.
    Chau is an Animator, Illustrator and Storyboard artist who has worked with Lucasfilm Animation, Technicolor Interactive Services, and Electronic Arts.  
    Alina Chau received her MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles. She spent over a decade working in the animation industry. Her most notable credit is on LucasFilm’s Emmy Award Winning program, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”
  • Otis Fine Arts hosts a Visiting Artist lecture series featuring Yutaka Makino. He lives and works in Berlin.  Read more about him here.
    Contact: Soo Kim, skim@otis.edu
  • Susan Choi’s first novel, The Foreign Student, won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction, and her second novel, American Woman, was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. Her most recent novel, A Person of Interest, was a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award. With David Remnick she co-edited the anthology Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker. A recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation, and in 2010, the inaugural winner of the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award, Choi lives in Brooklyn.


Bringing Arts Education to the Community

Aug 27, 2013
ACT Program Alumni Profile
Spotlight Category: Alumni

by Michele Jaquis
ACT Director

The Artists, Community, and Teaching (ACT) program began in 2005 with what is now the Teacher Credential Preparation minor. Combined with the fi ne arts major, this minor allows students to waive the California Subject Exam for Teachers, the fi rst step in earning a teaching credential, which can be completed either at another university or through a school district internship. Otis is currently the only art school in California to offer this program, approved by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

The ACT Community Arts Engagement minor was launched in 2010 for all students interested either in socially engaged art and design practices or in teaching in museums, nonprofi t arts organizations, private schools, or correctional facilities.

ACT alumni are doing amazing things. Alfredo Guzman (’07) is teaching art at his alma mater, Holtville High School. Mayuka Thais Nagasaw (’07) teaches art and music classes in L.A. and Tokyo. Kendra Elstad (’08) is an associate third grade teacher at Wildwood School in L.A. Albert Valdez, featured on opposite page, who started in a work-study position at LACMA, is now Coordinator of the museum’s Education Department. The following alumni are pursuing graduate degrees: Kaitlynn Redell (’09) Fine Arts at Parsons, Raul Baltazar (’08) Public Practice at Otis, Jessi Bhatia Kim-Saad (’09) Teaching and Single Subject Art Credential at Chapman, and Lyndsay Sullivan (’10) Creative Arts Therapy at Hofstra.

In my four years directing the ACT Program, I’ve seen that those who thrive have a genuine desire to share knowledge and give back to their communities while maintaining an active art/ design practice. According to Maricela Aviña (’11), a painter and Program Leader for After School All Stars at Southeast Middle School in South Gate,

“I knew I wanted to have a career in education, preferably in the L.A. area in the community in which I was raised. Through ACT, my dream has become a very real possibility. I got my foot in the door through a teaching internship and volunteering my art lessons.

This year I named my art class ‘Cre8tive Studio: Infi nite Ways to Create,’ to let students know that all of them can be creative in different ways. When I was their age, I did not have this opportunity.

I want my students to know that I’m a dedicated artist as well as an educator. When you tell them you are an artist, they ask questions about art and design. It makes a huge difference when they learn about your background and what you do."

The ACT student population is even more diverse than the rest of Otis’ community. Adriana Collazo (’11), who directs the ECOFAB Program at After School All Stars, suspects that because they were taught by white teachers, many ACT students of color want to become role models for younger generations. She explains:

"As an artist from an immigrant family, I am sensitive to social matters and statistics, which ignite my commitment to change social stereotypes and reduce drop-out rates. . . . In ACT, I saw that the passion of artists as teachers can be transmitted to students. After School All Stars programs take place in the low-income communities where I was raised, where hope is rare and support for higher education by experienced art college graduates is unheard of. What inspires me is the passion in students’ eyes when I tell them I believe in them."

This is also why I teach, and I imagine that many of my Otis colleagues would agree.

ABOVE: ACT 2011 graduates Maricela Aviña, Giovanni Rubio, and Adriana Collazo