Foundersland: “Teaching Young Artists. Transforming Lives.”

By Marty Sklar – Founder, Past President, Chairman of Leadership Council

Leah and I stay in touch with our son, Howard, with a telephone call on a regular basis. Howard is an Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Helsinki; he and his family have lived in Finland for almost 20 years.

Inevitably, something in the conversation reminds me of Howard’s dedication to his profession. And that always leads me to thoughts of my father and brother. Dad was a teacher, vice-principal and principal in the Los Angeles schools. Brother Bob was a professor of Cinema Studies at NYU.

All three had many things in common: their love of teaching, of course, but most importantly, their love of motivating young people to learn and improve their knowledge of the subjects they taught. And to grow as contributing citizens in our communities.

Somehow these thoughts always lead me to think about the dedicated teachers in our Ryman Arts program. I have observed many of them in our classrooms at Otis College of Art and Design, and California State University, Fullerton. And I always come away excited by what I observe. It’s actually easy to recognize great teachers: just watch how they relate to their students – and in turn, how their students relate to them. Look at the work that comes out of that inter-action; whether it’s a painting, an essay or a mouth-watering recipe – you can “feel the magic” of that relationship.

Faculty member Manny Cosentino takes his class outside to practice plein air paintings.

As a new school year begins, I am excited about the visit our Ryman Arts Leadership Council will be making in October to our program at Otis. It will give many community leaders the opportunity to see Ryman Arts “in action” – to watch that interaction between students and teachers, and to admire (as I know I will) those talented motivators doing what they love: teaching young artists, transforming lives.

Faculty member Julie Weitz facilitates a critique session with her students.

As a parent, as a leader of creative talent for many years, and especially as a member of the Ryman Arts family, I know I will thank our Executive Director, Diane Brigham, and our Education Manager, Rebecca Tuynman for bringing together at Otis College and at Cal State Fullerton an outstanding group of artist-teachers who provide leadership and inspiration for motivated young artists … who come to us to learn, grow and make our mission a reality: “Teaching Young Artists. Transforming Lives.”


Cover photo: Faculty member Kaleeka Bond works with her student during Intermediate Drawing & Painting