Enriching Life Through Art
In honor of National Arts in Education Week, Visual Arts Teacher Lucas Kok shares his insights on why he became an art teacher, his favorite artists and more.
By High School Visual Arts Teacher Lucas Kok
I decided to become an art teacher because I feel as compelled to teach art as I do to make art. I see teaching art as the best way for me to teach self-expression, problem-solving, patience, cultural competence and collaboration to the next generation, who can, in turn, use these skills to make their world a better place.
My favorite part about teaching the arts is showing the way it enriches one's life. I want all my students to garner a lifelong love for art and a compulsion to make it, even if they have no particular agenda or end goal with any given project. The process can be the most meaningful part of creating artwork for the artist.
Find your media, your voice and your truth, and explore them!
Drawing and painting have long been my favorite media to explore, and I get so excited to share this greatest passion with my students every day. I have also fallen in love with the medium of ceramics; it offers my students a sort of therapeutic process as they work their hands through such a natural and amazing material.
Some of my favorite artists include Jackson Pollock, Joan Mitchell, Kehinde Wiley and Vincent Van Gogh, to name a few. It seems like as an art teacher, I should have a more original "favorite" than Van Gogh, but seeing The Starry Night at the MoMA was one of the most moving experiences of my art-loving life.
I would advise all aspiring artists not to compare themselves to others too much. It can be easy to fall into the trap of comparing your art and skill level to that of your peers, classmates and contemporaries. We all have our own styles and we all have our own gifts. Be grateful for the ones you already have, work on the ones you want and appreciate the ones that others around you have. Find your media, your voice and your truth, and explore them!
After student-teaching at Eastside Catholic during the 2020-21 school year, Lucas discovered he loved the EC community and joined the faculty full-time in August 2021. He holds a master's in teaching from Seattle Pacific University and a bachelor's degree in drawing and painting from Whitworth University. If you have questions for Lucas, you can reach him at email@example.com.