Joe Leibforth
(pronounced LEEB-forth)
My name is Joe Leibforth, and I am currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, pursuing a degree in Art Education. I grew up in Evanston, Illinois, and graduated from Evanston Township High School (ETHS). Throughout my time at ETHS, I dedicated myself to maximizing my art education by enrolling in nine courses within the art department. These classes led me to apply to UW to pursue a degree in Art Education. Upon completing my studies at UW, I aspire to become a high school teacher, specializing in Graphic Design and Photography, and guiding high school students in their creative journeys.

My trajectory in art education has been shaped not only by coursework but by hands-on experiences. Throughout my time at the University of Wisconsin, I've had the privilege of immersing myself in inspiring art classes, benefiting from state-of-the-art studios, and learning from exceptional instructors. Beyond the academic realm, my summers have been dedicated to the practical application of my skills. Working at Camp DIY in Evanston and Neighborhood House Community Center in Madison, I've had the opportunity to instruct students across various age groups, fostering creativity through engaging projects. Transitioning from traditional fine arts to Graphic Design and Photography revealed the transformative potential of design education. Graphic Design, as a discipline, extends beyond the canvas, finding relevance in various industries and everyday life. Integrating design education into art classrooms allows students to view art through a professional lens, gaining valuable skills and perspectives. Design education, particularly in Graphic Design, is central to my philosophy. I believe in providing students with a professional lens through which they can view art as a practical, impactful, and dynamic force in the world. Integrating real-life applications of art enhances not only technical proficiency but also instills a sense of purpose and direction. Students, when exposed to the interdisciplinary nature of design, gain valuable skills and perspectives that extend beyond the canvas.

In my teaching practice, I prioritize fostering creativity through engaging projects. These projects serve as a medium for students to explore, experiment, and express themselves. I believe in creating a supportive learning environment that encourages patience, adaptability, and a passion for artistic endeavors. My goal is to bridge the gap between theoretical concepts and practical implementation, preparing students for the multifaceted landscape of the art and design industries. Recognizing the pivotal role teachers play in shaping artistic trajectories, I aim to invest in students' development and creativity. High school art classes, often a one-time experience for many, should serve as a catalyst for a lifelong engagement with art. Teachers play a crucial role in providing challenges and opportunities for growth for those inclined toward art. However, it's equally essential to inspire those who may not see themselves as inherently artistic. Every student, irrespective of their initial inclination, contributes to the diverse tapestry of perspectives in the classroom. I believe in fostering an environment where all students, regardless of their background, feel valued and encouraged to explore the transformative potential of art. My vision is to inspire students, regardless of their initial perceptions of art, to see the profound real-world implications of their artistic endeavors, nurturing a love for art that extends beyond the classroom. As I embark on the journey of becoming an art educator, my commitment lies in creating a teaching philosophy that recognizes and celebrates the importance of inspiring and involving every student in the exploration of the creative landscape. Through this philosophy, I aspire to contribute to the development of well-rounded individuals equipped with the skills and perspectives needed to make a meaningful impact in the world of art.

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