Background and Interests:
In a nutshell, I have been a teacher for 35 years. But not in ways you might expect and certainly not in the same place for the entire time. Nope. Movement is my middle name. However, if you consider my lengthy educational career as having three or four chapters, it is as follows: Chapter 1. Success as a K-12 Art Teacher and leader in the field. Chapter 2. Success as a School District Arts Administrator and leader in the field. Chapter 3. Not as successful as a principal (It was not unlike the perfect storm – sometimes the conditions are just not right). Chapter 4. Success as a University Administrator, Mentor for New Teachers (Clinical Field Supervisor), and as an Executive Function Coach for Individual Clients. Here's a shout out to PACE University School of Education-NYC and Beyond BookSmart!
Simultaneously with my early career as a teacher, I produced work as an artist/potter. My pottery was exhibited and collected. I also enjoyed giving my work to others as gifts. As an artist, I also developed a keen eye in photography. Photography gave me a different outlet than ceramics. I found that ceramics and photography have one thing in common: they both are very technical. However, since I devoted about 10 years making pottery, it made sense to conduct my doctoral research on the experience of MFA students in different ceramic art programs. As a serious ceramics practitioner, I knew clay well; but I never pursued an MFA, preferring to take the pragmatic route of earning an MS.Ed.
My unique contributions as a researcher/scholar in art education may be overlooked since most of the research in art education is based on studies at the K-12 Grade Level. There is a small but growing body of literature on arts learning of adults in undergraduate and graduate visual art programs. My research aimed to help fill the void or gap in the research on visual arts learning in higher education, specifically at the graduate level. If you want a long slow read that is framed as what it is, my dissertation is a good place to start: A qualitative multiple case study of four graduate ceramic art students enrolled in different Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree programs by Andrew Buck.
Google Scholar Link to Andrew Buck’s Dissertation https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C33&q=A+qualitative+multiple+case+study+of+four+graduate+ceramic+art+students+enrolled+in+different+Master+of+Fine+Arts+%28MFA%29+degree+programs&btnG=
ProQuest Link to a preview of Andrew Buck’s Dissertation https://www.proquest.com/openview/4720d79d89995119a9531fb33d386e4e/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750
My dissertation committee groaned at the length and repetitiveness of my dissertation, but the lights went on when I argued that the structure, repetitiveness, and effort that went into writing the lengthy dissertation mirrored the repetitiveness and laboriousness of working with clay. A minor point but perhaps it helped me pass the oral defense! Based on my research and ideas, I was invited to speak and present at the School of Visual Arts, Penn State, and Harvard University School of Education as well.
Contrary to what some folks might have you believe; I enjoy writing and in general tend to write well. Below is the list of articles published during and after my stint as a later-in-life doctoral student.
Buck, A. (2018). Elena Renker: New Zealand Studio Potter. Ceramics Monthly. November 2018, 37-43.
Buck, A. (2018). Toni Ross: A Woman's Way of Contemporary Minimalism. Ceramics Art + Perception #109. July 2018, 66-72.
Buck, A. (2018). Candice Methe: Maturation of a Nomadic Potter. Ceramics Monthly. September 2018, 38-41.
Buck, A. (2018). Sue Tirrell Contemporary American Ceramic Artist. Ceramics Monthly. February 2018. 32-37.
Buck, A. (2017). Noel Bailey: Inspired by Nature. Ceramics Monthly. December 2017, 37-43.
Buck, A. (2017). David MacDonald Influence, Commitment, and Integrity. Ceramics Monthly, June/July/August 2017, 60-63.
Buck, A. (2014). Magdalene Odundo: Bunting Biennial in Birmingham. Ceramics Art + Perception, #96, 80-81.
Buck, A. (2013). Takeshi Yasuda. Andrew Buck Interviews the Artist. Ceramics Technical (36), 72-77.
Buck, A. (2013). Organic Dissolution: An Installation by Susan Beiner. Ceramics Monthly, 61(3), 44.
You can read all of the articles here: Andrew Buck Publications https://www.andrew-buck.net/category/publications/
ADVOCATE FOR CHANGE / CIVIC ENGAGEMENT:
I highly encourage you to take time to speak up and write your concerns, ideas, and suggestions to your appropriate political representative such as city council member, mayor, public advocate, governor, assembly person, senator or congressional representative, or a local government administrator/official to better our world. You are very capable of initiating change in the world, especially if you have a good or worthwhile idea. If you are just beginning your practice of civic engagement, it may be more impactful to work locally. Find something that would improve your neighborhood and figure out what it would take to make it happen. Speak and meet with people, and most importantly write letters!
VISIONARY – GRANT WRITER AND EVENTS PLANNER:
Looking back, most of my educational leadership activities required vision. I was successful in writing award-winning grant proposals. I garnished city (Reso-A), state (NYSCA) and federal (USDOE) grant awards. I then provided turn-key training to other teacher-leaders who then secured several state (NYSCA) and private foundation grants (NYC Center for Arts Education) to advance arts education for students with disabilities in their schools. I also wrote a successful proposal to open a small school. It was envisioned as a magnet art school for middle school students. The idea was to create a middle school where young students could have robust arts learning experiences and develop portfolios with which to apply to competitive NYC Public Art High schools. Unfortunately, even though this new school was chartered by the NYS Regents, the vision did not have the support or the right conditions for it to succeed and become a reality in NYC. Lessons learned. Fortunately, at the district level, I was very good at organizing and planning events – especially arts festivals which celebrated the achievements of many students across the New York City. There are many adults and children who have fond memories of the VSA NYC Arts Festivals which were held annually at Teachers College/ Columbia University. I also organized the Region 8 Family Arts Festivals which were hosted at Brooklyn Tech and Brooklyn High School for the Arts. Bringing together professional adult performers and artists to work with and perform beside young people while celebrating many students’ creative achievements had a positive impact on the community and many individuals – both young and old! Outside of NYC, one of my most treasured memories of service to the field was chairing the NAEA National Convention (20 years ago!) where Eric Carle was the Keynote speaker. He received a standing ovation for over 5 minutes when he first walked out onto the stage!!!
Since moving on from working in the pubic sector, I have entered a new phase of life. and my vision remains forward looking. I continue to support the growth of others on an individual basis and speak up about specific local or global issues of concern. More significantly, my vision has shifted to the personal sphere where I aspire to cultivate some latent talents of my own which have been dormant.
Anyone who knows me personally knows I bake delicious cookies, (chocolate chip, snicker doodles, oatmeal raisin), bake a hearty loaf of whole wheat bread, and can split an arrow at 18 meters, but not everyone knows I aspire to be a guitarist. I have started practicing guitar regularly, and lessons on You Tube make learning easier. Give me a few years! It takes a lot of practice, work, effort and repetition to get any good at any art form. But I see signs of progress. So, I ask God to give me time………… I promise to post some soundtracks eventually, and who knows - maybe I’ll perform a short set with a few other musicians someday!
SUMMARY & CLOSING THOUGHTS:
As you can see, even within my human flaws and frailties, I manage to survive and maintain a positive outlook in good times and bad. I treasure this resiliency and am grateful for having faith and belief in things greater than ourselves. Thank you to supporters and friends who understand the service and leadership I have provided in the past; who value the guidance, advisement, and coaching I presently offer to others; and who continue to nurture and encourage my ongoing creative development as an aspiring musician. Most importantly I want to thank you, as a visitor, for taking time to read this and believing more deeply in yourself as an agent of change – for your own life, for your local community, or for our world. There are certainly many issues and challenges around us that need to be addressed.
I hope you are inspired!
Andrew Buck - March 2022
Raku Egret Vase by Andrew Buck
Ox-Blood Porcelain Vase by Andrew Buck
Raku Vase by Andrew Buck