Studio Art Professor Kim Waale has been teaching at Cazenovia College for 28 years. During that time, Waale has taught a variety of courses such as Kiln-Formed Glass, Figure Drawing, Sculpture, Contemporary Developments in the Arts, History of Photography, 3D Design, and more.
Waale brings her extensive professional art experience to the classroom. In recent years, she has been an artist-in-residence creating sculptural installations in Wales, Spain, Macedonia, Ecuador and within the U S. She has exhibited at many museums and galleries such as Plas Glyn-y-Weddw (Wales), the Everson Museum (Syracuse), Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center (Buffalo), A. I. R. Gallery (NYC), McCormick Freedom Museum (Chicago), Housatonic Museum (CT), Memorial Art Gallery (Rochester, NY), and in Bulgaria, Macedonia and Spain. These experiences have allowed her to network with international artists and set up opportunities like an arts management internship in Wales, UK for Cazenovia College art students.
About the Studio Art faculty Waale says, "We are not only dedicated teachers in the classroom, we are committed and highly productive professional artists too. We enthusiastically share our professional experiences with our students and create real life arts opportunities for them too."
Waale brings her passion for art to the classroom. The enthusiasm she brings to each course shows students how deeply engaged they can be with art.
When asked about her teaching philosophy, Waale responds, "I like to figure out what makes each student a unique individual. By understanding the individuals I am working with, I am able to help students get personally invested in their art-making."
Keeping students engaged and motivated is a multifaceted process. Waale brings a lot of encouragement, enthusiasm and humor into the classroom.
She continues, "Once students feel personally engaged and supported, they can do anything. It enables them to take risks and try new things."
Importance of Advising
Advising at Cazenovia College is special and meaningful to students because it goes beyond helping them choose classes that will fit within their curriculum. Waale explains, "Advising at Cazenovia is about communicating with students to discover their goals, what hurdles they are facing, and what kind of connections we can help them make. I really like talking with students about adding minors to their major studies. Minors are good ways to add breadth to one’s studies and open up more opportunities after college."
Students who come in as undecided about a major often look for guidance from an advisor on what programs fit their interests and career paths. Cazenovia College faculty, like Professor Waale, help students choose majors that will support their goals. There are also times when students decide their major is not a good fit and faculty provide them with individualized mentoring to find a program that aligns with their interests.
"Advising can take you in many directions. I think being attentive to that individual student and taking the time to talk and listen to him or her is the most important part of advising," said Waale.
Making art is a process—often a process that leads to an outcome that is not exactly what the artist first envisioned. Studio Art majors learn to be intellectually flexible and excellent creative problem-solvers. Waale comments that she especially enjoys when students value the process as much as or even more than the final work of art. "When a student fully engages in the art-making process – which can mean reworking things along the way – the finished product often turns out better than they imagined. I love it when they say 'I didn't know I could do this!'"
Waale has experiences each year with students that reaffirm her desire to teach. She reminisces, "The Studio Art faculty develop close relationships with students. We really care about our students. There are many students with whom I stay in touch once they graduate from Caz, and I have collaborated on professional projects with many of these students."
Another memory that Waale holds dear was the first time one of her Studio Art seniors produced her capstone exhibition using kiln-formed glass. Waale adds, "It was incredibly exciting and encouraging, because it was the first year I taught kiln-formed glass. This student's senior project was phenomenal and confirmed the decision to expand the Studio Art curriculum to include kiln-formed glass—a medium that is very unique for colleges to teach!"
Cazenovia College's Studio Art curriculum has incredible breadth and depth—students can work in many different media: from kiln-formed glass to ceramics, from figure drawing to printmaking, from digital collage to woodworking. The Studio Art curriculum also includes very strong art history courses including, for example, Art of the World and Contemporary Developments in the Arts.
Beyond the Classroom
Waale and a colleague started and supervise a student-run business called smART – Student Made ART. This college-based business upcycles used wine bottles from the Magnus Ridge Winery on Seneca Lake into functional pieces of art that the winery then sells.
This sustainable practice is run by Cazenovia College art students. Waale comments, "Student managers, who are students seeking real life arts business experience, are responsible for hiring work-study students, training them, and working with our clients. They manufacture the products and prototype new products. In addition to selling to the winery, they also sell smART products at arts and craft festivals and other venues. It’s a very exciting real life business operation for students interested in arts management and/or kiln-formed glass."
Message to Families
"I think families should know that their students are going to get a lot of personal attention at Cazenovia. Studio Art majors work closely with faculty to gain the skills, experience and intellectual flexibility necessary to be successful creative professionals," says Waale.
Learn more about Professor Kim Waale through our Faculty Spotlight video.