This Arts Alive award recognizes an arts educator at the elementary, secondary, or university level who has shown exemplary dedication and commitment to teaching, advising, and mentoring art students.
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Robert (“Bob”) Pierson grew up in Bath, Ohio, and has been teaching art at his alma mater, Revere High School, for the past 27 years. Before teaching, he held a number of creative jobs that he was able to do with his B.F.A. from Kent State University. He created scenery part-time at the Carousel Dinner Theatre while bartending. He worked in the visual merchandising department at the May Company in Cleveland and spent five years in the display department at Arhaus furniture. He then earned his teaching degree from Kent State University and obtained a job teaching high school art. “It is the best decision I could have made,” Pierson said.
“Through the years I’ve learned that the most successful teaching involves getting to know your students and providing an environment where learners are not afraid to ask for help. I also came to the understanding that accomplishing something easy is never as satisfying as accomplishing something that is hard. Much of my instruction involves strengthening one’s power of observation and the development of multiple techniques and approaches. I’ve found that students who have more skills in their toolbox are better able to see their own complex ideas come to fruition,” said Pierson. “I am extremely honored to have been nominated for this award as I still feel that I am just now starting to figure out how best to teach and to make art as well.”
As an artist, Pierson likes the idea that a still life can give reverence to a person, place, or time. He sees many of his compositions as portraits. His intent is to investigate the concept of collecting, or, in an extreme sense, hoarding, and the specific difficulty of letting go of objects that are meaningful. His still life compositions are often filled with nostalgia.