What better way to ground ourselves in a place than to observe intently and draw? Like many of my students, I too grew up on Maui, and much of my art is about the island’s unique ecosystems and species. I design my projects to grow students’ skills of close observation and connection, especially through the processes of drawing and painting. When we deeply observe, we feel a connection to our subject. We become curious and eager to connect knowledge from our core subjects. Our learning takes on meaning, and the experience becomes a part of us.
In my teaching artist residencies, I use art as a tool to illuminate the content and standards the school has chosen. These collaborations yield the most beautiful connections–both in the art created, and in the students’ minds.
Through our art projects, I teach students to be creative problem solvers. Every time we create we are on an adventure, and adventures include both challenges and discoveries. I model and guide students on their journey. Something unexpected is not a mistake, it is an opportunity to be creative. I share ideas and have them share their own “what ifs”–suggestions for each other’s artworks. We develop our creative problem solving muscles so that we can use them to find better solutions in our own lives and for the world.
Through the processes of observing and creating, students gain confidence in their personal expression. They gain a way to share their unique perspective with the world. They are also brought into dialogue with their peers’ artworks and how others see the world, whether it is a different vantage point for a still life, a painting of a life experience outside their own, or just a different color for the sky. In all of these, their world becomes larger and more detailed, leading again to new creative connections. When students share their creations and practice reflecting and responding, they learn the value of each perspective and how to recognize and celebrate each person’s expression. They learn not only to share what comes from their own heart, but to honor and kindly respond to what others have shared from theirs.
Maggie Sutrov takes her paints with her everywhere she goes on Maui and anywhere she travels in the world. From Haleakala National Park, to slack key concerts, from the Canadian Rockies to Angkor Wat in Cambodia–she’s painted there.
She feels that teaching art is even more fulfilling than painting. She specializes in helping children and adults use drawing and painting as a way to notice the world more deeply and to feel confident expressing this in their own way.
Maggie grew up on Maui and began painting and selling her art in galleries even before graduating from high school. After receiving her BFA from the University of Victoria in BC, Canada, she returned home to Maui where she opened and ran a gallery for three years. She has lived or traveled in 12 countries on three continents, painting everywhere she goes, but the islands always call her home.
She received her certification to teach K-5 and Visual Arts K-12. In 2016 she helped found Pride Prep Charter School in Spokane, WA, which specializes in project based learning. She taught classes to 6-8th graders that connected the arts to Language Arts, Science, and community projects, including a project where student-designed and created artworks were permanently installed at the Transitional Living Center, a nonprofit serving women and children.
On Maui she has run her own art camps, as well as taught art at Kula Elementary School, the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center.
She most recently taught at Pomaika’i Elementary School where she collaborated with staff to teach arts integrated projects that met core content goals and place-based learning into her lessons. During the pandemic she threw herself into teaching art virtually, guiding her students through art projects both via Zoom and through engaging video lessons. These new modes of teaching allow her to now reach students throughout Hawaii and beyond. Through her online business Paint There, she now inspires people to go outdoors, explore the world, and paint there too.
The Artistic Teaching Partners (ATP) Roster is an adjudicated directory of Hawai‘i professional teaching artists qualified to conduct in-depth residencies in educational settings. Each artist or arts organization has a page in the directory with contact information, a short bio, and an artist statement. The State Foundation on Culture and the Arts draws from this roster for arts education programs including Art Bento at the Hawaiʻi State Art Museum and Artists in the Schools.