Career Validation

To read the original story from the Delaware Gazette, click here.

Jonathan Juravich called the last few months a “whirlwind” after he found out about his nomination for the 2018 Ohio Teacher of the Year award in May.

“The whole thing has been very much a process,” said the Olentangy Liberty Tree Elementary School art teacher. “… It’s been such a blur.”

He was surprised every time he was notified that he made it the next round. But he kept that astonishment to himself, not even telling his family and friends he’d been nominated.

“When do you tell someone you’ve been nominated for this award?” he said.

But the secret was out when the Ohio Department of Education announced that Juravich was Teacher of the Year for the State Board of Education District 6 and one of five finalists for the statewide recognition last week.

The state superintendent will announce the recipient of the award this fall.

“The Ohio Teacher of the Year program recognizes influential and inspiring educators who demonstrate some of the things I love most about teachers: they take our system to higher heights and continue the path toward excellence,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria said in a press release.

The Ohio Department of Education invited school districts to nominate teachers for the District 6 award. Liberty Tree Principal Terri Caton was the one who submitted Juravich’s name for consideration. She said he has the ability to get people involved. She noticed this trait about six years ago when he spearheaded efforts to raise money for a student diagnosed with cancer.

“I think he can be a good principal one day,” Caton said.

State Board of Education member Dr. Antoinette Miranda worked with a committee of educators, parents and business leaders to select Juravich as the recipient.

“Mr. Juravich exemplifies what truly great teachers are made of. He is creative, compassionate, active in our community, incredibly talented and he truly cares about each student,” she said in a press release.

Juravich said he was humbled by the recognition.“It’s just a validating experience,” he said.

Amy Juravich said the word “proud” does not begin to describe how she feels about her husband’s accomplishment.

“When we found out that he was a finalist we were definitely surprised — we needed to pinch ourselves and ask ‘is this really happening?!’ But when I truly sit back and think about it — I’m not surprised at all,” she said. “Jon is a great teacher and I am beyond excited that others are hearing more about him now.”

Amy added that he’s a great father of his two children: Josie, 4, and Ari, 5 months.

“Jon is the type of person who puts his heart and soul into everything he does and he doesn’t expect recognition in return. I always tell him how amazing he is and what a great teacher,” she said. “… It is wonderful that a group at the state level sees in him what I see every day.”

In 2005, Jonathan Juravich graduated from Otterbein University with an art teaching certificate and joined the Olentangy Local School District. Since then he traveled between four different elementary schools until he became a permanent art teacher at Liberty Tree in 2007.

But Juravich is still a traveler of sorts as he engages with elementary school, middle school, and college-aged students once a week during the school year. After teaching young artists at Liberty Tree, Juravich walks over to the attached Hyatts Middle School to coach its cross country and track and field teams.

He then drives over to Otterbein for a weekly course to instruct future art teachers about elementary and secondary art education in the fall and spring. “It’s a really nice balance,” he said.

JonJuravich received his master’s degree in art education from the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 2011.

In addition, Juravich often collaborates with the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Such collaborations include ZooTeen art camps, consultations, and being a guest artist at events. Some of those activities involve having armadillos, snakes, penguins and turtles walk across a painted canvas. Juravich said it’s a way to bring conservation into the discussion. “It’s cool that a penguin walks across the surface, but there’s a much deeper meaning,” he said.

Juravich said he’s considered moving up to an administration role, but said he loves his current profession.

“I value arts education and what it does for my students. It gives them self confidence (and) opens their eyes,” he said.

Gallery images:  “The “Jackalope” “Tea Kettler” and “Ball Tailed Cat” are from a series where I collaborated with my four year old Josie (she was three at the time). I taught her about Lumber Jack Folklore and then she would paint the creatures she learned about and I would create backgrounds and context. We are working on a new series together now,” said Juravich.

This story was originally published by the Delaware Gazette.

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Education to be Radical, Relentless, & Radiant

To view the original post by Mitchell Sipus, Art Academy alumnus, click here.

I was deeply honored to give the commencement speech to the graduating class of 2017 at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. These last few days, I am now continually reflecting upon the unique and powerful proposition this school makes to the world. There is no other school like it.

The only other college to which I can compare it is the mythical Black Mountain College of the 1960s that produced revolutionary minds such as John Cage. To plagiarize someone else’s story, the Art Academy (AAC) doesn’t merely graduate artists or designers, it graduates the critical but hard to find team member of every successful business:

“there are three kinds of people you want to launch a business: the person with the idea, the person with the financial sense, and the person who makes you say ‘what the fuck?’ The last is the person who can rip ideas apart, remix them, and flip everything upside down to generate breakthroughs that no one else can see.” 

The last kind of person is particularly hard to find. Many schools can teach people to become accountants or to be entrepreneurs but no school teaches students to be intellectually rebellious and operationally radical. Except for the Art Academy of Cincinnati. No joke. It is even in their mission statement.

Everyday books about Innovation, Design, and Economic Disruption churn through billions of dollars in annual publishing sales. Parallel to the publishing industry, countless institutions argue they offer an education that will transform students into innovators who will change our world. But do these industries actually generate the change-makers we seek?

In the last ten years, I’ve been fortunate to spend time at the world’s best universities as a speaker, student, or instructor including Oxford University, MIT, Harvard, Cornell, and Carnegie Mellon University – and these are indeed great schools. Their students are brilliant and the faculty are more than competent. The programs are well funded and the students are nearly guaranteed the security of a well-paying job upon graduation. These schools also attract people who already have a history of success – when Elon Musk attended Stanford, he had already earned degrees in Physics and Economics. Yet I have never encountered another school that transforms unknown students into true innovators. In fact, when I recently taught Design Thinking at an East Coast top-tier MBA program, my students complained the entire time about the lack of clear directions and the constantly shifting parameters within the course requirements. I have since learned that this complaint is exceedingly common within MBA Design degrees. These programs are forcing square people through intellectual circles and many graduates come out very little changed.

Do all art schools impact students to think so differently? I’m not sure… there are many art schools in the world. My sister is a student at SCAD. I have friends as RISD. When I was a teenager, I lusted for the attention of the San Francisco Institute of Art (SFAI) and the School of the Chicago Institute of Art (SCIA). Unfortunately, in 1999, I had so little money for college, I did not even have the 50 dollars to apply to any of those programs let alone all of them. With little hope to attend any college, I drove my broken-down ‘91 Geo Prism to the Art Academy of Cincinnati for a Portfolio Review Day in mid-October, to present my high school artwork to various colleges. San Francisco was there, as was Chicago, and at least a dozen others. Chicago offered a partial scholarship on the spot, which was incredible… yet, as I did not have the money to apply, let alone to live in Chicago, it held more symbolic meaning than opportunity. I was nonetheless motivated at that moment to find a way to go to art school.

Weeks later I happened to cross paths with some artists, Aaron Butler and Christopher Daniel. Aaron worked at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and pioneered the experimental music group, Dark Audio Project, while Chris was a metal sculptor who went on to found the extraordinary and thriving Blue Hell Studio. They both held Art Academy ties, and with their encouragement, I decided to do everything possible to earn a scholarship. I applied only minutes before the deadline, in person, submitting my application in a massive wooden box crafted from an old PA system pulled from a dumpster in Kentucky (at Aaron’s suggestion that I make the physical application somehow stand out). As a mediocre student in high school, I had only applied to one other school at the time – the globally exceptional design school of the University of Cincinnati, DAAP – and I was not accepted. The Art Academy took a chance on me, offered a scholarship to cover more than half of tuition, and I will be forever grateful. Notably, after later graduating from the Art Academy, I received a full scholarship to DAAP for graduate school.

Visiting AAC this (in May) was not only nostalgic – it was inspirational. The Art Academy is a weird place. It consistently takes chances on people like me. It is a community of outsiders. It pushes them to build expertise on the ability to make something new – which is not typical, considering most degree programs demand students acquire knowledge on a longstanding subject or methodology. It pushes students to invent new models of production, new identities as artists, and to take life to the frontier of possibility. Graduates of the Art Academy of Cincinnati do not need books on creative problem solving, they need wicked problems where all others have failed. If the Art Academy has a flaw, it is a simple fact that they do little marketing or high-profile partnering, and consequently, the world knows little about this school amid an insatiable demand. The Art Academy of Cincinnati is not a diamond in the rough – it is a silent A-bomb in the exosphere.

My life has changed much since I attended the Art Academy. I am writing this blog entry while on a flight to San Francisco. Tomorrow morning, I will run a series of design strategy workshops for a Venture Capital firm in Silicon Valley to explore new investment models for Artificial Intelligence. Since attending the Art Academy, I have lived in multiple countries, built companies, and am fortunate that my abilities to tackle entrenched problems in new ways are continually in demand. When I think of the year I started college, 2000, my life is now very different from the future that was most likely ahead. Though I have my fair share of life challenges, I have a wonderfully creative and satisfying life. It has been a hard journey, but I credit the faculty and students of the Art Academy of Cincinnati. While most colleges chart a path for your future, the Art Academy provided a compass to guide me through the deep woods of the unknown.

Mitchell Sipus
Class of 2004

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Looking Through

“Whether we are looking out at the world or looking inward at ourselves, we are always looking through the void within us, through the world, and through both light and darkness. This is a moment of uncertainty and possibility where we find ourselves alone, even if in reality everyone is still very close.”

For her solo exhibition Looking Through, Katelyn Wolary offered these words as a companion to her collection of portraits – both striking and bewitching. Capturing classmates with oil and wood panels, she offers us a glimpse of that moment. Her subjects are staring off at nothing, everything, present but only partially, alone yet connected to everyone else searching through the void.

Katelyn’s self-portrait for the exhibition? She’s looking through you. Not in a judgmental or apathetic way. It’s as if she knows something and is waiting for the right time to share. Perhaps she’s expecting you to have the answer. Either way, there is an air of gentle confidence, a sense that she’s comfortable in the moment if not content.

Already a painter and poet, Katelyn recently earned another telling title – Class of 2017 Valedictorian. Listening to her recount her time at the Art Academy, it is clear this honor celebrates more than her G.P.A.

Growing up in the comparatively small town of Wilmington, Ohio, Katelyn developed a disciplined focus and work ethic via her participation in athletics. But when one of her art teachers in high school saw her potential and encouraged her to connect with another artistically inclined student, Katelyn began directing that same attitude toward her artistic endeavors. Though her parents initially expressed the common concern about how she’d earn a living, they helped her dive into her new passion with vigor.

When her work in high school was recognized with an Ohio Youth Governor’s Art selection, she remembers Joe Fisher – then with AAC admissions – attending the ceremony. This kind of personal touch made a good first impression and continued to impress her once she’d decided to accept the AAC’s very generous scholarship.

“Paige Williams and Mark Thomas were my “Studio Art 1: CORE” instructors, which was the first studio experience I had as a freshman at AAC. Their instruction, support, and criticisms supported my desire to learn and work hard, and was one of my favorite classes throughout the last four years. I have so many good things to say about so many of my professors, it’s hard to know where to begin.”

Another one of those professors was Matt Hart. Katelyn credits his Aesthetics class for helping her consider and develop her own views and values. She also enjoyed letting both the athlete and artist run free in Matt and Paige’s Creative Running course.

Throughout her time at the Academy, Katelyn’s dedication and desire to stretch herself with opportunities within and beyond the AAC has translated into both a richer personal experience and public recognition such as the Helms Trust Scholarship.

“The personal connections and support within the AAC community, which extend far beyond the walls of the Art Academy building, have been one of the most rewarding experiences of attending AAC. For example, last spring, 21C Museum Manager and AAC alum, Michael Hurst, came around to the student studios to check out the work. Fortunately, he saved my business card and contacted me later in the fall for the opportunity to loan my work to 21C for their Elevated Art exhibit, which has been hanging for the last six months and features other local artists.”

Standing on the cusp of graduation, sharing yet another moment of uncertainty and possibility with her fellow graduates, Katelyn is very grateful for both her biological and AAC families. The support of both has played a big part in empowering a profoundly gifted, hardworking and humble artist.

An artist who is certain to make the most of her possibilities.