Episode 16: Mark Rode: Advocating for Arts Education

It was so much fun talking with Mark Rode! Our chat brought me down memory lane a bit as my path was similar in many ways to his. Living in New York in our 20’s, engaged in the art world there, with dreams of becoming an art professor. I loved hearing how Mark’s dreams shifted and how his art practice is also shifting to better align with other values in life – like family and stability! 

It’s also been helpful doing follow-up chats about racism with the artists I’ve interviewed. I realize that these questions were shockingly lacking from my initial thoughts about what to discuss, so my attempt to rectify that is going back to those that have been recorded, but not yet released. Mark talked about several Black artists that he likes to share with students, including one I didn’t know. They’re all linked below.

Mark Rode is an artist and educator based in Minneapolis.  He paints within the realm of geometric abstraction, exploring the spatial possibilities and contradictions in the picture plane. Mark also teaches visual art to students in grades 1-5 at an elementary school in the Twin Cities.  His students are a continual source of inspiration.

Insider, 2016

Building community and advocating for ourselves and our profession is so important. I love what Mark has done to highlight other art teachers with his interview website, ask the art teacher. Go check it out! He has some great interviews with incredible art teachers including Don Masse, Nic Hahn, Cassie Stephens, Julie Voigt and many more. 

I also really like his paintings and how he pushes space and depth using hard lines, opacity, value, color, and texture. I’m excited to see what’s next as his practice ebbs and flows. It was nice to talk about the reality of trying to maintain an art practice while teaching and parenting young children. And Mark is still in the thick of it with a 4 year old and 8 month old! I love his idea of shifting to drawing or watercolor on paper for a while. 

Feedback, 2015


Black Artists that Mark mentioned:

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Emulation, 2015
Kimmy Cantrell inspired ceramic pieces by Mr. Rode’s 4th graders
Reggie Laurent inspired work by Mr. Rode’s 1st graders

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