Episode 24: Blade Wynne: Teaching As Improv

Blade shared how he teaches with a focus on process over product and bringing his ways of looking and making into his classrooms. He shifted from teaching at the university level through a summer career shift program and just dove into teaching at the elementary level, primarily 2nd grade, this year. What a wild first year! Blade is constantly inspired by the work his early elementary students create and talks about the inventiveness of this age level. He also shares some of his favorite lessons so far and how teaching is akin to improv in some ways – the constant adjustment as you see what works for each class, each student. 

I love how Blade has adjusted his own art practice to fit into his life as a busy first year teacher and parent of 3 young kids. He’s growing trees in pots as an art form, as objects to draw or paint from, as sculpture, as a practice that feeds creativity. I can’t help but relate his plants to his students. He spoke about how he gives a little water and helps shape the plants and the plants continue to grow for years. It makes him think about longevity and a brighter future. Children bring me to those hopeful thoughts. 

Blade Wynne with his kids in his classroom

Blade Wynne was born in 1980, in Providence, Rhode Island. He received his BFA in Painting from Pratt Institute in 2002 and his MFA in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design in 2008. His work has recently been exhibited at Shockoe Artspace of Richmond, and The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. His work has appeared in publications such as “Journal of the Print World” and “New American Paintings.” He is a recipient of the VMFA Visual Arts Fellowship, (Professional Award) as well as the Virginia Commission for the Arts Fellowship in Painting. As an educator he taught 2D design, Painting, and Drawing for several years in the Foundation Art Department at Virginia Commonwealth University and The Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, Virginia. He is currently entering his second year of teaching elementary art in the public school system of Chesapeake, Virginia. 


Color mixing with students
Creating branches using tape and charcoal