Episode 47: Don Masse: Shine Brite: Illuminating the World

I have been inspired by Don Masse’s blog for years and loved getting to talk with him and pick his brain! He shared some great tips and inspiration for artists and teachers, including exciting ways of using digital tools for art-making with students. We talked about balancing art and teaching and family and all the things – or struggling with that balance. I loved his method of teaching collage as a playful, experimental art form by offering glue only at the end of class. He spoke about seeking and sharing contemporary artists, local artists, and artists that act as windows and mirrors for his students to make art relevant. 

I loved hearing about how he has made work with his own kids through a back and forth collaborative process. It’s always inspiring for me to talk with other teaching artist parents and hear about how they balance it all and bring art into every aspect of life. 

Don Masse is an influential art teacher who has been active in the field for over 20 years. He teaches in San Diego at Zamorano Fine Arts Academy, a public arts magnet school. Don has presented at several Art Ed Now conferences put on by the Art of Education and has been a guest on their podcast, Art Ed Radio. He frequently writes for Arts & Activities Magazine, and maintains a blog where I first discovered him: Shine Brite Zamorano. He is well known for incorporating contemporary artists into his curricula and developing collaborative projects with his students. 

June 2020

My earliest art-related memory is getting in trouble for drawing on one of the mint green walls in the family room with a bright red crayon. Since then, my love for the language of visual art has never waned. I am motivated to create by a desire to leave a positive mark, whether transient or long lasting, on the people in my life and the communities that I am part of. This could take the form of creating drawings and paintings large and small, apparel designs, or guiding students through the language of art on a daily basis.

– Don Masse
Part of Don’s proposal for the public art project on a parking garage seen below
Public art install, 9 Panels, North Park, San Diego, September 2019
This project combines charcoal with digital, directly influenced by experiments Don was doing with his students.

Since 2001, Don Masse has taught at Zamorano Fine Arts Academy, a very large and diverse public elementary school imailn San Diego where he is firmly committed to introducing his students to the work of contemporary artists (including numerous ones in San Diego) from diverse backgrounds and creative fields. He says “Students should see themselves in our curriculum so that they feel valued and loved. I also feel that students become better engaged with visual art content and design challenges when they can see these elements being applied by diverse artists working in today’s world.”

When Don is not in the classroom, you can often find him with a piece of chalk in his hand, either drawing in the street or in the safety of his own living room.

Street drawing, spring 2020


Skate decks, spring 2020
Private Commission, 2020
August 2020
Demonstrating stucco brush work to 5th graders for Zamorano’s annual legacy mural

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