Ms. Tamie Smith is a P.S. ARTS Teaching Artist who currently teaches visual arts for LAUSD. We love her art projects and how she encourages her students to explore their creativity through different cultures. We interviewed Ms. Tamie about her classes and inspirations and what she’s learned as a P.S. ARTS Teaching Artist. Read on to find out what she had to say!
Tell us about yourself and your arts discipline.
My name is Tamie Smith I live in Venice California with my husband and am a mother of one son. I’m a native Californian but has lived abroad and traveled for many years. I am also a visual artist. I have completed many large scale ceramic tile murals and installations. I’ve been a Teaching Artist for over 20 years. Art is a vital part of education. It will help to mold the future adult. All children are gifted with the power to create and should be given equal opportunity to express themselves. Art helps develop a sense of individuality and self affirmation. These elements deserve a healthy start. It’s about removing layers of doubt, inhibition, and fear. The most beautiful thing about children’s art is its expression of a genuine innocence of perception, a way of looking at the world that is always brand new, free of logical structure it has a logic all its own. It’s a visual language, a universal language. It’s the beauty and creative power of unconscious distortion. The three legged grandpa or the scarab beetle with chicken feet being ridden by a giant head is what gets me excited and is something I love being part of.
What does your current teaching setup look like? What are some tools that are essential to your virtual classroom these days?
Ms. Tamie shared this montage video to show her set up, classroom techniques, and art assignments. Check out to see her virtual classroom!
Share a “magic moment” you experienced teaching in the last year (an inspirational experience as a teacher or with a student).
This year we were celebrating Dia de los Muertos and a 2nd grade student said “ Can I make my mom and dog out of the bread clay because they both died last week .” I said “Of course you can what a beautiful way to remember them”. I kept watching her and she was just working away very proud and kept wanting to share. She has shown up every week for art class humming while she creates.
Art helps develop a sense of individuality and self affirmation. These elements deserve a healthy start. It’s about removing layers of doubt, inhibition, and fear.
Who is an artist you are currently inspired by?
The artist I am currently inspired by, and I’m sure many will be right there with me, is Amanda Gorman. The words she spoke at the inauguration were so eloquent, beautiful and inspiring! I am moved by her personal story of being a skinny little girl with a speech impediment. But with the support and encouragement from family and teachers…look at her now!
How has teaching for P.S. ARTS shaped your practice as a Teaching Artist?
Teaching for P.S ARTS has inspired my practice as an artist by observing the freeness and fearlessness of young minds at work
Thank you for sharing with us, Ms. Tamie! We appreciate your work and love seeing what you do!