Laura Willett

Faculty Information

Location(s)
Middle School
Department(s)
Fine Arts
Title(s)
Fine Arts Instructor

Contact Information

Email
(Primary)
School Phone
628

Education

Degree(s)
BFA, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Other Information

Intro
Laura insists that any student who is willing to put in the work can make art.
Biography

A 1992 graduate of Baylor, Laura is quick to recall the highlights of her six years as a Baylor student: taking classes that she loved, winning the best-of-show award at Art Scene (a competition for area high school students) and running on a state-champion cross country team.

Returning to Baylor as a member of the faculty, she feels right at home. Art, Laura says, was "always my favorite thing to do." Teaching comes just as naturally to her: she helped home school four little brothers and sisters and as a result feels "the same way about teaching as about art — it's part of who I am."

In her Art Foundations classes, Laura demonstrates her craft over and over: during the first project of the semester, she draws a sphere every day. She loves teaching students "really easy tricks for drawing." For example, when students draw a self-portrait from a photograph, she has them create a grid on the photograph, turn the image upside down, and then start drawing. She tells them not to give a name to anything because names and the mental images that accompany them too easily get in the way. Instead, she has students focus on lines and shapes, and she says, "They are very successful." In fact, she insists that any student who is willing to put in the work can make art.

For several years Laura has served as a faculty sponsor for the Liz Aplin Trip, which provides the opportunity for a lucky group of Baylor art students to travel to Florence, Italy and study at the Florence Academy of Art. Laura and the students stayed in a restored 15th century villa and walked to the academy each day for a full day of classes in Renaissance drawing and sculpture, figure painting, portrait painting, and landscape painting. In addition to classroom instruction, art historians led the group on tours each week.

In her free time Laura does — what else — her own art. She is also the co-founder of Southeast Arts, a business that provides low-rent studio space to artists and organizes an annual show, and she is excited about the burgeoning of art in the Chattanooga area.

Appointed 1999

Written by Jim Stover, 2000