Have you heard of the teacher who flew planes when she was 13?
Likely not, as the teacher in question is Ms. Lorena Alvarez, the new art teacher and technology coordinator at SLA.
Ms. Alvarez previously worked as an art teacher at Samuel Fels High School. She has been teaching since 2006 and has taught art, architecture, and design at a variety of institutions and levels.
She is a Philly native. However she has also lived in New York and Miami while pursuing her education at the University of Pennsylvania, Florida International University, and Temple University where she is currently pursuing her Master’s in education at the Tyler School of Art.
Ms. Alvarez’s interest in art and design has been with her for her whole life.
“I’ve just always made stuff and I guess as time went on it became the most fun thing to do – was to put stuff together and take it apart.”
However, the first time she settled on art as a pursuable interest was during her first ceramics class, in which “the class ended earlier than I expected and I stayed later than I needed to” with the malleable ability of clay being the most interesting part of the practice for her,
In her art class Ms. Alvarez says she likes to “start off with the elements and principles of art and make sure that everybody has a strong foundation” and has also hinted that, due to her architectural background, her students will also have a chance to work with more third-dimensional materials and designs.
One of her students is sophomore Christiana Jemiri. Jemiri has never been part of an art program before but enjoys the class stating, “She’s pretty good, I like the assignments she gives out. We focus on a lot of art styles, like so far we did a lot of light and dark elements, now we’re focusing more so on like graffiti art and street art so I like that a lot.”
Ms. Alvarez has only been part of the SLA community for a few months but already seems to enjoy it stating, “Oh I love it I’m having such a good time – everyone is so sweet. I think it’s a dynamic community with a lot of engaged people which makes learning possible and fun.”
Ms. Hernandez, Alvarez’s co-adviser, agrees with that sentiment saying that Ms. Alvarez’s ability to “roll with the punches” is extremely helpful – especially when dealing with a freshman advisory. The two “tag-team” assignments, working together to come up with fun and interesting projects for their advisees.
Excited for the year ahead Ms. Alvarez also sends an encouraging message to any aspiring artists at SLA: “Trust your instincts. A lot of people assume that they know less than they actually know, but we’ve all been inhabiting the world made of objects, designed by people, and so I think every person that comes to the table to make something brings their entire lifetime of experience with them. And so, yeah, trust your instincts.”