Introductory Essay – Faculty & Staff Exhibition

Gouache on paper by Beata Szpura titled Nancy in the Garden.

When I was a child,
And did not know the in or out,
I turned my seeking eye toward
The sun, as if beyond there was
An ear to hear my complaint,
A heart like mine,
To have mercy with the embattled one.
-Goethe (from his Prometheus) [1]

There are four legends concerning Prometheus.
-Kafka (from his Prometheus) [2]


The Art and Design Department at Queensborough Community College is committed to teaching as well as being deeply engaged in art making and research. Being an art professor demands a constant assessment of the ways in which art ideas and techniques are communicated and developed. Sharing this information with students presents the faculty of our department with immense satisfaction, as we become partners and witnesses in a learning and creative process, acting as mentors and catalyst agents for our students educational and artistic growth. Within the pedagogical parameters of excellence that as faculty we have established, each member of our faculty has a distinctive approach to teaching; we believe that this individualistic freedom in the methodology in which we teach our classes is an enormous asset for our students, as they can get many viewpoints and approaches, therefore developing through a critical process their own sense of being in the world and their own path to follow.

Besides an individualistic approach to teaching, following the democratic tradition of academic freedom, each member of our faculty pursues his or her own artistic practice, and in our department, we find a multiplicity of approaches to art-making in the most diverse media. Our faculty is engaged with oil painting, digital design and video art, illustration, performance, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, installation, and digital, and wet darkroom photography. As in our pedagogical approach to studio classes, wherein we believe that our students growth is developed through hands-on art making as well as in the use of the most advanced digital technologies, my colleagues and I make art across the most assorted practices.

This pluralism is a manifestation of artistic freedom and a materialization of our belief in a multi-dimensional education. In some sectors within our contemporary society, the idea of the one-dimensional man or woman is still being forced into us, trying to make us believe that the right way is to train us as specialized workers in an assembly plant, as opposed to thinking individuals armed with the skills and analytical tools to engage critically and creatively with the world.

As an artist, one of the advantages of teaching is the possibility to research and create outside the limitations that many times are imposed by the art market. Constant contact with our students -a future generation of artists and designers- energizes our individual artistic practices; at the same time, our work in the solitude of our studios and participation in exhibitions and public presentations revitalize the information we share in our classrooms. Another advantage, and probably the most satisfying as an art educator, is the continuity in which we participate with our students as art makers as well as keepers and transmitters of the fire of knowledge, freedom, and creativity. Our students will be the future keepers of this fire.

Javier Cambre, Associate Professor
Art and Design Department