Project Summary: The Zz School of Print Media is an alternative art school. The Zz School aims to construct an alternative classroom that offers artists and art educators the opportunity to build, tear down, expand, and converse with the current academic model. The Zz School will be a one-year (pilot) college-level arts education program. Each semester two courses will be offered: one print technique class and one art historical course titled Object Lessons, a field trip class in which students will view and discuss often unshared archives and collections in Kansas City. Don’t keep your visions to yourself. Enroll now
Project details: Erin Zona choose print media as a focus for The Zz School, not just because of her own background, but because printmaking is by nature a democratic art form. With a focus on not only the mastery of technique and formal considerations, printmaking at its contemporary and historical root is about the spread of ideas.
The current vision for the school is that the one-year pilot program will be divided into two eight-week semesters. In addition to the two course offerings, a visiting artist will be brought to Kansas City to work with faculty and students on the creation of a printed edition. These prints will then be used for both fundraising and the development of The Zz School Teaching Collection.
Zona is underwhelmed by and critical of the exclusivity of visual art higher education. The Zz School adopts the motto Don’t Keep Your Visions to Yourself. Creativity is not exclusive and The Zz School will use the classroom to demystify the visual arts and create an environment that is inclusive and nonhierarchical. The academic art world is exclusive, not only to those who attend (or don’t attend) institutions, but numerous hiring obstacles have created a situation in which too many potential educators find it impossible to get a foot in the door, or struggle to find the time to develop a sound teaching philosophy when they do.
Fifteen years of observation and involvement in the KC arts community has led Zona to believe that this city is exactly the place where this idea of an unorthodox and alternative teaching and learning environment could take root and thrive. This project will engage with the community in two ways: Academic institutions exist first for the students – to provide a balanced technical and theoretical education, but they also exist for the city itself – as providers and benefactors of the culture that enriches civic life.
Enrollment at The Zz School will be open to motivated individuals aspiring to develop their skills as artist and learners. Students can expect to be challenged by technique and craft as well as to develop a wider appreciation for art imagery within historical, cultural, and contemporary contexts. These classes will be rigorous and carry the weight, responsibility, and intent of formal higher education.
Through the establishment of The Zz School Zona does not claim to provide a solution to the problems described in the existing higher education system, but wishes to use this as an opportunity to engage with the problem, experiment in the classroom, share knowledge, and offer opportunities to students and potential educators alike.
Erin Zona (aka Erin Jones) received both her MFA in Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design and the Harriet W. Sheridan Collegiate Teaching Certificate from Brown University in 2009. Upon completion of graduate school Zona has worked as a lecturer of Drawing, Design and Art Appreciation at Brescia University in Owensboro, KY, instructing in both traditional and online formats. Zona currently works as a lecturer in the Printmaking department at the Kansas City Art Institute.
Since 2011, Zona has worked as an artist and program developer for Whoop Dee Doo, a Kansas City based artist run non-profit community arts project. Working alongside the co-directors, Zona refined the organization’s teaching philosophy and workshop methodology as an integral part of the creative collaboration process.
As an instructor, Zona aims to put emphasis in the responsibility of her students as artists to be aware of the broad functions of art within their communities, both in and out of academia. She also maintains active goals as a working artist. Zona was recently awarded a 2013-2014 Studio Residency through the Charlotte Street Foundation. Her current series of prints and drawings titled “The Garden” aim to represent tension and communication between the material world and the spirit world