IFAF artist Marianne Lettieri has been awarded the Sillicon Valley SV Laureate Award. The award is given by the SV Creates organization to acknowledge achievement in the arts and community involvement that culturally enriches Silicon Valley. Lettieri teaches workshops at the Community School for Music and Arts (CSMA) in Mountainview, California. Lettieri, a mixed media and sculpture artist, teaches workshops for adults who want to explore the creative process in all of its messy glory. “The linchpin of my teaching philosophy is that the art process is more important than the destination. I want my students to think critically and problem solve. I want to infect them with enthusiasm, courage, and motivation for making things.” Lettieri instills the virtue of valuing the process without disregarding result. “I am constantly amazed how students create such diverse and unique pieces using the same raw materials and processes.” It is a reflection of her own effort to stay true to her vision.
While vision is important, collaborations also take place. “My classes are rigorous, but also a lot of fun,” says Lettieri. A recent class did an exercise where one person began a work, and it was passed to each student every two minutes to alter or add whatever they saw fit. When a rock song came on the radios, this project turned into a spontaneous dance party.
Lettieri has held workshops since 2005, and has been working with CSMA since 2015. The venues on her resume include San Jose State University, California college of the Arts, Graduate Theological Union, and the Asilomar Conference Center among others. Workshops balance best with the artist’s time commitments to her arts administration duties and her own artwork. Teaching also satisfies something that working on her own cannot. “I teach because it’s extremely gratifying to see the excitement, the spark in the eye when a student suddenly puts everything together and understands new creative possibilities.” Her students aren’t alone in their paradigm-shifting experiences. Teaching for Lettieri is an exercise in expanding her abilities outside of creating art. She is also curating exhibitions in the near future. These pursuits take her out of her comfort zone, but tie into a genuine desire to help other creative types and see them succeed.
Looking ahead, Lettieri plans to go into her studio to “play and prepare for an aesthetic shift of some kind.”
Community School of Music and Arts – arts4all.org