Keisha L. Casiano
2015, B.F.A., Visual Arts, Minor in Education, UNT; 2019, M.A., Art Education, Texas Tech University
Elementary School Art Teacher, Northwest ISD
Instagram: ArtFunWithMs.C | Twitter: ArtFunWithMsC
UNT North Texas Interview
Years Teaching: Since 2015
Favorite UNT Teacher: Tyson Lewis
Going to UNT was such a positive experience, and the art building changed my life. I'm still friends with my 2015 classmates. Teaching art has shown me our capacity for growth is limitless. I am thankful to work with children who continually inspire me with their efforts and creativity. Helping kids find ways to communicate about things that are important to them through the arts is powerful. I remember how essential art was for me as a child with a learning disability.
Now, as an adult, providing room for kids to create work that is important to them has enriched my life. Art was an outlet for me; it allowed me to be successful at something, and I always shined. It led me to discover that I was a visual learner and that creating helped me process information better. My struggles with my learning disability led to my understanding of the learning process and molded me into the teacher I am today.
Years ago, I had a boy with autism in my class. He was caught drawing "inappropriate" body parts and was always in trouble for not doing his work. One day, I asked him what he was drawing; all the pictures were from famous renaissance paintings and sculptures. He knew the dates, artists, and how the artwork was created. I started attending his individual Admission, Review and Dismissal meetings, ARDs, and was advocating for what he was doing in the room and how it was educational to what he was doing. He was passionate about this artwork, and I didn't want to discourage him. After going back and forth with the teachers, we were able to provide a safe place in time for him to do these drawings. Now he is a high school student taking advanced art focusing on self-portraits.
Favorite UNT memory: A few of my Art Education classmates took ceramics together one semester. My friends and I would go late to the building and throw on the pottery wheel for hours and jam out to old Brittany Spears. Another favorite memory of mine was after a Design course, early in the morning, a bunch of us would head over to one of the dorms and take advantage of the meal plan there. What was so funny was that none of us lived in a dorm but we would spend hours there just hanging out.
5th grade display out of Yayoi Kusama Plaster
I love what I do. I am incredibly passionate about the arts and shaping young minds. That is why I constantly learn and grow in the art education community. I continually attend and present at state and national conferences every year. I am active on social media, learning from other art teachers and posting and sharing art content. My goal is to keep developing to become a Fine Arts Director. I want to teach other art educators about social media collaboration and unique cross-curricular projects and help enhance our local communities.