Student Inspired to Become Art Educator After Visit with ACC Pottery Workshop

 In Education

Inspiration in art and in education can sometimes come from the most unlikely places. A chance encounter at a pottery workshop at Alvin Community College showed student Jacob Melgren what a career in art could be.

The inspiration from that visit motivated him to become an Art instructor himself at ACC.

“What inspired me about the workshop was the idea of being an artist seemed more real after vising a college studio,” he said. “Sometimes it was difficult to imagine art as a career while in high school, in some ways the visit helped me see what was possible.”

ACC offers pottery workshops to local high schools throughout the year. Dozens of students come to the studio to learn about spinning pots, clay sculpture, raku pottery and more.

Melgren attended a workshop nine years ago at the behest of his Friendswood ISD Art instructor Jan Nemitz.

“Jacob always had very creative ideas and always seemed to be searching for something unusual,” she said. “Jacob enjoyed working with his hands all the time.  He played with carving styrofoam cups, bending wires and putting things together that were inspired by his imagination. It’s thrilling and rewarding as his high school art teacher, to see a creative high school student advance to this level.”

While Melgren was talented, he had not yet considered pursuing a career in the Art field, Nemitz said. This gradually changed after he attended the ACC workshop.

“I was able to bring my advanced art students to learn how to throw pots on the wheel and to learn how to build with slabs of clay,” she said. “Jacob, and all of my art students, found this experience motivating and exciting.”

Melgren eventually decided to pursue an Art education career because it gave him an outlet for expression, which he hopes to share with his own students. He attended the University of Houston and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts. He then enrolled at the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago where earned a Masters in Fine Arts.

“I chose a career in the arts because I believe in its potential to impact people,” he said. “Sharing ideas through creative acts can give us clues to who we are, where we have been, and where we are going. These insights are invaluable to our culture and will continue to be so.”

While Nemitz is now retired, she continues to stay connected with ACC, taking pottery enrichment courses at the college.

“These courses are very enjoyable and filled with people creatively experimenting with clay,” she said. “These students are always searching for innovative techniques which is motivating for everyone.”

Melgren began working for the college in January and looks forward to passing on his passion for art to his students.

“I am very pleased to be working with ACC and sharing my knowledge with the community,” he said. “Working with such a friendly and welcoming team has been wonderful.”

Not long after he began teaching at ACC, the former teacher and her student had a chance to visit with each other where Melgren was first inspired, the pottery studio.

“I have cherished the opportunity to reconnect with my former teacher Jan,” Melgren said.

“It’s thrilling and rewarding as his high school art teacher, to see a creative high school student advance to this level,” Nemitz said.

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