Cumberland University


Aaron Brown: Drawing Art and Creativity Together



To Aaron Brown, art is everywhere. Whether found in the grain of a wooden board, the stroke of a student’s pencil, or the instruction of an art teacher, creativity is something the senior Art Education major finds all around him.


It is that vision that Brown hopes to impart to his future art students.


“I like teaching and helping others to discover their creativity. Many schools are cutting back on the arts, and I think that’s a mistake because our society depends on the creative process,” said Brown. “Almost everything you touch and use has been creatively designed, and ultimately, I think that creativity is the most important thing in school.”


Brown has been cultivating that perspective as an Art Education with Teacher Licensure major since the start of his sophomore year. Having arrived at Cumberland in the fall of 2008, Brown was initially undecided in his choice of major. His decision to pursue Art Education would spring from a chance decision to take a drawing class.


“I was always interested in art, and I’ve always excelled in it. I decided to try a drawing class to see how I stood with other people in college,” said Brown. “I really liked the atmosphere in CU’s Art department, and I actually received the FOCUS Award for Best Drawing Student at the end of the year. So I thought, ‘I can do this.’”


That would prove to be an understatement. Since that time, Brown has flourished as an Art Education major, winning two subsequent awards. Teaching a class in CU’s Art Academy, the future educator has also served as FOCUS Mentor and taken part in Cumberland’s Student Leadership Academy.


In all those endeavors, Brown, the son of teachers, has learned to combine his own artistry with the educational instincts of his parents through the support of faculty in CU’s School of Music and the Arts.


“My parents both teach, so I’ve always had a basis in education. But being around other artists in the program has really inspired and pushed me,” said Brown. “I can’t say enough about Professor Lissa Gill and Dean Ted Rose. They’ve really designed a path that hones in on what it takes to be an art educator, and so many of the opportunities I’ve found wouldn’t have existed without them.”


Brown has taken full advantage of those opportunities, helping to create one of the murals for Cumberland’s Mitchell Student Center and serving as a commissioned portrait artist around campus. In the summer of 2011, Brown celebrated his proudest achievement at CU yet, being accepted as a counselor and teaching assistant for the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, a month-long education program for the state’s leading high-school artists.


From those experiences, Brown has learned to trust himself, not just as an artist, but also as a future educator at the collegiate or high school level. That confidence is shaping Brown’s plans to attend graduate school and his very creative style.


“My art now is often entirely improvisational,” said Brown. “I’m interested in that as an artist: letting your material dictate what you do. I like to bring images out of media. It falls back on the aspect of watching the clouds. People say, ‘I see this, or I see that.’ Well, this is me showing you what I see.”


Having learned to synthesize art and pedagogy at Cumberland, Brown will be well-equipped to see that same potential in his future students.