Monthly Mentor

Josephine Langbehn (June)
A determined middle school art educator who wants do nothing but teach, Lindy Hop, create visual art, advocate for the arts, and to be honest take some naps with a cool breeze blowing in her face. Josephine Langbehn has just completed her eighth year of teaching visual art at Monroe Middle School in Omaha, NE. She is a leader in her building, district, and is highly involved at the state level. She is currently the Membership Service Director within Nebraska Art Teachers Association and is looking forward to her new role of Co-President Elect starting in July. She has served as a committee member to write the first Nebraska fine arts state standards and has helped write fine arts curriculum for the Omaha Public Schools district for the past five years. She also helps organize the Omaha Public School art educator’s faculty show and is the co-founder and organizer of the middle level student show for Omaha Public Schools. Josephine also helps write curriculum for the Joslyn’s Art Museum for their Thursdays for Teacher’s event and is looking forward to this summer writing curriculum for El Museo Latino, and participating in Nebraska Department of Education’s STEM Academy. Outside of being involved in the art education, Josephine also dances, performs, teaches the vintage jazz dancing.

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« It’s Youth Art Month! | Main | Visual Culture - Part 2 »

March 04, 2013

Visual Culture

The second path I want to journey down is my passion for Visual Culture and how that ties into our classrooms.

Let’s kick off with a little about my passion for Visual Culture. It was probably always lurking in the background, but it came to light with beginning to pin down a topic for my MA thesis at the University of Northern Iowa in 2008. Christopher Schulte* was there pushing me to dig deep into what drove me, to find a passion for a topic. I shared a story with him about a recent article I had read titled “50 Works of Art You Should See Before You Die” and a television commercial I had seen while watching football with my family of boys. The middle of the commercial for Sprint® featuring Peyton Manning (then quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts) flashed a few second likeness to M. C. Escher’s “Relativity.” I immediately caught the likeness, but no one else did. With the wonders of DVR, I backed the commercial up and asked my three boys (husband and two sons, ages 14 and 8 at the time) if they recognized any likeness of a work of art in the commercial. They didn’t. I grabbed the laptop and pulled up Escher’s work and they could then recognize the likeness. (Go ahead, search youtube for the “Manning’s Mind” commercial. You know you want to.)

This made me wonder if I was teaching my students to recognize the subtleties in today’s world where famous works of art were being infused all around us. The moment clicked. I had found my passion … Visual Culture.

*Now Dr. Christopher Schulte is an Assistant Professor at Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia after receiving his doctorate at Penn State University. Dr. Schulte is also a 2013 Elliot Eisner Doctoral Research Award in Art Education Runner-Up.

—Ronda Sternhagen   

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