by Samantha Lakamp
When I started school at the University of Cincinnati, I never would have guessed that my program would take me on a journey to Maine in the dead of winter, and then to working here at the Cincinnati Art Museum. I am one of the first students to experience the opportunities that DAAP’s new fine arts Co-op program has to offer.
My name is Samantha Lakamp and I am currently a fourth year Fine Arts and Art Education major at UC. I have been working with Learning and Interpretation specifically the School-Based Learning department, at the Cincinnati Art Museum over this past semester as part of my degree curriculum. Like many other majors at UC, fine arts majors are now required to Co-op for three semesters as part of their educational experience. When I tell this to people they usually reply with questions like, “What is Co-op?” and “What jobs are out there for fine arts majors?”
Co-op, or cooperative education, is based on the idea of combining classroom educational experience with practical work experience. This means that instead of taking classes for a semester, I am earning college credit by working in the arts. The experience and knowledge that I gained at my two Co-op positions, helped me grow as an artist, as well as an art educator in ways traditional classroom education would not have been able to.
I started my first Co-op position in January of 2018 at the Nezinscot Farm in Turner, Maine. I spent four months living and working in the Nezinscot Farm fiber studio. During my time there I learned how to knit, crochet, needle felt, spin yarn, dye wool, and weave on a loom. Working on the 250+ acre farm taught me not only about traditional fiber arts, but also about organic farming, cheese making, livestock, and so much more. Living and working on this farm exposed me to a unique community of people who welcomed me with open arms and who shared their skills and culture with me.
I am currently working at my second Co-op here at the Cincinnati Art Museum. As a member of the Learning and Interpretation division, I have been working with programs like Evenings for Educators, REC Reads, school tours, and LookSeeDo. This position continues to provide me with a multitude of connections to other artists and educators in the Cincinnati area, as well as knowledge and resources that will help me as a future art educator.
I am currently working on writing a three part lesson plan suite (Pre-K, Elementary, Secondary) that teaches students about fiber art in connection with The Fabric of India exhibition. This is providing me with the opportunity to share the knowledge and skills I learned at the Nezinscot Farm fiber studio with educators and students all over Cincinnati. I will be presenting these lesson at November’s Evenings for Educators. These lessons will also be published online on CAM’s website and will be available for teachers all over the city to use.
If you are an educator and would like to learn more about my experience in Maine, my lesson plans, or the Co-op program, come and talk with me at the next Evenings for Educators, November 15th at 4:00pm here at the Cincinnati Art Museum.