Kumari Patricia Soellner Younce
Kumari Patricia Soellner Younce, JD, MFA, MSW, MAE,
People @ Goddard
Residency Sites: Plainfield, VT
I see vivid connections between the artist and the schools. I see creative intelligence as essential for learning across the curriculum. I have been an art teacher, licensed in K12, for my 32 years now past college graduation. I have taught in private schools, public school systems, museum schools, co-operative artist communities and in my own studio I ran summer camps for children, all ages. Artistic intelligence for me embodies who I am and how I hope my Goddard students reflect and develop into professional teachers. Generally, I work with our Goddard students who wish to become art teachers, however, I do advise others who look to integrate learning within the arts into their plans for teaching. I see teaching as a solid profession where compassion, creativity, sensible values and work ethics merge. The best teachers are those who take time to develop their inner lives and reflect upon their passion. Teachers are called to teach yet the skills to teach can be developed over time, with patience, communication and mentoring. My work in Teacher Licensure allows me to cross lines of structured learning with reflective and individualized student journeys. I found my way to Goddard in 2002. I came first as a student in Education. I knew that my journey was destiny here in this small central rural area of Vermont. It held promises for me as an educator and artist. I left Ohio soon after I was hired on our faculty in 2006. These beautiful rolling hills of Vermont offered a perspective on self, family and art that I truly needed. It was refuge. There was hope in this landscape. I love my teaching and my connection to art and education and helping my students to become teachers. It was a role I had always imagined I could do but it took Goddard to help me believe in myself. Now I live in Strafford, Vermont, in the middle of the woods among 50 acres, in the Upper Valley area, a great location to reach all central cities in New England. Yet, I maintain my connection to my former community of Cabot, Vermont, which sits on the edge of the Northeast Kingdom, and it is a place of sustenance and love. I still have my old Cabot farmhouse, always in transition stages where I brought my five children to be raised in a flavor of progressive learning, values and constant change. Now the house is being reconstructed by my older son, in a flavor of re-creating its history, its honor and its sense of place in Cabot. In addition to my art and Goddard teaching, I teach yoga in my studio in Strafford, Kumari Studios, and look to my yoga practice on and off the mat to guide my mindful attendance in life. My home is my canvas yet I also paint on stretched canvas, wood, walls and any surfaces that allow me self-expression. I begin with images of the land, the mountains, the skies that go on forever. Then I take those images and distort them with my palette knives. I begin to blend and scrape the paint, layer upon layer. I blend and intersect colors until gradually they lose a singular definition and adopt new meaning in color and space on the canvas. Certain shapes emerge. Other shapes are unidentifiable. The painting screams of a timeless loss of form. I encourage my Goddard students to share their art with others and me and I demand that my students, who are becoming art teachers, never forget their own artistic practice. That gift of creative expression, in whatever form it survives, will give them the perspective to work in any setting with students, in a process-based or discipline based art curriculum. Goddard College will change you if you chose to come here. It has changed me and made me find stronger, more compassionate and courageous paths as an educator. It is about taking risks and going deeper inside your capacities than you were ever asked to reach. Your work here will position you as a teacher who changes the way others think about themselves and learning on local as well as global levels.
JD in Law, University of Toledo; MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts, Goddard College; MSW in Social Work, University of Michigan; MAE in Art Education, Rhode Island School of Design; BA in Art, College of Mount St Joseph.