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Art as a Means of Interaction: Chloe Welch on Art's Place in Her Education and in Her Life

Welch will speak at the Department of Art and Department of Design Convocation at 12 p.m. on April 26 Initially, Chloe Welch was an art major. Having grown up doing arts and crafts, she felt comfortable in the art world. “It's always kind of been my thing,” said Welch. However, as time went by, Welch realized she wanted to work with others more, so she changed her major to art education. “I realized instead of just making art alone, I wanted to make it in this big group setting and have a place to be inspired and a place to inspire,” she said. “As an art educator, you get to talk about what you're passionate about all day and have this community of artists that work with you.” This interconnectivity impacted a lot of Welch’s college experience as well. Some of her defining college experiences are moments when she made something alongside her classmates or was introduced to someone else’s art process. “One of my first experiences here at BYU was in my first Art-Ed intro class,” Welch said. “We walk in and the professor was there, and she said, ‘Hey, everybody, I'm going to go, but you guys need to build a fort in here. Go. See you later.’ She left and we built this giant fort in the middle of the classroom and worked together and got to know each other through building and making things.” Another defining experience happened when one of her professors, Dan Barney, who works in textile arts, introduced the class to yarn-making. Barney brought in a bag of wool just sheared off the sheep. The students each took a clump of it and learned to make yarn from the wool. “It was really cool,” said Welch. “He was teaching us about artists and teaching us about practice by showing us his own practice and letting us participate in that. Interconnection is also what inspires Welch to teach and to make art. In a world of conflicts and tough issues, Welch has found art helps her organize her thoughts and work through her feelings. “Making art is a way for me to process things,” she said. “Whenever something happens or I’m thinking about something I need to have an output. Then I can look at that thing, see what that is, and actually deconstruct it. When it's just in my head swirling around it's hard. So, I think a lot of it is just the world and my life and how that intersects.” While art helps Welch deal with the bigger, sometimes weightier things, teaching is her way of trying to contribute to the world. “I think it’s important to be a part of what’s going on in the world,” she said. “And what better place than a school where there’s so many students and they’re all growing up in this world and going off to make choices? I’d really love to be a part of that and influence them for good and tell them to consider art as something they can have in their life.” Welch plans to make a career of teaching art and will be looking for teaching positions in Utah, preferably in secondary education. She says she’s open to any opportunities that cross her path.

Q&A with Chloe Welch, BA '19 Art | Art Education (K-12)

What’s your favorite snack? “I love all chips. They’re my favorite food, actually. All chips are created equal.” What do you wish more people knew about your major? “I guess that they just knew about the major. It's just really small and it feels like a tight family. I wish more people knew this existed and considered it. I think that teaching in general — whether it's your plan A or plan B — is a great plan to have in life. No matter who you are, whatever you do in your life, you're going to be a teacher at some point, whether you're training a new employee or teaching your kids. Combining that with art, you still get all of the studio classes and all the art experience, but then you also get these awesome teaching skills that are so important for life.” What did was your dream occupation as a child? 'I wanted to be a construction worker. I could definitely still go that route. Growing up in Arizona, it was just farmland and some of it was being developed. So I always saw construction workers when we were driving around. It looked so fun, to get to build stuff. I think that aspect of construction was what was most attractive to me, that you get to make this whole new creation. I think as an artist that's still something that I achieve every day, but don't have to be inside in the heat.'