Let’s take 5 minutes with Chloe Farrant, Co-Founder of Meraki Art School and Artist -Teacher
Hey Chloe, can you tell us a bit about your role and responsibilities at Meraki?
I am so lucky that my job is incredibly varied and I am lucky enough to work across the whole school in teaching the students, developing the classes, managing projects, administration and setting up exhibitions. My role as an Artist-Teacher means that I am also a practising artist and that helps me to work with the students knowing how it feels to take creative risks, to explore and make new discoveries and how it feels once you put your art into the world.
What is your favourite part of your role?
My absolute favourite part of my job is teaching the art lessons themselves; I have been a teacher for nearly two decades and being a naturally inquisitive person myself, I encourage all the students to ask questions, make new discoveries and explore the things that bring them joy and magic. I see my role as a mentor; to be exploring alongside the pupils and in being a positive role model, encouraging creative decision making and risk-taking. I want all the children to feel successful and proud of their achievements.
Tell us a bit about your experience…
I have worked in teaching and leadership all my life and I’m experienced in designing art and design curriculums for schools and leading teams in the teaching of Art and Design. I’m also a teacher mentor and coordinator of international projects and those roles have helped me to grow into the person I am today, I really believe that leading with empathy and having the courage to take risks are two key skills you need to succeed.
I have been lucky enough to be an accredited ‘Specialist Leader of Education’ as well as a SSAT Lead Practitioner at a local MAT, Cornerstone Academy Trust, and am so grateful for all the opportunities I have been given there as they have encouraged me on my journey of development and school leadership over the years. I am also currently studying towards a master’s degree in education (Artist Teacher) at Oxford Brookes University. In addition, I am an artist working in porcelain sculpture and layered mixed media – I make art every day.
Why is Art important to you?
Where do I start – it is a part of me, it is the thing that help me make sense of who I am and my place in the world. At school and college art was the thing that helped me to feel like I could succeed. I see the role art plays to others, giving joy, confidence, resilience, hope, connection, and a sense of community as well as celebrating individual voices and personal heritage. Essentially art is the thing that makes us human.
What are your top 3 artists or designers?
That is difficult, as that changes daily depending on what I am learning about or teaching – I’m going to go with the posters I have currently hanging up in my studio,
Vincent Van Gogh (of course!)
Faith Ringgold after a series of virtual lessons I put together for the students about the artist, and lastly it has to be Grayson Perry.
What are you most looking forward to at Meraki art School and why?
I’m most looking forward to celebrating the achievements of the students and bringing communities together. I’m looking forward to organising exhibitions and projects where the pupils work will be celebrated.
What is your favourite medium to work in?
That’s easy – porcelain, clay and ink pencils
Have you always been creative?
Yes – but as a child I always wanted to get things correct which can inhibit creativity, especially in art where there is no such thing as a mistake. As a person I have always had hundreds of ideas floating around in my head, and love working in a team with other creatives- bouncing ideas around.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work
Honestly, I love learning I have a habit of enrolling on random courses and trying out new things. I love visiting art exhibitions and creating art – which I try and do every day. Other than that, I love to travel and meet people from around the world, there are all sorts of places I have yet to visit that are on my bucket list.
Can you give us an interesting/fun fact about yourself?
I have a little dog, he is a little black pug called Barney, but he also answers to ‘baby’ and ‘sweetheart’. He loves eating bananas and is the love of my life.
Inspired by Picasso’s famous quote, ‘All children are artists’, we are asking the team for their favourite mantra.
“Doing what you were born to do … That’s the way to be happy.”Anges Martin