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Anthony Aiuppy: ‘I get to do this for my job?’

Anthony Aiuppy: ‘I get to do this for my job?’

October 11, 2016 // by Denise M. Reagan

Anthony Aiuppy's energy is infectious. Watching him work with children who visit MOCA Jacksonville, it's easy to see why he was selected as the J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Educator for Family and Children's Programs.

During a recent tour with elementary school children, Aiuppy encouraged students to play a rousing game of I spy with my little eye while viewing Ethan Murrow's Project Atrium wall drawing Plethora. He's intimately familiar with the work since he also helped draw it.

After a few packed weeks of getting to know his coworkers, giving tours, and launching the fall session of Voice of the People, we asked Aiuppy about his plans for the education programs at MOCA Jacksonville.

Anthony Aiuppy Instructs Drawing at Art Camp a
Anthony Aiuppy works with students during Summer Art Camp. Image courtesy of Ingrid Damiani.

What are you looking forward to in your position as the Weaver Educator?

I am looking forward to building upon past successes in MOCA education with a team that is concerned with creating and implementing comprehensive and thought-provoking curricula and programs for school tours, MOCA Art Camp, and other family programming. I believe that when students get excited about the arts, their families tend to become more impassioned and involved in the art and become culture-makers in the community.

How will your previous experience help you as the Weaver Educator?

Formally, I'm trained as a painter, but I'm professionally trained in education. Practical things such as curriculum development and lesson planning, classroom management, incorporating STEM subjects with artistic outcomes--these are all things that help students and young artists to thrive in their capacity for critical thinking and problem-solving, which is a primary concern of mine as the Weaver Educator.

Anthony Aiuppy Gives Tour Project Atrium Ethan Murrow
Anthony Aiuppy gives a tour of Ethan Murrow's Project Atrium wall drawing Plethora. Image courtesy of Denise M. Reagan.

What do you enjoy the most about art education?

Giving students the opportunity to explore the world around them through different artistic media and seeing what they come up with through trial and error and critical thinking is something that I really enjoy. The creativity and imagination they employ always brings forth amazing, even surprising results. The best, though, is when they believe that they are good at what they are doing and become confident in the art that they are making. Being an educator is contagious, and I am inspired by my students on a continual basis.

What education initiatives at MOCA make you the most excited?

School tours and Art Aviators are two initiatives that I am particularly excited about. Over the weekend, I had a flashback to when I visited the St. Louis Art Museum for the first time as a first- or second-grader and then thinking to myself, “I get to do this for my job? I get to help students explore the possibilities of art in a museum!” That experience was the initial seed planted for what I do for a living.

MOCA Education Team Kiersten Lampe Stephanie Jackson Christopher Hicks Anthony Aiuppy
MOCA's education team includes Kiersten Lampe, Stephanie Jackson, Christopher Hicks, and Anthony Aiuppy. Image courtesy of Denise M. Reagan.

What do you see for the future of education programs at MOCA?

One of the things I look forward to in the future is deepening MOCA's relationship with UNF, particularly with art students. I'd also like to bring more offerings in terms of adult education.

What would you like the public to know about you?

I live in the historic Springfield neighborhood with my spouse and three children. I've begun drawing Pokémon characters with my 5-year-old who's in kindergarten at Pine Forest School of the Arts. My wife, who graduated from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, is an amazing piano teacher and teaches privately in San Marco and Murray Hill. Needless to say, we are a family whose life revolves around the arts, and we feel called to live and serve Jacksonville for the foreseeable future.  

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