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October 2, 2017
Authentic: Andrew Snyder
For someone who says he stumbled into teaching, Andrew Snyder has really taken to it. As the assistant professor of ceramics at West Chester University, Andrew has drawn on his background as an accomplished ceramics artist.
“It’s functional and it’s beautiful,” he says. “And it’s history—we know about ancient cultures because of the shards of pots and bowls archeologists find.”
Like falling into teaching, Andrew didn’t think he’d be a potter either. “I was studying graphic design until I took my first ceramics course—it was a requirement. Then I fell in love with clay.”
Andrew fosters a creative space and encourages student participation. Andrew worked with the administration to create an internship program for students. Interns do everything in the studio to get it ready and clean up after. It’s paid off. “All the students have gotten much better at everything in the studio—they’re responsible to each other.”
Another new feature is the 3D printing lab Andrew championed. “Three-dimensional imaging is the future for digital archiving in museums and galleries,” he says. “So someone across the country or the world can ‘see’ a piece of sculpture.” This skill helps ceramics grads get jobs in the field after graduation as well.
Andrew also keeps the studio available for alumni, ensuring a community of artists continues to grow.
“That interaction is valuable, and practical,” he says. “For our students who’ve graduated, they need a space to work. You just can’t put a gas-fired kiln in your apartment.”