Carol-Lynn Comparetto head shot

Carol-Lynn Comparetto

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In Carol-Lynn Comparetto’s art classes at Champaign Central, the idea behind a work of art is more important than the medium.

“Maybe we’re thinking about how to use color and line in different ways,” Comparetto said. “That doesn’t mean we’ll all be painting. Some people will be drawing and some people will be painting, but if we’re all thinking about the same big idea, that’s how it’s managed.”

As her sixth year at Central begins, she was selected as the 2020 Illinois Art Education Association Early Professional Awardee, for which she’ll be recognized at a conference on Nov. 6-7.

Teaching art wasn’t always the plan for Comparetto. She was originally an early-education major at Eastern Illinois, but as she researched for a class project, she realized the impact an art teacher could make.

“I was interested in the idea that art can be done by anyone,” she said. “It’s not just special and talented students. It really can be done by anyone. It just takes time and practice for anyone. Sometimes art is viewed as, ‘Only special people can do it and be good at it,’ but that’s not the case. I wanted to be a part of showing people that anyone’s capable of doing it.”

As they’re learning, she doesn’t want her students to work on the same projects to produce the same outcomes. She wants them to know that they can express their own ideas through artwork.

“At the end of the day, I want my students to feel as if, in my class, they have a space to present their ideas, to present their voices, their opinions on their beliefs,” she said, “just have a space where they can use their artwork to spread their ideas. I really try to create a culture in which everyone is working on their own authentic artwork rather than working on similar outcomes. I want all of the outcomes to be different to reflect the different student voices I have in my class.”

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