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Australian art education professor to visit classes, talk about international collaboration March 30

ISSUED: 13 March 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s Department of Contemporary Art and Theater is sponsoring a visit and lecture by Dr. Alexandra Cutcher, senior lecturer at the Southern Cross University in Queensland, Australia, March 30-April 1. Cutcher will work with three art classes during her visit, and present a lecture titled “Materiality, Originals, and Documented Forms: Why Authentic Experience Matters in Art and Education.”

Cutcher’s lecture is free and open to the public and will take place Monday, March 30 at 7 p.m. in the Center for Contemporary Arts, Phase I, Room 112.

Cutcher is an academic in the School of Education at Southern Cross University. She is a practicing artist with 25 years experience as a secondary education teacher. Cutcher is an advocate for high quality arts education and her biography says her current research focuses on what visual arts can do “educationally, expressively, as research method, as language, as catharsis, as reflective instrument, and as documented form.”

Cutcher’s visit to Shepherd is the result of a stipend awarded to David Modler, assistant professor of art and coordinator of art education. He first met Cutcher in 2013 at the National Art Education Association Convention in Fort Worth, Texas, and the two have been collaborating since then on projects and research.

Last year Modler was awarded a $3,500 Summer Professional Development grant from the Shepherd University Foundation and Office of Academic Affairs to travel to Australia for three weeks in July.  He and Cutcher gave a presentation titled “Connecting, Combining, Coupling and Collaborating: The Collaborative Visual Journal as a Site for Developing Artists/Researcher/Teacher Identities” to the International Society for Education through Art World Congress in Melbourne. In the presentation the two outlined how they worked together during an 18-month period collaborating on visual journals.

“We presented on several collaborative art-making projects that we’re working together on and have implemented into our coursework,” Modler said. “Our art education students collaborate with each other through shared visual journals and diaries. Each Shepherd student is paired with one student from Southern Cross. They also collaborated on a large painted mural.”

Modler and Cutcher are co-presenting again, on March 28 in New Orleans at the National Art Education Association Convention. Their presentation, titled “International Collaborations: Preparing Visual Arts Teachers through Shared Art-making,” will highlight their creative work and research. Following the presentation in New Orleans, Cutcher will visit Shepherd where she’ll work with three of Modler’s art education classes guiding them through a variety of collaborative art-making activities.

Modler said the students will benefit from Cutcher’s wealth of internationally diverse knowledge in visual art, art education, general education, arts-based research, and teacher preparation.

“My students will have an opportunity to gain some insight of the art-making and teaching professions from a very different global perspective than they might otherwise receive from their current coursework,” Modler said. “Through her workshop with students, she will also be facilitating and cultivating a type of content rich and content focused forum that I would call a collaborative creative community.”

For more information, contact Modler at 540-383-8318 or at

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