Dr. William Maxwell
School of Arts & Sciences
The College of New
have been with the Art Department since 1973. Our students have been
relatively consistent in their interests and motivations to become
excellent artists, excellent teachers, outstanding art professionals."
What do you teach
at The College of New Rochelle?
As a Professor of
Art in the School of Arts and Sciences, I teach numerous courses, both
within the Art Department and the School.
I am also
responsible for the Printmaking program and supervise the Printmaking
Workshop in Mooney Center G-3 where I teach courses in Intaglio,
Relief, Monoprint, Innovative Printmaking, etc. I am presently
designing a Digital Printmaking course for the future. Occasionally, I
teach in the Honors program (Anatomy of a Metropolis) and in the SAS
Core Curriculum (As the Artist Sees).
My primary responsibility is to Art Majors, and to fulfill this
responsibility, I teach both Foundation Courses such as Foundations of
Drawing, which are required, advanced required courses such as Art
Seminar and Senior Project, and a variety of art electives that include
Aqueous Media Painting and Collage and Assemblage.
I thoroughly enjoy the variety of course assignments and the ability
over the years to introduce new courses to our curriculum. The arts
change rapidly and it is important that our art curriculum reflect what
is happening in the art world. I am also responsible for some
Independent Study students each semester working towards their required
exhibition, and often, I supervise internships where students have the
opportunity to work with art professionals in the field.
are the programs (and degrees) that a student can obtain at CNR?
We are one of the
few art departments within a liberal arts environment that offer a full
spectrum of specialty and degree programs for the art student to choose
from. These include Studio Art, Art History, Art Education and Art
Therapy within the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, the Bachelor of Arts
degree, or the Bachelor of Science degree. The Studio Art program also
allows our students to specialize in such areas as Painting,
Printmaking, Sculpture, etc.
does the Art Department select students? What do the students have to
submit to you?
Department is very active in recruiting quality art students.
Personally, I have been to high schools, junior colleges and portfolio
days throughout the area. Students who wish to be accepted by the Art
Department must submit a portfolio of work that they have recently
completed, usually in high school or independently.
portfolio review we are looking for skill competency, use of
imagination, creativity, and development of content. Transfer students
also submit a portfolio usually of work they have completed in other
colleges. Expectations are different for transfer students and their
portfolios are judged accordingly.
The Art Department is always open to interested students-both within
the college and outside our environment. I will, at anytime, make an
appointment with a student who is interested in coming to the Art
Department. I am also an Adjunct Professor of Art usually teaching one
art course a semester in the Westchester Community College system. This
affiliation has become a positive source of recruitment for some of our
students better skilled when they come into college today?
Department has been rewarded often with some of the best students in
the School of Arts and Sciences. I have been with the Art Department
since 1973. Our students have been relatively consistent in their
interests and motivations to become excellent artists, excellent
teachers, outstanding art professionals. We look to the future in our
ability to consistently attract students who are seriously interested
in art. I remain optimistic in this art department’s ability to attract
these students and provide them with a meaningful experience.
Skill proficiency, although important, is not our primary criteria for
incoming students. We are not an art school like Cooper Union. As an
art department within a liberal arts environment our students must show
quality in a number of areas, including scholarship.
age old question: is an artist born or schooled?
could become a huge piece of writing in itself in order to give it an
answer. As you say-it is “age old,” meaning we have never sufficiently
answered it. My experience over the many years I have
participated in art instruction is that there is perhaps a genetic link
to artistic skill and creativity in general. However, I do not approach
my students with this as priority. I am much more interested in the
nurture side of the question. I trust in anyone’s ability to become
what they want to become; I believe in determination.
I have taught doctorate students, master’s students, undergraduates,
high school students, younger students, wonderful groups of senior
citizens who in their later years turn to art, professional artists
interested in obtaining further skills such as printmaking, and amateur
artists interested in art as a hobby.
I will attempt to teach anyone who shows serious interest in the visual
arts in a way that provides them further meaning and purpose in their
life. Now, as a gallery director in a diverse community open to the
ever-challenging qualities of contemporary art, I feel I am forever the
art teacher-not a bad feeling.
The slogan of your
Peekskill Gallery is: “To foster creativity is to generate risk.”
Expand on that with regard to teaching art here at The College of New
Maxwell Fine Arts
is now in its third year as a contemporary fine arts gallery. At
present, I can tell you that even though we are a “commercial” gallery,
I have yet to make any personal profit from it. Maxwell Fine Arts is an
outreach to further arts education and participation as well as a forum
for emerging artists to present their work in a professional
environment. I look forward to the day the gallery makes profit; in the
meantime, I will take the risk.
“To foster creativity is to generate risk” is a motto not only for the
gallery, but for all my participation in the arts. It’s simple: you can
never predict results, and that realization should never stop you from
taking a chance. I have continuously taken chances: with my art work,
with my teaching, with my professional participation in the art world,
with my life. To not do so is boring.
I encourage my students to take as big a risk as they think they can
handle, both for the moment and in their life as an artist in general.
When one sits down at a drawing table, one should feel at that moment
that their potential to do anything is present.
I tell my students to approach the project with implied confidence-I
can do it! Ideas are precious, and giving meaning to the world
through your art is a precious experience, but the passion that this
arouses will not appear if the artist/student plays it safe.
I may not ever find that passion in the student artist no matter what I
do, but I take the risk of teaching art passionately, with the
realization that success in art is very limited but always possible. Of
course, the other side of the coin is work. One percent of the
act of creativity appears in that passion to make, ninety-nine
percent is labor.
When one seriously chooses to take the risk to create, one chooses also
an enormous amount of hard work, rejection and limited successes. They
must be ready to take any consequences that surmount as a result of
taking risk, and follow-through with determination. This is what I
teach at The College of New Rochelle.
Maxwell Fine Arts is
run by the husband-and-wife team of William C.
Maxwell and Dana DeVito. Their gallery is a converted 1850
carriage-house behind their 1859 Victorian home in the artist district
of Peekskill, N.Y.
O F F I C E O F C O
L L E G E R E L A T I O N S
29 Castle Place, New Rochelle, NY 10805
The College of New Rochelle