Interview with AnnCharlotte Tavolacci

AnnCharlotte Tavolacci

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  • Master of Fine Arts, Art Therapy              
    CW Post, Long Island University, NY
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts, Fine Arts
    School of Visual Arts, New York, NY

In 2003 AnnCharlotte received a BFA from School of Visual Arts in NYC and the following year, relocated to Los Angeles. In addition to her NYC and Los Angeles shows, she has now had solo exhibitions at galleries throughout the country including such cities as Denver and Cincinnati.

In 2010 AnnCharlotte returned to NY to attend Long Island University’s graduate program and received her MA of Clinical Art Therapy in 2012. She conducted research and published results from her thesis where she examined therapeutic art interventions for the professional artist. This year she gave a lecture relaying her research at the National Art Education Convention in Fortworth, TX.

AnnCharlotte resides in Brooklyn NY, painting, showing, and writing. She is also working as an art instructor at Ashcan and as an art therapist at a NYC government non-profit, CUCS, servicing the homeless and mentally ill adult populations.

1. Tell us a little bit about your personal work as a fine artist?

I am currently working on a new series inspired by the woman of various African cultures who have experienced the convention of scarification. I explore the subject matter in various visual mediums including graphite portraits, a large 14’ x 6’ painting and also a stop motion of the process of creating the entire series. I hope to have the body of work complete by early next year and a gallery exhibition to present this work soon after its completion.

2. How long have you taught at Ashcan?

I have been at Ashcan for over three years. I started at the Little Neck studio primarily teaching young children and have since migrated to the NYC studio teaching various undergraduate and graduate portfolio development and courses.

3. Can you tell us a good or funny story about teaching?

Well, just yesterday I was telling my Chinese American student that I was hungry and apologized for my rumbling stomach. Her eyes lit up and she said “Wait, if you’d like you could have my booger”. It took a moment to realize she meant “burger”. Many of our students speak English as a second language so often we have laughs over our communications. I often try to speak Korean as many of our students are- this usually gets a good laugh or two. The energy and vibe at Ashcan is pretty fun. We laugh and dance around quite a bit. It’s not unusual to see us tap dancing and singing (in many languages) while we work and create art.

4. Is there an experience with one of your students that you are especially proud of?

The level of talent that our students have is sometimes mind numbing. To say the students I have worked with inspire me is an understatement. As a fine artist and educator/therapist I typically have very close relationships with our students, we talk a lot. We are all very close and the faculty are very bonded with one another and with the students. It’s always bitter sweet to send the student down life’s art rivers knowing they are moving forward onto the next chapter. But most touching is when they come back to thank you or reach out to you later down the road. I had one student, now at NYU, write to me the other day asking advice about a friend in need. I was so moved that she still considered me as a resource to help and I was so touched to hear from her. We are meeting for coffee soon just to chat and catch up in the flesh. Making a life connection with these artists is not only something I am proud of but most grateful for.

5. What life advice would you want to give to your students?

Because of the nature of portfolio development many of our students are often feeling the stressors of making some type of life transition. They are either transferring or beginning a degree at schools on the graduate or under graduate levels and often feel stressed or anxiety with the application and scholarship process. I always advise these students to remember to have fun and remember why they are with us at Ashcan. I try to encourage them to use the process of creativity as a voice and to feel empowered and confident, but most importantly to laugh and smile while doing it. This is precisely why I will tap dance with them.

large wall progress

rite of passage (1)

tissue tales


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