Dr. Mika Cho was appointed as Special Assistant to the President for Arts and the director of the Cal State LA Fine Arts Gallery in 2017. Prior to her appointment as the director of the Fine Arts Gallery she served as the chair of the Art Department. She is art educator, researcher, educational consultant, curator and visual artist, the last comprising numerous exhibitions at museums and galleries. Her research interests are in art-related and educational issues, which she shares through publications and extensive conference presentations nationally and internationally.
It is essential for art educators to be both informed in the practice of making art and its history, critical theories and philosophies, as well as to possess a command of teaching methodologies, instructional strategies, methods of assessment and educational policy.
My teaching is centered on the impact of visual representation in culture, and on art as a way of seeing the world at large and understanding it historically. The focus of my methodology has been the use of the art object and its underlying concepts as a vehicle for developing critical and creative thinking skills for students. I am interested in how students articulate, manipulate, and digest information through contextual analysis and from diverse perspectives. My mission and responsibility as an art educator is to empower students by assisting them to acquire the investigative tools for developing their own concepts in what they learn. I am committed to the creation of an educated and thoughtful public by developing my students’ critical and creative skills.
Teachers must always aspire to bring a solid foundation of research and methodology to the classroom experience. As both a research scholar and a professional artist I seek to provide comprehensive instruction that includes: art history, art principles, materials and techniques, pedagogy, theory, and practice. To maintain my currency in art I attend lectures, symposia, conferences and exhibitions; in addition to reading theory and history. All of these elements are essential to my teaching.
As an artist, I believe that it is important to eschew making works in a vacuum. I propose to answer the question of how my own artwork relates to the viewers and in what ways are my works in accord with the art world. Most of my works contain references to the abstract, open-ended and the processing (layering, adding and subtracting). But most of all, they are visual metaphor of human emotions. I do not represent or embellish nature. I am interested in sensations evoked with colors and ideas. Painting, like other forms of arts, is the most important tool for communicating. I am creating visual metaphor in abstract manners through color and texture.
I have avidly pursued research in art-related and educational issues such as art and culture, portfolio assessment in teaching and learning in art, professional development in art, learning style preferences of diverse students and professional visual artists, and aesthetics in historical context through publications and extensive conference presentations internationally and nationally.