Hi, I'm Ouda (o-dah) Baxter

Rooted in Maine through my grandparents, raised internationally and from a diverse and multicultural family, I keep finding myself returning time and again to this beautiful place of lakes, mountains, rocky coasts, and mossy forests. 

I am currently exploring the world of museum education at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland. With my wonderful team in  the Learning and Engagement Department, I assist with workshops and program development for students throughout the state of Maine. 

Previously, I taught K-12 Art on the island of Islesboro up the coast. I hold certification through the Maine Department of Education for  K-12 Art Teaching, and in addition, I have spent time in international schools in Asia.

Reflections on Teaching 

The three most important things to me,  in no particular order, are: Art, my students, and Nature.  I have always felt lucky to be teaching art, and enjoy the challenge of creating new lessons, all of the surprises along the way, and sharing the art-making process with my students. The space of flow when the ego disappears and you become the work is my preferred place to be. Noticing, slowing down, and the moment that you "see" a photograph before making it, sharing art ideas and experiences with others, and being in other artists' studios are a few of the things that activate my imagination. For me, Art is a process and a feeling, as much as a set of techniques and methods to achieve a final product. 

Experience

I have a Master of Arts in Teaching with a concentration in Visual Art at Maine College of Art, and a Teacher's License from the State of Maine. I completed my student teaching at both Yarmouth Elementary School and Fiddlehead School for the Arts and Sciences. Since then, I have been teaching in 2 different international bilingual schools in China and am currently at a k-12 school in Islesboro, Maine. 

My background is multi-ethnic, multilingual, and international, having grown up living all over the world including Argentina, the Basque Region, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Armenia, and Uganda. I speak Spanish, French, and a smattering of Mandarin, and grew up speaking Arabic, Swahili, Lingala, and Kikongo with my family in East Africa. 

I completed my BA at Bowdoin College with a Major in Visual Arts, focusing on Sculpture, Installation, and Social Practice, under guidance with the artist Nestor Gil. After an Artist Residency on Kent Island in the Bay of Fundy, I spent a year as the artists' assistant in San Francisco. I have experience with Montessori and am most inspired by Reggio Emilia pedagogical practice. 


Artist Statement + Art Education Pedagogy 

My Studio Practice is multimedia, inspired by nature and the inner workings of humans. The tactile quality of various materials- paper, wool, wood, and stone- inspire me. Nature is my biggest inspiration, as well as other artists, especially those focused on social justice and the human experience.  

As an Art Educator, I design projects for young artists that lead to engaged, hands-on, experiential, and collaborative art making. 

I practice Responsive Classroom and Interactive Modeling techniques in the classroom and strive to both model and engage students in a respectful and highly co-creative art making process. 


Past Collaborations 

In addition to teaching in schools, I have also collaborated with Portland Ovations and the Portland Public Library to lead workshops that connect hands on art making with literacy and storytelling. 

Pre-pandemic, I was teaching art at an international bilingual IB candidate school in China, learning a lot from my students and from being in a different culture every day. 

For the past 2 years, I began a new adventure of living and teaching k-12 Art on a small island off of the coast of Maine. The landscape was beautiful and inspiring, and I enjoyed the experience of  living and working in a small community throughout the seasons. 

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