Teaching and Practicing: Professor Vicky Youngman’s Outlet through Art


Lou Guarneri

Professor Vicky Youngman was among many professors who introduced their work to the Pace community at last Wednesday's Faculty Art Show to commemorate the opening of the new Choate House Gallery.

Christina Bubba, Editor-in-Chief

Last Wednesday, over 100 students, faculty, and staff members made their way into the pink Choate House, crowded into one small room. While there, they admired faculty-made artwork.

Among artists present at the Media, Communications and Visual Arts (MCVA) Faculty Art Show was Professor Vicky Youngman.

At the peak of the event, she stood proudly by her piece of artwork that was displayed on the wall and spoke passionately about it when she was introduced. The clay and glaze piece of art was entitled “A Calm Presence,” which reflects Youngman’s outlook on life and art.

Much of Youngman’s artwork is inspired by nature, spirituality, and the idea of essence. Over time and through finding herself, Youngman’s artistic and personal interests were shaped by a deeper spiritual reality and the cycle of life: beyond what is material and what she explained as “formless.”

“I am interested in spirituality and what that is for me and other people,” Youngman said. “Everyone has essence; everyone is being at their core. I focus a lot on this in my life.”

Youngman teaches Art 133–Ceramics I–at Pace but also teaches at various other locations throughout a given week. She makes her way around New York teaching at the Clay Art Center, ArtsWestchester, Blue Door Art Center, and RiverArts. Earning a Masters Degree in Art Therapy at the Pratt Institute, Youngman spent 23 years as a practicing Registered Art Therapist.

During that time, one of her jobs was teaching art therapy at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. Eventually, she missed creating her own art and decided to take community art classes. This is when she discovered her passion for clay and from there, began teaching ceramics. Along with teaching the basic skill set, Youngman pushes her students to incorporate a part of themselves into their artwork.

“I encourage my students to reach within themselves to find something they like or want to explore through the medium of clay,” Youngman said. “Art is about taking time to experiment and explore without worrying about the results and who will judge them.”

This supportive method of teaching resonated with freshman accounting major and softball player Madison Nicholson. Despite Nicholson’s rigorous academic and athletic schedule, she spends an ample amount of time on her 9 a.m. session of Art 133.

“I try to go into class an hour early and I stay late whenever I can,” Nicholson said. “It is my favorite class; she makes it interesting and inspires her students to do better.”

Although much of Youngman’s time is spent teaching, she makes time for her own artwork, which is mostly functional pottery and experimental wall pieces. Admittedly, with more time, Youngman would enjoy working on a larger-scale project such as clay sculpture.

“I would continue to explore a wide variety of forms on a larger scale but also incorporate more intricate detail,” Youngman said.

Youngman looks up to artist Betty Woodman, a ceramicist and sculptor who was first living woman to have a show in her name at the New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, for risk-taking in her artwork and progressive steps she made as an artist.

“Her constant experimentation, unusual forms and vivid colors are truly inspiring,” Youngman said.

When Youngman is not practicing or teaching art, she can be found exercising her mind and body through meditation and yoga.