When Professor Evangeline Christodoulou went to art school, she became excited about immersing herself in art – from glassblowing to ceramics to printmaking. “I couldn’t get enough!” she said. “I never wanted to stop creating. The feeling of accomplishment and learning how to manipulate all kinds of mediums and having any kind of art at my fingertips was amazing to me. To even think I could do this the rest of my life was astounding. Being on my own, as a young adult, there was nothing else but to learn, think, create and breathe art. It was heaven on Earth!”
After college, she became a graphic designer in an advertising agency in Boston, Massachusetts. She adored working with talented artists and designing for famous clients. After several years, she moved to NYC. “The excitement of working as a freelance designer/illustrator in all types of design studios and advertising agencies made me realize how fortunate I was to absolutely love what I did every day in my career,” she said.
One of her favorite jobs was illustrating books for Golden Books. “I will never forget seeing a book I had illustrated for the first time in a bookstore. What a thrill!” she said.
She decided to become an art teacher, inspired by her experience raising her children and guiding them to their own creations. She enjoyed exposing “them to the world of art that I loved so much.”
After graduating from Hofstra with a masters degree, Professor Christodoulou was hired as a high school art teacher. “It was one of the most challenging times I would ever have — dealing with over 150 students a day,” she said. “It was certainly the toughest job I have ever had. But, my excitement and interest in art infiltrated into my teaching and I pursued what I always knew I had in me.”
Professor Christodoulou had a lot to share as an educator because she drew on her professional and personal experiences. “Showing them how to look at something in a different way, and to guide them in creating something they never knew they could, has always inspired me,” she explained. “In encouraging self-expression, my students realize how the art they create gives voice and shape to their feelings, desires, hopes, fears, ideals and their very sense of self. It is a language of visual images my students learn fluently, acquiring the skills needed to express themselves visually, aesthetically and verbally.”
Currently, she teaches Art in the Elementary Curriculum, Art in the Curriculum, and is the advisor to all student teachers in the art education program at Hofstra. She also teaches Photoshop Basics, Graphic Design and Computer Art in the Precollegiate Career Discovery Institute.
Professor Christodoulou often presents her work. Recently, she offered, “Change it Up: 30 Art Lessons in 50 Minutes!” to a standing-room-only crowd at the 2017 National Art Education Association (NAEA) Conference this past March. “Our focus was to create concept lessons that may be modified from kindergarten through 12th grade,” she said. This was the most popular presentation made by art educators (over 5000 in attendance) during the whole conference, according to NAEA officials.
“I have been fortunate to have had wonderful teachers, professors and colleagues who have helped, mentored and shared so much of their knowledge with me throughout my careers both as a graphic designer and art educator,” Professor Christodoulou said. “I have learned so much at the conferences I present at and feel that I, too, would like to share my wonderful experiences and knowledge with other educators. If I can spark motivation in an educator or help someone just starting out, it is the way I give back and honor the people who have done the same for me. Plus, it’s gratifying and fun!”
For more information on Professor Christodoulou’s Precollegiate classes, see: https://tinyurl.com/ybot73cp