by Ivy Socha
The Summit Artspace Arts Alive Educator Award highlights a teacher that shows a passion for their job as well as dedication to helping art students learn and succeed. The 2022 recipient of this award is Robert (Bob) Pierson, a visual arts teacher at Revere High School.
Prior to obtaining his art education degree and beginning his teaching career, Pierson graduated from Kent State University with a degree in studio art. From there he went on to work full time in visual merchandising for Arhaus furniture as well as the May Company. He also worked full time for the Carousel Dinner Theater in Akron.
Deciding to go into teaching further down the road, Pierson returned to Kent and earned his master’s degree. He wrote an emotional paper while in graduate school about his middle school art teacher and sent her a copy to thank her for displaying his artwork. After receiving the paper, she called Pierson and told him about an art teaching position at Revere. Pierson interviewed and was then offered the position to teach young artists.
He grew up in Bath and has been a Richfield resident for over 20 years. Both he and his children are Revere graduates.
After 27 years, Pierson remains teaching at his alma mater. He teaches a variety of art courses including drawing, sculpture, and has managed the stage crew and designed sets for Revere musical productions for over 20 years. Pierson continues to show his dedication to teaching and his love for the arts.
“If it’s easy, it’s pointless,” he explained when describing his teaching style.
While challenging students in class, Pierson strives to make them feel comfortable with asking questions and making mistakes. He also effectively teaches by demonstration rather than having students simply read from textbooks. Having the opportunity to instruct high school students while being an artist himself, Pierson stated he is never tired of his job and plans on continuing his teaching career until retirement.
“I help multiple students every year apply to art school,” he said. “To the dedicated, a degree in the visual arts is a valid career path.”
Pierson said he is honored to not only win the Arts Alive Educator Award, but also to be nominated after many years of teaching visual art.
The ceremony for the Arts Alive Awards was slated for June 23 at Summit Artspace in Akron. More information can be found at summitartspace.org. ∞