Hello, here you will find philosophies and courses taught by each faculty member.
As soon as Libby Davis was old enough to hold scissors and crayons, she started making drawings, maps, and dioramas, entering every art contest imaginable by her young mind and overachieving on every visual book report in school. In high school, Ms. Davis studied painting and drawing, up through the AP level. She received her formal training at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in association with Tufts University. There her emphases were sculpture and video. Ms. Davis’ skills and interests span many mediums. Because of this, it is important for her to expose her students to that amazing breadth of mediums, subjects, and concepts that she possesses and continues to acquire.
After earning her BFA, she curated and participated in a group show at the MFA Boston and then interned with the City of Boston’s Public Art office. Upon returning to Salt Lake, Ms. Davis began teaching with the non-profit arts program for children called Bad Dog Rediscovers America, and decided to pursue teaching further. She began working at West in 2007, and now teaches foundations, ceramics 1, advanced and AP ceramics, and ELP sculpture. Ms. Davis loves working with teenage artists and their emerging ability to find and develop their own ideas, designs and voice. It’s exciting to sit down with students and see how different and unexpected their solutions to an assignment are, to see them realize that they can really make their own ideas happen.
Ms. Davis feels most strongly about the need for all students to do creative work in order to develop a creative process from brainstorming through production. In her classes, she emphasizes to students how to break down visual skills in a methodical way, so that the arts and creative work are less mysterious and intimidating. She enjoys seeing students embracing the technical skills and then running with their own designs and ideas. School keeps her busy, but continues to do some artwork as well. West has a great art program and department, and students who continue to make exciting and impressive work, and it’s a great to have her here.
Teaching art over the past 20 years has been a rewarding journey for Evan Smith. He started teaching after graduating with a BFA from the University of Utah in1988 with an emphasis in painting and drawing. In 1990 he was lucky enough to spend two years teaching art to high school students in Botswana Africa with the Peace Corps. In 1994 Evan received his teaching certificate and was hired to teach middle school art at Hillside Middle school where he remained until he transferred to West High School in 2006.
Evan’s philosophy is basically that anyone can become a better artist/visual communicator with art instruction. Some people have natural or intuitive gifts that give them an advantage for expressing themselves visually, but anyone can learn basic art skills and concepts to improve the work they are committed to creating. Like learning how to write, play an instrument, solve math problems or learn a language, learning to draw or paint simply requires time and dedication.
A photograph is an image made with light. Tom's goal is to introduce students to this mystery. Photography is not only a wonderful tool for self-expression and personal documentation; it is also a means for becoming more attentive. Tom began his own personal visual inquiry when he took off on a cross country trip from his home town of San Diego. That trip lead to Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Ohio University in 1979. Afterwards, he became a professional photojournalistfor the San Diego Union Tribune, Santa Rosa Press Democrat and other newspapers. In addition to challenge of daily assignments, he enjoyed working on long term photo projects. He has published works about Romanian Orphans,Migrant farm worker camps and Somali refugees. Tom became a teacher at West High in 1996 and has enjoyed exposing students to the narrative and aesthetic power of a good photograph ever since. His current projects are: Night River and Digital Distraction. When not at West, he likes to take long walks with his wife and dogs on the mountain trails behind his home in Ogden.