This is the online stream for sharing conversations that happened throughout the Greater Bay Area from March through June 2012 around the question:

How can we collectively transform public education through the arts to create a better future for everyone?

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Profile: Jennyann Carthern

Name: Jennyann Carthern
Job/Role/Title: Business Owner and Teaching Artist
Organization/Affiliation/School: Paint Is Thicker Than Water
District or City/County: Solano
Contact info:


Tell us about yourself. Who are you and what do you do? My name is Jennyann Carthern, and I’m an Artist in love with Illustration, Teaching, and Creative Entrepreneurship. I’m been a Teaching Artist for over 10 years instructing youth of all ages  in Arts and Theater, in After School Programs and Non-Profits throughout Solano County and the Bay Area. I attended the Academy of Art, and Graduated with a BFA in Illustration from The California College of the Arts.

As an Artist, I own and operate a company called Paint Is Thicker Than Water, that is  an expression of love which courses through the veins of many artists and the power creativity has over us. It is my call to action to serve artists who are at their wits’ end. I provide workshops, in person and online in art education and creative entrepreneurship. I also provide creative entrepreneur curriculum for after school programs, with a goal to end the trend of the starving artist, and give students the tools and confidence to really make a life and a living for themselves in the arts. I also teach Art and Theater part time for The Place 2 Be After Three at three middle schools throughout the city of Fairfield.

My students are my best teachers, and in a world that thinks artists are crazy. I value their success. That starts in promoting art education, and giving them the right tools to create successful ventures that can eventually give back to the arts.

How did you find out about this process? I found out about the Arts Alliance in an email invite, and I was thrilled to sign on, and help in the conversation.

What inspired you to get engaged? My inspiration started within my own Educational Journey and my love for Arts, Community, and Learning. As a child, I was labeled with a learning disability; I had the familiar IEPs, and the explanation that I was different, because It took me longer than others to learn information. Today I know better. Today I’ve discovered that I’m a right brainer that requires different, more creative tools for learning. Tools that my school environment hadn’t caught on to. I loved my teachers, but they just weren’t in sync with my creative mind. Using post its, markers, and things that move, I’ve become a lifetime learner. I am different! As are the many students in public schools that don’t meet policy guidelines. Their different because they doodle instead of highlight, and question instead of understand.

Learning isn’t a one stage process, but for some reason, Schools are still teaching in this one stage, of testing, sitting, and filling out worksheets. I’m inspired because, I think that it’s time to create more stages, and Art Education has the power to do that.

What do you think of the conversations so far? The conversations so far, are impressive, and I can sense an energy building that will result in change. We must keep talking, because students need us, and we need to be their voice in education. They know what they want. However they aren’t always heard because of the decisions we make for them. How much power we truly have is astounding!

Everyone that is involved in the conversation is creating inspiring ideas, that I’d like to see more teachers, principles, and after school organizations take action on. I’d like to see them more involved in the conversation.

How would you answer the framing question: How can we collectively transform public education through the arts to create a better future for everyone? We can collectively transform public education through the arts to create a better future for everyone by changing the perception of the starving artist. I still, truly think this is very important because we live in word of mouth society. One that often believes that the only value of art is how good it looks on a wall.

Art is intrinsic, its value is in thinking, creating, organizing, expressing and imagining new ideas, concepts, and things into existence.  However public school education isn’t noticing the change that is surrounding us and students are going to graduate into a world they weren’t expecting. Where test scores don’t matter, and awards are going to the creative ones, who can think different, imagine, and express messages that skip a heartbeat.

In one of my articles Making Room for Collaboration I said.  “The starving Artist only exists, because we haven’t created a picture that works for them or their trade. We leave those students with a D.I.Y. approach to education. So, we must change that perception, and present a new picture that Teachers can model, with value already attached to it. Giving students more options and choices to make for their creative futures.

I still believe that, and I still think this is how we can transform public education through the arts, to create a better future for everyone.


3 Comments on “Profile: Jennyann Carthern”

  1. Sebrenia says:

    Great interview! Jennyann Carthern is a fanatistic example of a role model and mentor. Her determation to overcome all adversities is something to aspire to. Her concepts are inspiring and very much needed for all Artist and especially for those who are reluctant about their talent and organizational skills. I look forward to reading future articles about the progress of this innovative Artist!

  2. eekim says:

    Thank you for doing this interview, Amy! Jennyann, I have loved everything you’ve shared on this blog so far, and so it was especially nice to hear more about you personally as well. Looking forward to continuing and growing the conversation here with you!

  3. Thank You for your encouraging comments!