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Jennifer Combe, Assistant Professor

On Leave Fall 2013

Art Education 

phone: 406.243.4208
office: Fine Arts Bldg 102


Jennifer Combe is a painter and educator. From 1997 - 2011 she taught K-3 multi-age general education and K-12 visual art for Washington State Public Schools. She is an active member of The Caucus of Social Theory in Art Education and oversees their corresponding open-source portfolio with the National Art Education Association. Her visual work has been exhibited nationally in venues including galleries, homes, state buildings, restaurants, bookstores, LGBTQ festivals, and colleges.

Artist Statement

I am interested in investigating the cultural contexts of how meaning is derived from semiotic forms. I wonder about the role context plays as individuals construct schema – specifically around classifying and sorting. How does this compartmentalizing, which is an essential process needed for developing meaning, play out in the role of making sense of the world around us? And how, once we grasp a pattern, do we, as agents of change, encourage the constructed boundaries to loosen? My work often emerges as an extreme reduction of forms that investigate systems of order, disorder, democracy, and universal assum¬¬ptions around aesthetics.

Teaching Philosophy

Teaching is a political act. My objective is to encourage students to see the water in which we swim as educators and image-makers. My goal is to expose the hidden curriculum behind the design of both the classroom community and assigned research. Through democratic classroom practices, play, open-ended image making and thinking, looking, and interaction, I encourage critical thinking around identity, community, difference, and communication. Bridging theory and practice I see the classroom as a lab in which to continually construct and deconstruct pedagogy and the art objects created.


2009  Master in Fine Art, The Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpellier, VT
1997  Master in Teaching, The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA
1995  Bachelor of Arts: The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA      
Teaching Certificates: K – 12 visual art, K – 5 self-contained, 9 – 12 English