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Jennifer Combe, Assistant Professor

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 interplay between cultural contexts and semiotic forms, specifically with the role categorizing plays as people construct schema.  Drawing from abstraction, children's drawings, and my experience as a mother, I chart patterns and categories that surface as images are interpreted and distilled and then finally output into imagery.  Through such a process the concrete is often transformed to the symbolic.
To this end, I am guided in my research by the following questions: What roles to environment, family, and physiology play in developing meaning?  What environments foster or deter the learning process?  How does normative behavior play out in this development?  And finally, what informs the development of categories we form?

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