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News . Feature Stories . CIA Summer Teacher Residency sparks alumni creativity


December 12, 2022

CIA Summer Teacher Residency sparks alumni creativity

Summer Teacher Residency instructor George Kozmon ’82 interacts with participants in CIA’s Painting and Drawing studios.

By Jordan Berkovitz

Tom Schemrich ’89 spends a lot of his time in studios as a visual arts instructor at Bay Village High School, where he has educated numerous students throughout his 30-year career. However, in both the summers of 2017 and 2019 Schemrich elected to take time for himself and return to the studio as a student in CIA’s Summer Teacher Residency. He chose to participate in the program so that he could dedicate time to exploring his own creative practice, surround himself with other arts educators and benefit from being in an immersive art-centered environment.

“The faculty and technical assistants were helpful in the process of letting go and being in the moment,” he says. “The random in-process-critique nature of the fellowship of artists is a vastly beneficial attribute of the program. Spending days eating meals together and visiting sites around the area together helped to make the group close enough to help and ask for help at will.”

The Summer Teacher Residency is a 10-day program during which art educators from across the country come to CIA to create new bodies of studio work and reinvigorate their teaching practices. While on campus, residents are provided individual studio spaces, art-making supplies and access to CIA’s state-of-the-art facilities. A spirit of collaboration and community allows for regular feedback and input from the residency cohort, guided by CIA’s faculty advisors.

“The program was launched in 2016, and I was thrilled to be a part of it from Day One,” says George Kozmon ’82, a Summer Teacher Residency instructor. “We didn’t know exactly how it would develop but were optimistic that most artists would relish immersion into a studio practice away from the daily grind of their teaching commitments. With CIA’s tremendous space and facilities, an environment of supportive camaraderie and a focused goal of artistic growth, the residency is truly inspirational.”

Kristen Cliffel ’90, also a Summer Teaching Residency instructor, believes the program has many strengths. There are CIA’s facilities—“participants feel like a kid in a candy store,” she says—and the lessons they take away. Participants either learn how to teach what they’re learning or how to incorporate it into their own practice, she says. But its biggest strength? The people and the meaningful relationships they forge.

“The beauty of the program is connecting with teachers and artists,” Cliffel says. “It’s built around getting to know each other as artists and building connections, and many continue to communicate and visit each other after the program.”

Schemrich agrees. “For an art teacher who desires to create, or has a desire to be a more effective and meaningful instructor, I would highly recommend this residency,” he says. “Come to learn and create but be ready to make close connections, and feel part of a close art community again as you did in art school!”

The 2023 Summer Teacher Residency takes place June 12–24, with an exhibition of work created during the residency to follow. The application deadline is March 1. For more information or to apply, visit

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