Why we need art teachers


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are “a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.”

To achieve these goals, we have developed standards, certifications, accreditations, guidelines, and tools. These focus on science and statistics, math and markets. They represent the “head and hands” or the “what and how” of sustainability. These are important, of course, but something is missing. 

Beyond math and markets is meaning.  

To achieve “peace and prosperity for people and the planet” we need to understand and realize the “heart” and the “why” of sustainability. Unlike matters of the head and the hands, however, matters of the heart are far more challenging to define and put on a checklist. This is where art comes in. 

Art is how we develop our imagination and ideas.

Art is how we explore and express what is in our hearts. 

Art is how we realize meaning.  

If we are to achieve a beautiful, humane, and sustainable future, we need to teach students — our future leaders — how to imagine and explore, how to ideate and express, how to realize meaning.  

We need to teach them art. 

If you’re an art teacher considering grad school, and you’d love to…

  • use your creativity and teaching skills to help achieve the SDGs
  • teach biomimicry as part of art class (and STEAM)
  • develop your own ideas and projects while learning
  • help develop the sustainability leaders of tomorrow

… but you can’t afford to quit your day job, then you might be interested in MCAD’s fully online Master of Arts in Sustainable Design program!

If you’re in Minneapolis for the NAEA conference, be sure to visit me at the MASD table at MCAD! If you can’t make that event, email me and we can set up a time to chat.

Denise DeLuca / Former Director

Denise DeLuca is the Director of MCAD’s Sustainable Design program. She was co-founder of BCI: Biomimicry Creative for Innovation, a network of creative professional change agents driving ecological thinking for radical transformation. Denise is author of the book Re-Aligning with Nature: Ecological Thinking for Radical Transformation, which was illustrated by MASD alum Stephanie Koehler. She also teaches with the Amani Institute.

Denise’s previous roles include Education Director for the International Living Future Institute, Project Manager for Swedish Biomimetics 3000, and Outreach Director for The Biomimicry Institute. Denise is a licensed civil engineer (PE) and holds a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering with a focus on modeling landscape-scale surface and groundwater interactions.  In addition, Denise is a Biomimicry Fellow and a member of the Advisory Council of The Biomimicry InstituteBoard Member of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP), on the editorial board of the Journal of Bionic Engineering, and an Expert with Katerva. Denise is based in Oregon.

contact:  [email protected]