Lydia Martin, a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will serve as the new Windgate Metals Artist-in-Residence at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
“I am really looking forward to getting to know the students and people at UA Little Rock,” Martin said. “UA Little Rock’s continued commitment to the future of education, art practices, and diverse mediums speak to my own ways of thinking as both an educator and maker. As an educator, I am committed to sharing what I know in an active dialogue with all of my students. Education carves out a space where both the instructor and students can find a greater sense of purpose and understanding within the world.”
As the Windgate Metals Artist-in-Residence, Martin will maintain a robust studio practice, teach courses, oversee the metals instructional facilities, and mentor applied design students with a metals emphasis working with wood, metals, and ceramics.
“With the support of the Windgate Foundation, we’ve been able to create expansive course offerings for our students,” said Tom Clifton, chair of the Department of Art and Design at UA Little Rock. “We’re thrilled that they will have this opportunity to collaborate with a working artist and see how they build their studio practice. We know that Lydia will bring enthusiasm to the classroom along with her distinctive skill set.”
Martin worked as an adjunct faculty member in the Metalsmithing and Jewelry Program at Towson University as well as an instructor and program and studio assistant for the Baltimore Jewelry, a nonprofit alternative education space focused on community outreach, accessibility, and learning.
“As an instructor and mentor, I have developed curriculum for and taught intro through advanced level and special topics courses,” Martin said. “I have helped with and engaged in community and educational programming. As part of the staff, I have assisted in formalizing new programs, such as a two-year teaching fellowship for emerging educators and a residency, and continue to reevaluate and restructure existing programs.”
She earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the Rochester Institute of Technology, a post baccalaureate certificate in jewelry and metalsmithing from the Oregon College of Art and Craft, and a Master of Fine Arts from State University of New York at New Paltz.
Martin first got started in metal work while she was a freshman in high school. A class in jewelry making turned into a first step to her future career as an artist.
“I enrolled in a jewelry class, and it was the first time I had ever worked with metal and I fell in love,” she said. “It was very challenging, and I was excited to work with my hands. From there, I tried my hardest to make it happen to take any jewelry class available.”
Martin’s work has been shown internationally and nationally, including shows in the Netherlands, Germany, and China. Her latest exhibition was a solo show, “In the Company of Silence,” at the Jewelers’Werk Galerie in Washington, D.C.
“It was an exhibition of a continuation of a body of work that I have been making since I graduated from graduate school,” she said. “My studio practice has slowed down a little now that teaching has speeded up, but I am looking forward to getting back to my own creative work while at UA Little Rock.”
Martin feels that the artist-in-residence faculty position will serve as a stepping stone for her long-term goal of running an art department.
“One of my long-term goals has been to teach in academia, and I have always wanted to run my own department,” Martin said. “I am deeply invested in the future of university arts education and my long-term professional goals include being a part of that larger conversation academically, artistically, and practically. I believe that this opportunity would allow for continued growth and development in my career that continues to develop my skills interpersonally as a maker, educator, and mentor to students at all levels of interest and commitment.”