Graduate Profile: Seeking Degree and Artistic Voice
I have developed that voice to inspire my work and speak through it and making my craft has become a peaceful and relaxing process that I enjoy. By engaging in this MFA program at Governors State University, I was able to re-introduce myself to the process of making art and why I fell in love with art in the first place.
When Kristy Weidenhoefer Marcordes, a 2020 Governors State University (GSU) graduate, started the Master of Fine Arts in Independent Film and Digital Imaging program (IFDI), she was looking to find herself as an artist in order to be a more impactful high school art teacher. With the support of friend, fellow IFDI student, 2020 graduate, and Homewood-Flossmoor High School teacher, Candi Helsel, Weidenhoefer found her artistic voice.
“I have developed that voice to inspire my work and speak through it and making my craft has become a peaceful and relaxing process that I enjoy. By engaging in this MFA program at Governors State University, I was able to re-introduce myself to the process of making art and why I fell in love with art in the first place.”
Read Candi Helsel's profile here.
GSU Newsroom: What brought you to GSU?
Marcordes: For my bachelor’s degree, I ended up earning nearly a full ride scholarship to Eastern Illinois University for the art that I had created. At Eastern Illinois University I strove to take every class I could to better my understanding of all art fields that I might potentially teach. It was here that I became the perfect reproducer of what I saw but not a true artist at this point. I graduated Cum Laude and landed my first job right out of college at Carl Sandburg High School and Stagg High School as a split position and eventually made my way to my current placement at Homewood-Flossmoor High School. It was at year five of teaching that I decided that this was the time to really start thinking about my own artwork again. After all, I could only help my students so much if I couldn’t help myself discover who I am as an artist.
I have never really given myself the time and devoted the energy to developing my own ideas. I had been through so much leading to this point, and it was finally time to take the next step into my master's degree. Nearly every school that I looked into was requiring me to quit my teaching job to complete a Master of Fine Arts. Governors State University quickly caught my interest when it was expressed that they could make both my career and my anticipated degree work. I was ecstatic as I looked into what my options were and noticed a master's degree in fine arts that was offered was in Photography and Film. During all my schooling, in high school and throughout college I had never taken a class in either of these things. I was, however, starting to teach photography for the first time at my high school this year and wanted to know more. I strove to develop my inner voice and reach the artistic goals here at Governors State that I had always wanted for myself.
GSU Newsroom: What are some of the highlights from your time at GSU?
Marcordes: It is here at Governors State University that I was able to push my art and develop my own style, while in turn learning how to take and edit photos and film successfully. I was able to make it to a point of mastering this craft, and finally developing something that is more about myself and not just copying an existing product. With this knowledge I will be stronger at educating my students and developing their artistic skills. I have pushed to truly be an artist as well as a teacher, to have a better impact as a teacher as well as fulfill something that has been missing in myself for a long time.
I am thankful for the opportunity that this program has given me to make time for something that is going to help me so much. After a long day of helping students with their own work, the inspiration to continue home and keep working sounds terribly dreadful, but with the classes and content I was able to take here it was anything but. I have developed that voice to inspire my work and speak through it and making my craft has become a peaceful and relaxing process that I enjoy. By engaging in this Masters in Fine Arts program at Governors State University, I was able to re-introduce myself to the process of making art and why I fell in love with art in the first place.
GSU Newsroom: Who are some of the professors who have helped to shape your experience/your future?
Marcordes: The professor that impacted me the most at Governors State is Professor Dan Nearing. He is not only extremely knowledgeable in his content, but he also is a great educator. After being in the teaching profession for nine years now, I have seen many instructors, but not many like him. He is an excellent communicator and was always thoroughly prepared to give us his all each class session and beyond. Professor Nearing proved his compassion daily by getting involved in each student's work with interest, ideas, and constructive critique. He really wanted each of us to be the best we could be and pushed us using his own passion.
GSU Newsroom: Tell me about how attending with Candi impacted your experience at GSU.
Marcordes: When you think about the people that you know, it is incredible how few you can actually classify as motivated. How many people do you know that say they are going to do something and just don't seem to end up following through or the past tells you that they might not. Millions of people are unmotivated, but this is not the case when it comes to Candi Helsel-Wilk. She is truly an inspiration for her friends and her students when it comes to taking on a great deal and doing her best at every bit of the challenge. When Candi commits to something she not only completes the task, but she always does it at the utmost level of achievement. So how has attending with Candi impacted my experience? We were able to push and motivate each other. The rigor that we chose to endure was not easy to overcome, but it was a great deal easier having someone going through the same. I am thankful
GSU Newsroom: What's next for you after graduation?
Marcordes: Upon graduation I will be able to fully utilize all of the skills I have developed in my own teaching at Homewood-Flossmoor High School. There is so much that I have already been able to infuse into my own craft this year and will continue to build on this as I re-develop the curriculum for the fall. Most importantly, I have learned how to make time to stay up to date with my own work. As a teacher it is so important to practice what you preach. An art teacher should be as much an artist as a teacher to stay up to date with new materials, programs, and to keep their love of the arts alive. If that love or passion is ever lost, the impact on their teaching would be detrimental.
Apply for the Independent Film and Digital Imaging program today! Or join us on June 3, 2020 for virtual Coffee with a Counselor to discuss admissions, programs, and more.