Cartoonist Marek Bennett is a teaching artist who serves as an inspiring model for students, educators and other artists. His work is brilliant, playful, relevant and infused with compassion and deep understanding of the world as it is, was and might be. He illuminates ideas of all kinds through his drawings, and helps students and their teachers see how they, too, can use this highly accessible artform – whatever their age, experience, talent, or level of confidence – as a way to learn, grow and communicate in any subject area.
Marek brings to his work an astonishing range of skills and gifts beyond his skilled draftsmanship and storytelling expertise. He is a gentle humorist, an incisive social commentator, a performing musician, a naturalist with wide interest in all the sciences and an historian fascinated by languages. He has been on the State Council on the Arts teaching artist roster since 2007 and teaches year-round in school residencies, library programs, summer camps and a wide variety of workshops for students, teachers and families, all while independently producing graphic novels and a broad range of other work.
Marek’s teaching provides structure, safety and sequential learning while opening wide a window for personal expression and growth for a culturally and emotionally diverse mix of students, from the most intellectually and artistically gifted to those with profound disabilities. In every residency or workshop he ensures that each participant’s voice is celebrated separately and also united with those of their classmates in a collaborative product. It’s no surprise that he has been invited to work around the state and the region in public schools, schools for students with special needs, prisons, museums and elite universities.