January 22, 2024

The artist Tom Devaney joined Great Bay Community College this year as Program Coordinator for fine arts and digital media, after teaching in the visual arts department of the New Hampshire Technical Institute for the past decade.

A sculptor and painter with a studio and gallery in Concord, Devaney utilizes a variety of traditional methods and modern techniques in making artwork that allows him to communicate a range of perspectives. As a teacher, he is interested in helping students develop the skills and techniques that allow them to develop their own artistic voice.

He recently spoke about joining the faculty at Great Bay, his philosophies about art, and his studio practice.

What brought you to Great Bay?

I had been working at New Hampshire Technical Institute in their Visual Arts department for the past 10 years. When the Program Coordinator position opened at Great Bay, I naturally thought that this would be a great opportunity to contribute to the growth and development of the Fine and Digital Arts department in a leadership position.

Please describe the arts program at Great Bay. What do students learn?

Our Fine, Performing and Digitals Arts classes are designed to nurture creativity, critical thinking, and artistic expression while providing a foundation for individuals pursuing careers as professional artists, educators, designers in various creative industries. We encourage and support our students to achieve their goals be it to earn a bachelor’s degree or begin start working in their chosen fields of study.

Say a little about your background and how it informs your work in the classroom.

I have over 30 years’ experience in fine arts and a passion for teaching and creating art. Classes I have taught at NHTI include Drawing 1, Drawing 2, 2D Design, 3D Design, Painting 1, Figure Drawing, and Figure Sculpture. I have written curriculum, designed online programs as well as been a mentor and adviser to new professors to our program and have helped facilitate their success. I have also organized extracurricular art activities and events, such as art exhibitions and workshops. These experiences have given me the ability to create a supportive and encouraging learning environment for my students while also challenging them to think creatively and critically.

How do those classes and the program in general help prepare students for careers? 

We live in a dynamic world, where change is constant, and I strongly believe in the necessity of fostering a stimulating environment. It is within such an environment that students are not only equipped with the technical skills required by today’s employers but, more crucially, are challenged to think critically and devise creative solutions to complex problems. Our educational approach not only imparts the knowledge necessary for the present job market but also instills in students the ability to adapt creatively to the ever-evolving challenges of our world in flux.

In what ways does Great Bay’s digital media program prepare and equip students to work as graphic and digital artists?

The Associate of Science Degree in Digital Media Communications from Great Bay Community College equips individuals with a robust foundation in the knowledge and skills essential to the dynamic field of Graphic Design. Our comprehensive curriculum encompasses key areas such as Graphic Design, Visual Communication, and Media Production, fostering expertise in project planning. Students also gain a solid grounding in art and design principles, ensuring a well-rounded education that prepares them for success in the competitive world of digital media.

How do you find your own creative time? What drew you to art and to art education?

As far back as I can remember, I have been deeply immersed in the world of arts. Whether it was constructing intricate projects or sketching my imagination onto paper, creativity has been an integral part of my life. My journey formally began at the age of 8 when I joined a small art school. Since then, I have consistently pursued the visual arts, engaging with various arts organizations, and showcasing my work nationwide. Over the past 17 years, I’ve operated my own workspace gallery, T. Devaney Fine Art in Concord, where I’ve been able to cultivate and exhibit my artistic expressions.