Namita, Jonathan 2-1We are excited to introduce our Visual Arts Subject Expert Teacher (SET), Mr. Jonathan Narmita!

Mr. Narmita will be the Visual Arts SET for grades 2 - 7. He developed a passion for arts from an early age, drawing comic books as a youth and growing into a classically trained educator. From developing brand identities for companies in New York to building the visual arts program at his previous school, Mr. Narmita has extensive experience in the arts and looks forward to elevating the creativity and inspiration of his students as they enter the art classroom.

We connected with Mr. Narmita for a Q&A to get to know him and his vision for the classroom.

What excites you about being a member of the BASIS Independent Bellevue’s founding faculty?
I am excited to work with a team that is working from the ground up. The energy is different and the experience is positive, exciting, and rewarding. In a founding year, the goals are specific. We are all there for the same reasons and joining a community knowing that we are all on the same page is truly thriving. I like being a part of this experience and building upon the foundation to express ourselves further as our community culture takes shape.


What drew you to BASIS Independent Bellevue?
I was interested in the curriculum and approach to not only visual arts, but also fine arts overall. Reading the concept of the BASIS Curriculum and the combination of liberal arts and STEM was intriguing to me. Additionally, the design of the program, which allows Subject Expert Teachers to introduce their subject content in different ways, really stuck out. Having this autonomy to bring the curriculum to life is what inspired me to explore this opportunity.

Can you share your background with us so our families can get more acquainted with you?
When I was about ten years old, I wanted to be a comic book artist. My mom fostered my art education by signing me up at a cartooning class. While I started off with cartooning, I expanded my exposure to the arts, including classical drawing by age 12. As I continued drawing comics and characters, my parents suggested that I consider graphic design. I attended a small liberal arts school in Pennsylvania and studied advertising and graphic design. After college, I moved to New York City where I focused my artistic creativity in branding and developing identity logos. On a side note, I also was a musician and toured with my band.

After touring and graphic design, something was missing and I felt like I wasn’t giving back when I had these experiences. When I sought an answer to what I wanted to contribute in my life, it was art and creating art. I dropped everything and went back to school and became a teacher. My favorite place to be is in the art studio, which to me is a sacred place, and I want to share this with others. My first job was teaching art in Allentown, Pennsylvania to students from preschool through grade 5. I built the entire arts program, but after four years, the arts were sadly cut. I transitioned to private lessons to students and then, interestingly enough, to their parents. I desired to be back in the classroom and moved to Seattle, teaching at The Pratt Fine Arts Center. I then taught art at Willows Preparatory School for six years. At Willows Preparatory School, I built the entire arts program and taught art, including visual arts and International Baccalaureate arts, to students in grades 5 -
8 and ultimately grades 5 - 12.

What do you enjoy the most about teaching art?
The best part for me is that the art room is sacred space and a special part of the school day. I want to make it an exciting place that students look forward to entering, and I believe they need it in their day. Art is a discipline that allows students to be creative, feel safe, explore, invent, try new things, fail, and overcome those failures. The art room is a place where students can feel comfortable with their classmates and the space. And going back to what art made me feel as a kid—I still feel like a kid going into the room, which was a sort of playground for me, but now I get to share it.

 

What skills will you focus on building?
I will start with building strong foundations in a very interactive way. Art is about creative problem solving as well as innovative and abstract thinking, self-expression, and experimentation.


What is your goal for each student?
My goal is to always break stigmas about what art is. I want students to understand that art is so much more than just drawing. I want to break this concept from day one and show students that visual art can be applied across multiple mediums and disciplines. My goal is to help students make disciplinary connections through art in math, business, communications, and more.


Where do you draw your creativity from?

I gather inspiration from mixed media artists and through music as a musician. Art and music are very similar. Anything visual is always inspiring because it is always changing. That is what makes art so fantastic—it can last a lifetime and is constantly evolving. Art never gets old, there is always something to be excited about. I particularly enjoy Cubism abstraction and typography. Street art is another channel I look to for inspiration as it is a mixture of mediums and expressions.

 

BASIS Independent Bellevue is a private school opening fall 2022. We will open with Grades 2 - 7 to start and add a grade level each school year as we expand to a full middle and high school (Grades 5 - 12).

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