This is the first post in our New Teachers on the Block series, which profiles faculty members who joined Meridian this fall.
One of the first things visitors notice walking into Emily Farbman’s art room is a large yarn sculpture hung aloft just beyond the doorway. Stray threads brush your head as you walk in, and it’s clear that you’re entering an especially creative space.
The yarn piece is the result of an opening exercise that Emily conducted with all three levels of her sculpture class. After looking at examples of non-traditional 3D art, students collaboratively generated the yarn sculptures, sometimes tossing the yarn to one another or twisting it from opposite ends of the table. Emily says that this group endeavor sets the tone for students who might be nervous or intimidated by art. Those who come to the first class thinking “I’m not good at art,” or “I can’t sculpt” see that, rather than prioritizing training or technical ability, Emily values energetic approaches to ideas.
Emily comes to Meridian from Beaver Country Day School, and she says both schools use art class as a place to generate ideas rather than simply present assignments. She loves working with self-motivated students, and she appreciates Meridian’s class size, saying, “In small groups, I can really understand where students are coming from, where they’re going, and what I can do to guide them.”
Growing up in Washington, D.C., Emily always loved art, and she was encouraged by her mother to pursue creative projects at home. By the time she was in high school, she realized that art wasn’t only a hobby but a passion and a strength. She started spending time in local museums, sketching a range of works from contemporary paintings to bronze sculptures. Emily’s own artwork has focused primarily on portraiture. She’s worked in other mediums as well -- including metal sculpture and printmaking -- but consistently finds herself coming back to drawing and painting faces. In college, these works sometimes reached the scale of 3 by 4 foot canvases.
Outside of school, Emily loves to read books -- recent favorites include Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah -- cook, exercise, make her own art, and spend time with her two children.
Welcome to Meridian, Emily!