Art Professor Heads to West Africa

Anthony Smith, art professor at NCC, received an award to study West African culture to enhance his class teachings and craft.

Anthony Smith

Northampton Community College (NCC) Art Professor, Anthony Smith, was accepted into the 2023 Faculty Development Seminar in Senegal. Smith travelled to Senegal, Africa this January to engage in lectures and events focused on life in Senegal and West African culture. The two-week workshop in Dakar, capital of Senegal, will also include visits to other locations rich in culture, art and history.  

The seminar, administered by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) in collaboration with the West African Research Association and its member center in Senegal, chooses recipients from a large pool of applicants from across the United States and internationally. CAORC funding for this program is provided by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The aim of the seminar is for attendees to develop new or improved course materials and bring what they learned into the classroom. 

Smith’s specific interest in attending the seminar was to incorporate other methods of creating and teaching art. Smith feels his teaching and creative practice favors a Western “arcadian” approach. He wants to add contemporary and historical West African artistic aesthetics into his coursework and practice. Ultimately, his goal is to create a course on non-western art making practices at NCC. 

Smith brings years of teaching experience to NCC from institutions such as Lehigh University, Parsons School of Design, Princeton University, and others. “I have had the privilege of observing Anthony interacting with his students in a classroom environment. His pedagogical objectives are to help his students develop their individual creative voices, which allows them to build on their existing creative and technical skills,” says NCC Art Department Director, Tom Shillea.  

Smith has exhibited his paintings and drawings locally and regionally. His artistic approach has been recognized with three grants, the 2017 Pennsylvania Council of the Arts Project Steam Grant, a Business Accelerator Grant, and most recently, the seminar in Senegal, Africa. 

While in Africa, Smith took part in a college open house at the Senegalese American Bilingual School in Dakar, pictured below.

“My hope is to draw upon the post-colonial pedagogical approaches of the Senegalese artistic and educational community to help craft a curriculum at NCC that better serves our students’ expressive needs and empowers them as creators who stem from a diverse array of communities,” said Smith.