Faculty Member Kim Do
Kim Do, Visual Arts Department Chair and Curator of Student Art, began teaching at Horace Mann School in 1985, but his exposure to both art and HM extends even further back. Do grew up in Queens, NY, attended the High School of Music and Art (now known as the Fiorelle H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts), and went on to earn a B.F.A from SUNY Purchase(as a member of the first graduating class) and an M.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Do’s connection to HM has come full circle. His mother was a teacher at the New York School for Nursery Years, now HM’s Nursery Division. Do’s children, Jesse ’08 and Samantha ’03, had the opportunity to attend HM from the Lower Division through high school. And, most recently, students at Columbia University Teachers College commissioned Do to create a portrait of a professor as a gift. Kim liked the fact that his art was going to a good place – the portrait hangs in a building on the Teachers College campus that was home to an early incarnation of Horace Mann School.
Do was attracted to the profession of teaching, in part, because he possessed a skill and growing expertise that he could pass on and share with others. He finds it very rewarding to teach at the independent school level where he has taught Middle and Upper Division students painting, drawing, sculpture and moviemaking. He enjoys seeing students discover new ways to work creatively with theme, technique and materials like papier mache and inflatable mylar. He recalls a year when students used the mylar to create not just an aesthetically pleasing blimp replica, but also made an actual working blimp and flew it in the gym! At times, he sees himself as more of a guide to the students than an instructor. He endeavors to help students hone a self-directed project with a focus and overarching idea while being able to weave in lessons and discussions on traditional artistic components such as color theory, contrast, scale, and perspective. One of Kim Do’s favorite HM experiences is Homecoming. “It’s an opportunity when we get to flood campus with student art and welcome alumni back.” Do has kept in contact with several former students who have gone on to creative careers in music and filmmaking. He especially enjoys when alumni come back to participate in events with students, like assemblies and Music Week.
Do’s preferred painting style is landscapes, often of the scenery surrounding his cottage in the country. He names French landscape and portrait painter Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot as his favorite painter. Kim’s hobbies include not only playing the guitar and ukulele, but also building the instruments, often in a whimsical style like a ukulele that resembles a watermelon.
Do has been a faculty volunteer for the Annual Fund since 2004 and holds an impressive streak of 25 consecutive years of contributing to the Fund. Among his reasons for giving back and encouraging others to donate include a sense of loyalty and shared responsibility. “The beauty of HM lies in the fact that each of us creates and recreates the school every day and we have a responsibility to our students and each other to make the best experience and environment we can,” he remarks. Additionally he notes, “My children have benefitted from an HM education and it’s nice to be recognized as a faculty and staff member on the donor roster who chooses to give back to our community.”
Do sees art as a gift, as described in Lewis Hyde’s 1979 book, The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, where the artist shares his/her art as a gift to others and the recipient views and receives the art as a gift as well. Thank you, Kim, for your loyal support of the Annual Fund, dedication to our school, and for sharing your gifts and talents with generations of alumni and students!
(Article appeared in the spring 2017 Donor Newsletter)