Art instructor gets creative with online teaching


Courtesy of Ingrid Brook-Kothlow

SJCC art instructor Ingrid Brook-Kothlow demonstrates how to make butterfly kits on her YouTube channel on May 22.

Being an artist is a natural fit for her since she comes from a house full of artists. Creativity is in her blood. She is a passionate artist and devoted art instructor who has always liked to make things.

Ingrid Brook-Kothlow, 57, has been an instructor at San Jose City College since 1999 and currently teaches two-dimensional design and beginning drawing class via Zoom.

“The teaching is much more difficult,” Brook-Kothlow said. “Art is a hands-on discipline so it is much harder for me to show my students how to do things and to help them with their work.”

As an instructor, she loves working with San Jose students and has learned a lot about working with people. She said there is a wonderful openness and willingness to learn.

Selfie by Ingrid Brook-Kothlow

She gets excited to see what the students will do with a new assignment she develops. Sometimes the assignments are great, and other times she needs to change or eliminate them.

“The class is a very interesting class which I follow. My teacher, Ingrid, created a friendly environment for our class,” said art student Dung Tran, 65, who is in Two-Dimensional Design class.

Tran said that Brook-Kothlow is very devoted to her students so he is passionate about her class. He said he hopes that he will have more opportunities to take classes with her.

“She is one of the most creative people I’ve ever met,” said SJCC art instructor Judith Bell, 64. “She brings her creative style to everything she does. She’s also very trustworthy and generous.”

Bell has known Brook-Kothlow as a colleague for about 20 years, but has known her as a friend for about 30 years. They were in graduate school together and have had many experiences over the years.

She is one of the most creative people I’ve ever met.”

— SJCC instructor Judith Bell

The two art faculty members work as a team for the spring 2020 semester to accommodate the large number of students enrolled in the Beginning Drawing classes.

Before the lockdown, they each developed lessons and each taught the lesson to one half of the class on Monday and the other half on Wednesday. After the lockdown, they were able to support each other in teaching online.

What impressed her most about the school was when different art buildings were finally completed.

“The sinks in the old building were so old that the water wouldn’t drain so we had six inches of water in the sink all the time,” Brook-Kothlow said. “It was so exciting to move to the new building.”

She uses her YouTube channel, Ingrid Brook-Kothlow, to share her art work such as color pencil drawings, handiwork of paper cutting and a mini landform book.

In her spare time, Brook-Kothlow said some of her favorite things to do are cooking, gardening, walking in nature and, of course, making things.

Her plan for the fall semester is to teach painting. Brook-Kothlow said she was looking forward to this because painting is one of her favorite things to do.

“Art is something that takes a lot of time and something that can relax and center you,” Brook-Kothlow said. “Use this time (quarantine) to be creative if you can.”

SJCC art instructor Ingrid Brook-Kothlow demonstrates how to make a mini landform book on her YouTube channel on May 22. (Courtesy of Ingrid Brook-Kothlow )