Museum Educator – AHSA

Dear AHSA hiring decision maker(s):

Please consider me in your search for a Museum Educator.

Making art and communicating in a variety of media has been a part of my entire adult life. After studying Commercial Art in high school, I enrolled in a BFA program at the U of A and then opted to complete an Art Education degree. Here’s a gallery of some of my early work and you’ll note that Bombus Terestris (1970), is adapted as the banner on my website. The annotation on the painting reads, “A colorful play on words emphasizing that the “bee” at the centre of our lives is, Being”, which references the spiritual nature of much of my work.

I continued to explore my interest in making art while teaching the subject internationally. Working in six different countries outside Canada, I taught art using the Irish Leaving Certificate (including Art History), IGCSE and International Baccalaureate PYP, MYP and Baccalaureate curricula to students as young as four to adult. Here’s an acrylic on paper, Nadia and Friend (2004), of two of my students in Libya.

I’ve always worked at creating educational experiences based on the needs and interests of my students by creatively using the resources at hand. For example, while teaching Vocational Mathematics in the UAE  and awaiting teaching resources for a new school in Al Ain, I developed my students’ English skills and cooperative abilities by producing a short movie, God is Love.

Other educational experience includes teaching Journalism at Grant MacEwan Community College.

Returning to Canada in 2012, I worked with a web designer to launch my WordPress website highlighting my creative abilities in writing, photography, art, music and video production. I am skilled in Microsoft Office, Illustrator, Photoshop, video editing programs and manage my WordPress website.

One of my major works on my return, a quilt, Death from A to Z by Adam Lanza, Dec. 14, 2012 (2013), provocatively engages the viewer by visually linking baby bibs sold by the NRA to the elementary students killed at Sandy Hook School.

Moving to Prince George, I completed a major outdoor installation, The Spirit of Prince George, 2015 (2014) for Timberspan Wood Products. This project involved working with a variety of power tools and a team of Timberspan employees. I have had an avid interest in working with wood, since junior high school. An example of my ingenuity would be the design of a large, plexiglass sheet attached to my small router (laminate trimmer) allowing me to carve larger areas of wood.

Other relevant experience includes my editorial and public relations work with The University of Calgary, Nanaimo Free Press, Nanaimo Business Examiner, Canadian Forest Industries Magazine and T-MAR Industries, to name only a few. My varied duties as Marketing Manager for T-MAR Industries included launching the company newsletter and designing and overseeing the installation of the company’s annual show booth at the Truck Logger’s Convention in Vancouver. I also coordinated the company’s display for DEMO 2000, a “live forestry” exhibit in the BC interior. 

My years spent working as a Residential Care Aide in group homes in Prince George are also relevant. Many of my clients were of Indigenous ancestry and all were dealing with a variety of motor skill or cognitive challenges, including degrees of autism, depression, schizophrenia and thoughts of self-harm. I provided counselling and support; client recreation activities; medication administration; meal planning and preparation and light maintenance in homes housing from one to four clients. Training included St. John’s First Aid Certificate, CPI Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, Food Safe Level 1 and WHMIS. While my First Aid has lapsed, I believe I could easily retrain.  

Since moving to Edmonton in April 2021, I have worked in the custodial field, beginning in homeless shelters for the Mustard Seed Organization. For my current employer, Horizon North (a division of Dexterra Group), I’ve worked as a custodian and currently serve as a Second Cook at the Cenovus Energy site in Fort MacMurray. Safety and other training have been a vital component of my recent work.  I have completed courses in WHMIS; Health, Safety, Environment and Quality (HSEQ); Food Safe and Workplace Violence, which deals with all forms of harassment.

My return to Canada has exposed me on a personal and professional level to the existential challenges of a society searching for fulfillment, purpose and happiness in ways that have often led to drug use, homelessness and despair. My belief that the power of the Human Spirit and the Divine are one and the same has led me to create a number of works works expressing that idea and my and my Happy Face Series emphasizing the overarching, timeless and eternal power of Love is one example. Instead of a Death Star, I created a Life Star. Believe Be Love, Teach Only Love,  and my music video, Brand New Song, continue that theme.

Looking at myself, I’ve faced my share of adversity and had some dark moments, but have elected to remain positive. I maintain the power of decision belongs to us all.

I believe my editorial background; visual art talent; my ability to creatively express ideas in a variety of media and my positive outlook make me an ideal and compelling candidate for the position of Museum Educator. Accordingly, let me suggest we meet to discuss the contribution I could make to Arts and Heritage St. Albert in filling this role.

Yours truly,

James Miller