New art, photo teacher looks forward to year

The Newtonite

[media-credit name=”Jacob Schwartz” align=”alignright” width=”267″] Art and photography teacher Tom MacIntyre works with retired photography teacher Ron Morris.
by Leah Budson
Art and photography teacher Tom MacIntyre has been interested in art since personality quizzes he took as a kid predicted he would become an artist.
The quizzes proved accurate, considering MacIntyre’s history of teaching art at Tufts and Littleton High School.
Hired after photography teacher Ron Morris’s retirement last year, MacIntyre teaches art minor, in addition to photography major and minor courses.
With experience in both photography and what is considered more traditional art, MacIntyre explained that he finds the two to be more similar than different.
“I think of all forms of art as a way to communicate and make people think. I get a little grumpy when people talk about ‘art’ and photography as if they are different and say that photography isn’t an art form with a capital “A.” I teach Art in all of my classes, whether art minor or photo major,” he said.
Students in MacIntyre’s art minor and photography major classes can expect exciting projects, according to MacIntyre.

The art minor IIs, IIIs and IVs will be diving into “Mapping My World,” a project MacIntyre said he did with students in a collaboration between the Museum of Fine Arts and the Boston Public Library.

“We’re working with maps. You can use maps in a collage or make a map of something. You can map anything: it can be a map of your room, your house, the school. You could even be mapping your imagination, your day or your brain. Whatever you come up with.”

His major students are participating in Inside Out, a global art project created by french artist JR.

For the project, students send portraits to the Inside Out website, which mails back extremely large prints of the photographs. Next, the students can paste their prints in a public area using wheatpaste, a permanent gluing technique.
Two summers ago, MacIntyre completed the project himself, pasting a portrait of his son in Mission Hill, a neighborhood of Boston.
MacIntyre said, “It’s a lot of fun. It’s this big public art piece, and the question presented by the Inside Out project is ‘how can you change the world through art?’”
MacIntyre’s interest in photography began during his freshman year of college, he said. “I took a class and fell in love with it immediately. I liked the mechanical nature of the process, and photography freed me from the anxiety of not being really strong at drawing.”
Although he never would have predicted he would be a teacher, MacIntyre said he loves teaching high school students. “Teaching was never on my radar as a career option. When I graduated and began looking for a full time job, I found a position at Littleton High School and applied,” he said. “I had no idea what I was getting myself into nor did I realize how much I would enjoy working with high-school-age students.”
“I really like working with young artists, feeding off of their energy and passion. High school students are quirky, funny and unpredictable. They keep me young.”
Before teaching here, MacIntyre was an adjunct professor at Tufts for high school programs, where he taught a digital photography class. He also taught and developed a curriculum for new media, which involves photography, video and design, at Littleton High School. He predicts that teaching at Littleton will be very different from teaching at this school because of the difference in size of the student body.
“Littleton High is a tiny school––400 students total. I really enjoyed teaching in a small school, but I love that students at North have so many options for electives. This school feels much more like a college campus,” he said. “There is a much better chance that the students in my class are there because they are genuinely interested in art and photography and not just filling a requirement.”
In addition to the dedicated students, the staff has also made a great impression on him, said MacIntyre. “Teachers that have been here for twenty years would approach me and say ‘Welcome to Newton North. This is a great place to work.’ And I thought ‘I’ve heard that so many times, is it really that great of a place? And from what I can tell in my first week, I think it probably is.”