Associate Professor of Art, Tiffany Leach is a studio ceramic artist and educator whose sculptures give voice to the female experience, the role of mother, and often explore story-telling using the proverb “It takes a Village” in contemporary society to provide a foundation for the work. Her work has been exhibited, lectured on, and collected at national and international venues. Currently, Prof. Leach serves as the chair of the department of Visual Arts and co-director of the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Arts at Jacksonville University, and she is passionate aboout study abroad and engaged learning. She specializes in ceramic sculpture with figurative elements, utilizing wheel-thrown vessels and functional wares as metaphorical references.
As an artist, studio owner, and curator, Prof. Leach not only works on shaping and exhibiting her artwork, but also has her hands in some unique community projects. The Women’s Center of Jacksonville is among these partnerships, and invited Prof. Leach to curate an art collection at the new S.A.F.E. Center in order to surround survivors with uplifting and empowering artwork during their healing. Prof. Leach and colleague Prof. Nicholas McNally joined a committee for selecting appropriate artwork for the space with the help of those who collaborate daily with survivors. Once selected, they designed the space for the artwork. “My favorite part of the experience was knowing that we were being very thoughtful about the artwork placement. I often talk to my students about the work they are making and the message it carries. This was a great opportunity to use that message for a place of healing in the community,” says Prof. Leach.
Her work currently on display at the S.A.F.E. center is titled Shared Experience (pictured left) and it is about sisterhood. The inspiration for this piece comes from raising her two daughters and speaks to the universal understanding that there is empowerment in connecting with others who share similar experiences. “I see my work as opening a dialogue, which can lead to healing in this setting, that we are not alone in the journey,” says Prof. Leach. Founded in research, her artwork is steeped in personal craft, with aspects of her parenting-style infused in her teaching pedagogy. Prof. Leach often reminds her students to explore the personal meaning behind their work and what the object communicates to others. When asked about the classroom, her colleagues, and students, Prof. Leach considers it more like a village, “My home within our institution is the ceramic studio and I am fortunate to teach along-side supportive colleagues. Professor Tupa and I have built a family-like, collaborative atmosphere in the ceramic program. Meeting students where they are, holding them accountable, and building a support village for their future.”