Faculty Spotlight: Heidi Neff

Heidi Neff’s life as an artist feeds her life as a professor­­­­­­­­—and every day her students reap the benefits.

“If you’re not doing, it’s hard to understand where students are coming from,” says Heidi. And for this reason, she often paints alongside her students. By integrating what she does both inside and outside the classroom she is able to augment the standard curriculum and teach from the perspective of both an instructor and as a creator.

Heidi has been integral in the development of an Associate of Fine Arts (AFA) degree at Harford. The pre-professional degree will allow art students to complete core competencies in art and design rather than in traditional general education classes. AFA students will have time built into their schedules to take upper level studio courses where they can produce a portfolio and better prepare for transfer to a BFA program. “Students wanting to obtain a BFA . . . need more time to make art. The portfolio is what employers and four-year universities care about the most. The AFA allows for that.”

Heidi’s recent personal work landed her a solo exhibition at the Amos Enos Gallery in Brooklyn. The peer-reviewed member gallery showed her collection titled Visceral Takeover. “In this work, visceral colors and textures punctuate sleek blue surfaces reminiscent of glowing screens. Fleshy and painterly explosions disrupt calm, glossy surfaces. Paint is a metaphor for that which is messy, physical and real in an increasingly screen-obsessed world.” In preparation for the exhibit, Heidi was able to show her students the struggles, mistakes, risks and failures that are inherent in an artist’s work. “It allows them to see they are not alone in their struggles and that risk and failure are ok,” says Heidi. “That’s important.”

In addition to her personal work, Heidi contributes her time to several committees on campus. She stresses the importance of being an active participant in guiding the direction of the College and giving voice to those who may not be comfortable speaking out individually.

Thank you, Heidi, for continuing to share your time, your teaching, and your talents with our campus and the community.