Claudia Berlinski: A Good Foundation

A Piece by Claudia Berlinski in the Uncharted Biennial Faculty Exhibition.
A Piece by Claudia Berlinski in the Uncharted Biennial Faculty Exhibition.
A Piece by Claudia Berlinski in the Uncharted Biennial Faculty Exhibition.

Claudia Berlinski, an assistant professor of the Youngstown State University Department of Art and the Student Art Association adviser, takes a hands-off approach to teaching her students the fundamentals — not only in the classroom, but also outside of it.

Berlinski, originally from Buffalo, New York, is a foundations professor, teaching two levels with drawing and 2-D designing. After coming to Ohio State University for her master’s degree, she met her husband and ended up staying in Ohio.

“It is real basic: learning design, learning how to draw, learning color theory — that kind of stuff,” she said.

It is Berlinski’s second year as a full-time professor in the Department of Art, coming from twelve years previously as adjunct faculty.

Berlinski said she has a similar mentality as her students, perhaps because she’s had kids and knows where they are coming from.

“I’m their mom without being their mom,” she said.

Dana Mooney, the president of the Student Art Association, said the group is enjoying Berlinski being their new adviser.

“I’m so happy we have her, she’s such a nice adviser,” Mooney said. “She’s so much more involved.”

Berlinski takes a different kind of approach in leading the Student Art Association into success — she lets them decide what they want to do and how they want to get involved with the community.

“They kind of run themselves,” Berlinski said. “I’m pretty much there to just advise them and give them suggestions. Other faculty members contribute different things [too].”

Berlinski said her greatest accomplishment is the balance she has between being an artist, teaching and being able to show her work — she feels lucky to have time to do her research by working in the studio.

When she was a kid, Berlinski said she always wanted to be a teacher, moving on to vocational school and studying horticulture.

“I got all angsty my senior year of high school and decided to go to school to be a social worker and make a big impact on society,” Berlinski said. “That lasted one semester. Then I went on a trip to New York and was exposed to all different kinds of performing arts and visual arts.”

It was then that she decided she wanted to major in art.

Loving the college atmosphere, Berlinski continued onto graduate school, leading to her teaching career at YSU.

“Teaching becomes an extension [of the college atmosphere],” Berlinski said. “You learn so much from your students. You think you are an expert in your field, but — you know — there are a lot of things you learn from your students, just young minds.”