Higher Education | Technical Schools
Teaching as an Art Form
Alberto Meza is short on interview time. He jokes: "See, even a cow gets in the way of talking seriously about my being the 'Florida Professor of the Year.' "
Meza indeed is Florida's Professor of the Year, honored by the Carnegie Foundation for his dedication and creativity in teaching. The cow, it turns out, is an art project in Miami Lakes he was finishing in July before going to Italy as an artist-in-residence.
A native of Chile, where his father was a cabinet maker and his mother a toy maker, Meza studied to be a lawyer -- until he took a night class at the Santiago Museum of Fine Arts. There went law.
His prints have been exhibited from Indonesia to Belgium to Polk Community College. He has authored four volumes of poetry. His artist book, "Leonardo's Phobias," won the 1997 Florida Artists' Book Prize.
Meza, 62, joined Miami-Dade College in 1991. He teaches printmaking, drawing and art appreciation. His passion is working with students on projects combining visual and performing arts. For instance, in the college cafeteria, students built a replica of Van Gogh's "Room at Arles," duplicated his "Yellow Room" masterpiece and performed a drama of Van Gogh mutilating his ear. Meza students have painted murals at a Little Havana senior center and a police building.
Meza's thoughts for budding artists: "Stay in there for the long run. If you are still making art 10 years from now, you can call yourself a true artist. What is most important is that 'talent' in art means to be able to sustain a focused interest in it for quite some time."Professor, Fine Arts / Miami-Dade College
Education: Bachelor's, 1965, University of Chile; bachelor's, 1968, and master's, 1970, Syracuse University; master's in fine arts, 1984, Northern Illinois University.
Diversions: Listening to his two sons' punk-rock bands.
On the Road: Meza in the '80s toured Europe with a band for which he wrote lyrics.
Cherished Honor: Certificate of Printmaking Merit at the 2002 fifth Kochi International Triennial Exhibition of Prints, under the auspices of the Tosa-Washi International Committee, Tosa-Washi Museum of Paper, Kochi, Japan.