Ms. Valerie Xanos » Valerie Xanos Bio

Valerie Xanos Bio

Valerie Xanos, Valerie Xanos became an art teacher in the public school system to be an agent of change for young artists. Valerie grew up and still lives where she teaches, sharing a connection to her students through community on the southwest side of Chicago. A 24-year veteran of CPS, her BFA and teaching certificate were earned at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago and The Glasgow School of Art. Valerie got her start as a 12 year old, taking classes in Continuing Studies at SAIC and later taught in the Young Artist’s Studios Program. As an artist, she works in the media of paint, collage, and photography. Currently her artistic exploration is taking her in the direction of projection installations, video and sound. She is working on a video series using light and darkness as a creative media. Check out her artist website and Instagram: @Nightbird888.

Her work as a practicing artist informs her practice as a teacher, just as the work her students do informs her artwork. Interested in the Guerrilla Art movement, she uses this to influence an interdisciplinary and contemporary curriculum. It is a wonderful genre to affect social change through art in the community. She teaches the Guerrilla Art Collective class at Curie (ARTivism) ; you can see their art on our instagram @GAC.CurieHS. Topics in World Art is an introductory course leading to ARTivism. Her teaching philosophy revolves around student voice. The course functions as an artist’s collective where students help develop the curriculum. They learn the artistic process, skills and technique, and how to have agency in all that they create. Valerie also has taught International Baccalaureate Art, AP Art, Drawing/Painting I, and Art Appreciation.

Valerie has been part of the MCA’s School Partner Program from 2015 to present. The GAC has collaborated with distinguished artists like Lee Blalock, Mikel Patrick Avery, and Andres Hernandez. They have shown art work at the 21Minus Festival at the MCA for three years. The GAC was chosen for the pilot MCA partner program. S.P.A.C.E. which is designed to connect an art class and a civics class with an embedded artist working at the Curie H.S. in a daily studio setting. They focus on contemporary, socially engaged artwork and collaborate on a year-long curriculum culminating in a large project re-activating abandoned spaces.

She is also a mother of four amazing, creative, willful, active young adults. They are often an inspiration to Valerie as a teacher.