Since 1979, Joan Marie Harrison has worked extensively with children in the arts, focusing attention on honoring and challenging the best within each student. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she earned a B.A. in History from UCLA, studied at Otis/Parsons, received a B.F.A. in Studio Art from California Institute of the Arts, and her M.F.A. from Cal State L.A. Harrison is primarily an installation artist whose work reflects her concerns about ecological issues. Recent works have addressed biodiversity and bird migration. Harrison’s expertise covers many disciplines, including two- and three-dimensional art, conceptual art and theatre performance.
She worked as the Education Coordinator for the Los Angeles Children’s Museum for eight years, and has conducted workshops and artist-in-residence programs at the Bowers Museum and the Performing Tree. For 19 years, she designed and coordinated the visual arts pre-concert art projects for the LA Phil’s Toyota Symphonies for Youth, and for many years, she designed and implemented visual art workshops for Open House at the Hollywood Bowl. She also provided several art workshops during each of the 10 years of the World City events at Disney Hall. Harrison has been with The Music Center since 1992, where she is a master teaching artist in visual arts.
Harrison’s workshops range from examinations of authentic artifacts from various cultures and traditions, such as textiles, masks, or animal sculptures, to STEAM arts integration programs at elementary and middle schools. An artist who has spent many years developing a wide array of age-appropriate workshops for students, Harrison offers lessons in drawing, painting, mask making, textiles, paper murals, clay structures, and environmental installations. An experienced educator as well as an exhibiting artist, Harrison can easily focus workshops to augment regular classroom curriculum.