Cynthia Cooper isn’t just a professional potter. She’s a lifetime educator.
Cynthia Cooper spent 24 years as an art teacher at Goshen High School. She retired in 2018, but continues to help people create and explore through workshops and speaking enagements.
“Educator” is something Cynthia considers as part of her core identity. Cynthia has worked with hundreds of students throughout her life — young children, high school students, senior citizens and everyone in between. Although she has technically been the “teacher,” Cynthia believes she learns more from each student than she could ever teach them.
Cynthia Cooper poses with former student Persis Wade at BFA show in Bloomington, Indiana.
Cindy Cooper saved my life.
I was 16, depressed, & questioning my life. I walked into her messy disorganized free spirited classroom where she welcomed me with open arms. It was my first day in class & she asked if I had ever played with clay before. I said yeah, I’ve made some pinch pots in my time but nothing serious. She responded with a oh good, i’ll put you in Ceramics 2, your going to learn how to throw today! (?????)
From that day on she put her faith in me. Constantly giving me positive reinforcement & affirmations, she became my mentor who saw something in me I never knew existed. She planted the seeds and knew how to cultivate them. She brought me out of despondency to a place of hope where I found freedom to express myself openly.
When I graduated highschool I had clear blurry plans of living in my van & traveling the country, getting as far away from academia as possible. It was when I saw her working at the potter’s wheel at a summer farmer’s market when she told me very aggressively that I needed to pursue clay because it is my passion. She said I should really consider going to college. For some reason she was the only one I listened to. So I did what she said & went.
Here we are 4 years later standing in my BFA ceramics show. We did it. I am so thankful for this wonderful teacher who believed in me from the very beginning. I wouldn’t have done it without you Mrs. Cooper.
I love you.