About Rebecca Potts Aguirre:
We chat with Ossa podcaster Rebecca Potts Aguirre, Host of the “Teaching Artist Podcast”. A weekly podcast highlighting artists who teach at the community level.
Rebecca Potts Aguirre is a teaching artist originally from Montana who has spent years living in NYC, St. Louis, and Prague and now resides in Los Angeles.
She uses polymer clay and play dough to sculpt paintings which reflect on ideas of gender, motherhood, environmentalism, and trauma. She is represented by Stay Home Gallery, is a member of Spilt Milk Gallery, and is listed in the curated directory All She Makes.
Listen to Episode #32 featuring Rebecca Potts Aguirre, Host of the Teaching Artist Podcast:
Episode #32 Highlights:
0:00-3:17 ~ Introductions and Start in Podcasting
3:18-7:24 ~ Podcast Structure and Repurposing Content
7:25-9:43 ~ Guest Interview Advice
9:44-12:16 ~ Teaching Art in the Pandemic and Art Podcast Recommendations
12:17-14:53 ~ Importance of a Podcast Community and Goodbyes
Links from this episode:
Episode #32 Full Transcript:
Meredith Reed 0:07
So thank you so much for joining us today. Again, this is Rebecca Potts Aguirre from Teaching Artists Podcast. And she’s one of our awesome podcasters. And we’re just going to be interviewing her today about her podcast and what inspired her to become a podcaster. So please put your questions in the chat if you have any things you’d like to ask her. Okay, I would love to start by just having you introduce yourself and telling us a little bit about your work and what inspired you to start your podcast.
Rebecca Potts Aguirre 0:44
Yeah, so glad to be here. Thank you, Meredith. And Ossa for having me. I guess the biggest inspiration was just listening to a lot of podcasts. I had been an artist, had been a teacher for many years and kind of took a break when I became a mother. I, we had moved abroad, and I got pregnant pretty much right after moving out of the country, and then had a really difficult time with it. And kind of, you know, was forced to stop teaching, like I couldn’t be taking the trains and moving around too much. And then just couldn’t handle doing really anything else. But I was listening to a lot of podcasts. So I was listening to all these art podcasts, and then all these like art teaching podcasts, and kind of saw a gap there in the middle. Wanting to hear more about doing both things like being a serious artists, but also really caring about teaching kids. So that’s where I kind of jumped in and just had this crazy idea, “like, I’m going to start a podcast,” without knowing really at all what that meant or what that entailed. And I really dove into it without exactly knowing how I was going to make it happen. So here I am.
Meredith Reed 2:04
Well, good for you. Did you know anyone at the time who was in podcasting?
Rebecca Potts Aguirre 2:09
I did not. But I do have to say my husband studied audio engineering, and is a musician. His work is in video. So that’s not like, music isn’t his paying thing. But it meant that he had a lot of gear. And he also had a lot of knowledge. So I got like a good mic from him. And he showed me really basic audio editing. So that was, you know, kind of a jumping off point for me.
Meredith Reed 2:36
That does sound incredibly helpful. What year did you start your podcast?
Rebecca Potts Aguirre 2:40
I started in 2020. So I started the idea in 2019. And I think it was December 2019. Or maybe November, I put it out on the Instagram, like put it out in public, like I’m starting this podcast. And did that kind of as a push for myself, like you said, you’re going to do it. You’ve told people you’re going to do it, you better do it. And then I started actually January of 2020. So just before our world really shifted. Yeah.
Meredith Reed 3:15
Yeah, there was a lot going on. So I’m wondering if you could explain a little bit more about how you translate arts, which I believe you’re focused primarily on a visual medium, to audio? I would think that might be a little bit challenging.
Unknown Speaker 3:35
Unknown Speaker 3:35
I mean, I’ve kind of just copied the format of a lot of the other podcasts I listened to and I love, which are interview podcasts with artists. So I interview interview artists who are also teaching at the K through 12 level or sort of community programs. And part of that focus was, you know, wanting to bring art and education together, but also seeing a bit of a lack of respect for professional visual artists who are also not college professors. Or not just artists on their own, like not having a second job. So I wanted to highlight those of us who teach at the lower levels, but are also serious about our art. And yeah, the way I do that is through interviewing artists, and then each podcast episode I accompany with a blog that shows a lot of the images of the artwork and then Instagram has been huge. I make sure that each week that I’m interviewing someone, I also post their artwork and kind of share their artwork that way. So there’s the visual plus the audio. And ideally, people are kind of checking out the blog or checking out Instagram maybe before or during or maybe after they
Meredith Reed 4:53
And we talk a lot about repurposing at Ossa because it is so important to not only record your episodes and publish them, but also to promote them on a variety of channels. So I’m wondering if you have some sort of formula for how you repurpose each episode. Or if you could go a little bit more into exactly how you take your content and translate it to a platform like Instagram.
Rebecca Potts Aguirre 5:20
Yeah, I feel like it’s a bit of a work in progress. For me, I’m kind of figuring things out as I go. One thing that’s helped me just manage time with doing all of this is right after I record, like I’ll have an interview, and then I try to carve out enough time that I give myself a little buffer of 5 or 10 minutes where I can just right then write, like 100-200 words about what we just talked about. And that becomes the bulk of the blog posts, like I don’t do a ton of writing. But then that also becomes the words I pull for Instagram captions. And I also, I don’t really focus on any other social media, I just post on Instagram, and then kind of like auto post to Facebook from there, which I feel like I could do a lot better at this actually, like, I need to be on Twitter, doing Pinterest stuff doing Facebook, but I honestly just haven’t had the capacity to do it all, I’m kind of working my way up to being able to hire other people to help with this. And that’s the goal eventually to like, keep it going and have some help to make it keep going.
Meredith Reed 6:34
Well, that is one of the challenges I think a lot of podcasters run into is you are a lot of times a one man or one woman operation. And there’s only so much you can do well. So even though it’s great to be on a variety of different channels, if you’re just looking to stay consistent and be a podcaster that’s just doing everything yourself. A lot of times it is better to just choose one or two platforms and stick with that and make sure that you can build a community there and then expand.
Yeah, I felt that really strongly. Like I feel like Instagram has been a great place. That’s where you know, visual artists kind of hang out. Like it’s all about the visuals. So that’s worked well, for me so far.
Yeah, that makes a lot of things that that platform would be a good, a good fit for you. So I’m wondering if you could share a little bit about your guest interviews? Do you write your questions ahead of time? Are there certain questions that you ask every guest? How do you go about doing that?
Rebecca Potts Aguirre 7:37
Yes. So I have a Google Doc, where I have all of my questions. And I’ve changed them a little bit over time. But for the most part, it’s kind of the same list of questions. But I use it really as like a guide. And I tell people, I send it ahead of time. And I tell them, you know, this is a guide for a conversation. So a lot of times, just as we’re talking new questions pop into my head, and I throw them out there. Or like, I’ll skip some things that I see like, this isn’t really relevant for this person, or I’m more interested in one thing, and I want to spend more time on that. But I have a couple of questions at the end that I try to ask everybody that are really, like I think of them as get to know you things that aren’t super specific to art or teaching. So one that I really like is super broad. What are you curious about? And that, you know, could be anything like some people talk about what they’re thinking about for artwork, but some people is just like, “hmm, in general in the world, like what’s making me curious right now.” And I love just hearing those answers and getting a little peek into what’s happening in someone’s brain.
Meredith Reed 8:50
I love that question. And I think it’s, it’s a really clever question. So I want to throw that back at you. What are you curious about?
Rebecca Potts Aguirre 8:59
Ooh, so many things. I guess in my work, I’ve been doing a lot of work related to water, you can kind of see behind me.
Meredith Reed 9:08
Rebecca Potts Aguirre 9:09
So thinking, just thinking about what that means and why I’m so drawn to it. And then, in terms of podcasting, and the work I’m doing here, really just trying to think about streamlining. So I’ve been kind of simultaneously thinking a lot about these deep questions with my art but then also like really practical things like how can I, you know, how can I afford to hire help? How can I streamline my processes, with this, with teaching, with my art making, like all of those things?
Meredith Reed 9:43
So are you currently teaching on top of being a podcaster? Yes. So my, the pandemic did cut down my hours a lot. So I’m a teaching artist working for a nonprofit that sends artists into schools and since last March, so now over a year, I’ve been teaching from home remotely. And it shifted in last June, it shifted in the summer to just making like pre recorded videos, which has meant my time has been really flexible. Like, I don’t, I have a few zoom classes, but it’s not, like a lot of teachers are kind of on zoom all day. That’s not my situation. So I have a lot more flexibility with my time with teaching. But that is just one of the things on my plate right now.
Well, it’s great that you’re able to continue some of the teaching, it probably is a good thing, I would think, that you don’t have to be on zoom all day long. I think a lot of us have gotten really tired of zoom during the pandemic.
Rebecca Potts Aguirre 10:50
Meredith Reed 10:51
I’m wondering if you could share some of the, either teaching or art podcasts, that you really enjoy, that inspired you to start your own.
Rebecca Potts Aguirre 11:00
Yeah, one that I love that I will shout out all day long is the Artist/Mother Podcast, which I think is also part of the Ossa Collective, Kaylan Buteyn has created just an amazing podcast and she’s built it into a community as well. That’s really supported me a lot as an Artist/Mother. Another few that I love are “I Like Your Work”, which is an art podcast by Erika Hess. The Jealous Curator, I think her podcast is called “Art For Your Ear.” But Danielle Krysa, who is The Jealous Curator, has an awesome podcast. And then within art education, there’s “Everyday Art Room”. One that I really like that maybe people haven’t heard of as much is called “Blocks Paper Scissors”, which is about teaching for artistic behavior, a choice based way of teaching. Yeah, those are just some of my favorites.
Meredith Reed 11:58
Thank you so much. I’m always looking for new podcasts. And I definitely appreciate you sharing some of the lesser known podcasts because, you know, they, they need to get love too. And a lot of times it’s hard to get on those top charts. And you always need new ways to discover shows.
Rebecca Potts Aguirre 12:15
Meredith Reed 12:17
I was wondering if you could just answer this question about community. So I’m, I’m curious how you discovered Ossa. And also, what you found the benefits of having a podcasting community to be?
Rebecca Potts Aguirre 12:34
Yeah, I think it was actually Kaylan from the Artist/Mother Podcast who pointed me towards Ossa, so thank you Kaylan for everything, but especially for this. And I feel like with everything, it’s just helpful to have other people who’ve been there, who’ve done it, who can kind of give you pointers, and kind of lift you up, cheer you on as you move forward in something like this. Especially something where, you know I, there’s nothing about this that I went to school for. There’s nothing, like there’s, I haven’t learned how to do this anywhere. It’s just kind of making it up as I go. So having other people who are further along who can say, “hey, this is what worked for me,” is super helpful. And then having a team there that’s like, has a lot more knowledge and I can kind of reach out to, that’s also super, super helpful.
Meredith Reed 13:32
Well, thank you for sharing that. we love talking about the power of community it’s definitely can be a lonely journey as a podcaster. So it helps to have people you can turn to for information, support all that good stuff.
Rebecca Potts Aguirre 13:48
Meredith Reed 13:49
So before we go, could you just let everyone know where they can find you, your website and your podcast?
Rebecca Potts Aguirre 13:56
Yeah, so the podcast is pretty simple. It’s called Teaching Artist Podcast and then that’s also our Instagram name @teachingartistpodcast and the website, guess it, teachingartistpodcast.com. And then my personal Instagram if you ever want to reach out or see the art there is @pottsart, so my maiden last name, P O T T S, art, on Instagram.
Meredith Reed 14:24
Thank you. This is Rebecca Potts Aguirre from Teaching Artist Podcast. So definitely be sure to check her out. Thank you so much for being here, Rebecca.
Rebecca Potts Aguirre 14:36
Thank you so much, Meredith. This was great.
Meredith Reed 14:38
Have a good day. Thank you, everyone.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai