October Blog: Why Teach Arts Ed? – Francesco Gambino



My name is Francesco Gambino and I am a creative professional turned High School Art Teacher. I studied Digital Media and Fine Art at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. While at Drexel, I developed an interest in telling stories through art. I experimented with as many types of media as I could. 

Professionally, I have worked in the industry since 2009. My work spans thousands of projects for over 300 clients. During that time, I developed creative brands, promotional materials, illustrations, and commercials. I even have a few feature-length documentary credits to my name. My work has been featured on Netflix, Amazon, Forbes, Fox, and VH1.

Since a very young age, I have always had an eagerness to learn new things. Whether it’s special effects or learning how to make a pizza, I strive to challenge myself and aim to be innovative. This has allowed me to wear many hats over the years. I have worked as a Graphic Designer, photographer, videographer, illustrator, web designer, developer, prop builder, audio recorder, camera operator, producer, director, editor, animator, painter, and creative for hire. 

But now, I am a high school art teacher. That journey began when I started to coach Brazilian Jiujitsu at Beacon Mixed Martial Arts and Fitness.

Helping students learn to build self-confidence and a sense of self-worth is extremely fulfilling.

Each student has their own goals whether it is for fitness, self-defense, or competition. Seeing them achieve success through their hard work and dedication is beyond rewarding. Coaching offered me a sense of community that I never knew was missing. I realized after becoming a coach that I wanted to take these experiences to the art classroom. 

Art is for everyone. Each student can be creative, and communicate their message. I like to have a workshop-style classroom where I complete projects alongside my students.

This allows my students to see that we are on the same journey and that I am a student of the arts as well. It is incredibly important for the students to see that I make mistakes in my work.Additionally, the students often critique my work, which allows me to model discussions about process, shape, form, texture, etc.

It is a truly beautiful thing to see your students grow and develop their creative styles. Much like with Jiujitsu, each student can learn through practice, effort, failure, and success. With each lesson, they build a portfolio of demonstrated skills and abilities.

Art enables students to be innovative and sharpen their problem-solving skills. Art Education truly makes us better people, and I am so honored to help pass this on to new generations of students in the years ahead.  

Francesco Gambino 

Art Teacher

Cherry Hill High School West 

Welcome to the Classroom! 

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