— by Gabi Stevenson, Communications Manager
Lauren Stichter teaching in a Graduate Art Education classroom.

Lauren Stichter has been with Moore College of Art & Design since 2009, when she began as an adjunct professor. As a practicing ceramicist and former art teacher at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, Stichter weaves inclusivity and passion for the arts into her curriculum. She took over as the Arts Education graduate program director in 2015 and has served as director of the Art Education department since 2022. This month, she received the 2024 Art Educator of the Year Award from the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division of Visual and Performing Arts Education.

Read on to learn more about Lauren!


What’s your earliest memory of being creative or knowing that you wanted to do something creative with your life?

For a long time, I thought I wasn’t an artist because I couldn’t draw very well. I enjoyed art classes throughout school but could see plenty of other highly skilled artists around me.

In high school, we had a kiln and a mini ceramics program. I said to myself, “Oh, this can make me an artist, too.” I struggled a lot academically when I was growing up, so the art room was a place where I felt safe. I could try new things and feel like I could be successful at something in the arts.

It was scary at first, but I had at least one good art teacher who told me I was an artist and just preferred a different medium. I’m more of a crafter who leans toward handmade and functional work.

Ceramic work by Lauren Stichter. Photo by Joseph Hu.

Who is the artist or designer who has influenced you the most and why?

I’m really drawn to the Arts and Crafts movement. It’s very functional and a little bit nature-driven. I’m really interested in the idea of the vessel—I have the luxury of teaching an altered vessel class in the Fine Arts department this year, which is bringing me so much joy.

There are two artists, Ibrahim Said and Djakou Kassi Nathalie, who I love. I know how hard it is to create a vessel and then to pull away as much clay as possible to make them really beautiful and fragile. I think they each connect with their heritage in their designs. When you look at their work, you can clearly understand a part of their identity, which is really appealing to me. It’s their skill set matched with their community and culture.

I’m Irish, so they inspired me to lean a bit more in the Irish direction, and to learn more about my heritage.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done recently, professionally or otherwise?

In March, I received the Art Educator of the Year Award from the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division of Visual and Performing Arts Education, at their conference in San Antonio, TX. It’s a national award that I was nominated for.

I was someone who didn’t see myself going to college at all, so it feels wild to get an award like that. Jumping from being a K–12 art teacher to running a whole graduate program…there was some real imposter syndrome that came during those first few years. To be recognized by my peers as an expert in the field is a wonderful feeling. It really affirms the on-the-ground investment in the work I’ve done.

Julianna Dorff of Kent State University (left) and Lauren Stichter at the Council for Exceptional Children conference on March 14, 2024.

What is it like in your classroom at Moore?

I love working with students who are passionate about paying it forward. I think folks that come to our program really understand the value of the art education that they got growing up.

I really love that Moore celebrates our students as both artists and educators!

If Moore had a mascot, what would it be?

I feel like it has to be something made-up and quirky, like the Phanatic or Gritty. That would be very Philly!


Want to learn more about Art Education at Moore? Visit the Art Education page, schedule an appointment to talk to a Moore Admissions Counselor or contact Moore’s Admissions Office at or 215.965.4015.