Why I Teach

By Sergio Rebia, Ryman Arts Faculty Member

In May, we published Foundersland: Inspiration from “Artists who can Teach” written by Marty Sklar on the importance of mentorship and teaching. Following this post, we have asked our faculty members why they teach, what they are inspired by, and what they hope their students will learn from the Ryman Arts program.

In all sincerity, I can't imagine a better place to teach. Ryman Arts enables me to instruct and inspire young artist who are so passionate and excited about learning and growing artistically. Ryman Arts is the place where young artists go to seek out opportunities where they would not otherwise be able to achieve under their circumstances. It is very fulfilling for me to realize how much of an impact this program makes on these young artists’ lives and the ramifications of the experiences that they live are life-long. 

I honestly believe that anyone can deliver information, skill and technique to students but as solid as all this may be it does not guarantee that the student is grasping and digesting all this information properly and effectively. I have always believed that successful transmission of knowledge is directly related to the mode of the receiver. More often than not, I have found that my students have had great success in my class because of the simple fact that they are comfortable in my class. The way I develop my students trust is with the genuine care that I have for them to succeed and young people now a days are very sharp and can really sniff out a fake.

As a young art student, I recall gathering my inspiration from the past, from art historical references. However, today as a college professor, I find myself gathering my inspiration from my students who are the future. The things that they say, the cultural trends, themselves as people. I feel that I become an ever better instructor as a result of being influenced by these young artists and it is the most vitalizing experience to be constantly refreshed and inspired by these young artists’ new ideas.


Sergio Rebia is an artist and professor of visual art born and raised in California. He obtained his BFA in 2004 and his MFA in 2008 from Laguna College of Art and Design. Sergio has taught in colleges and universities all over Southern California including Cal State University Long Beach, Mt. San Antonio College, Saddleback College, LCAD, and Rio Hondo College, where he currently teaches. He now dedicates his time to teaching, raising a family, and developing a body of work in his studio in Santa Ana. There is only one thing that Sergio enjoys more than painting in his studio and that is teaching and being part of the passing on of a legacy that has existed since the very first works of art created on the walls of the Caves in Lascaux.