FRIDAY FACULTY FEATURE: Prema Viswanathan, Passing on her Skills

A look into Prema Viswanathan’s classes and inspiration.


photo by Ally Kelley

Prema Viswanathan works on examples to show her Drawing and Painting students. Viswanathan took over the previous teacher’s, Drew Walter, classes. “I try to study their techniques and then get inspired by them to create my own artwork,” Viswanathan said.

by Ally Kelley, Reporter

Students open the door to the 7000s, entering a small hallway to an art class. After semester two started, art students entered room 7300, not seeing their now-retired art teacher, Drew Walter, but a new one, Prema Viswanathan. Viswanathan has been teaching for 12 years at different grade levels, and had always wanted to be an art teacher. 

“I love art, and I think it should be taught to many people. That is how you pass on your skills to other people,” Viswanathan said.

Viswanathan now teaches sculpture, drawing and painting classes, passing her skills on to those students. In Drawing and Painting I, the students are currently working on a pencil rose. In Drawing and Painting II classes, students are working on pencil portraits, and in the Drawing and Painting IV classes, students are working on still-life pictures. In all of her sculpting classes, her students are working on nonobjective clay sculptures. 

“I think it’s important if someone can benefit from your skill,” Viswanathan said.

Being an artist, Viswanathan has preferences for the type of art she does herself. While the previous art teacher preferred realism pieces, Viswanathan likes to create traditional art pieces. 

“I like the very traditional style. I do a lot of intricate art inspired from traditional Indian artworks. I try to study their techniques and then get inspired by them to create my own artwork,” Viswanathan said.

With a new art teacher, students who have had art in the past are feeling positive. Lianna Spender ‘24 is a part of Drawing and Painting II.

“She’s nicer, less strict, and more flexible with the rules. She also offers more advice with the drawing rather than showing you once or twice and leaving you,” Spender said.