Meet The Simple Good Instructor Nathan Miller

We are excited to introduce you to our TSG Photography Instructor, Nathan Miller. Nathan teaches our teen photography program in partnership with After School Matters in Bronzeville out of Dunbar High School. Nathan is a Chicago Native and has a background in Fine art and Photography and he uses these skills to give back to Chicago. Nathan has been an amazing addition to TSG to help carry out our mission and vision of spreading hope and positivity to our teens on the South Side. Check out our interview with Nathan to learn more about how he connects to TSG:

Where are you from and what brought you to Chicago? I’m from South Chicago, grew up in West Pullman, and currently reside in the south suburbs.

What is your professional background? I’d say my professional background on paper is fine arts & photography, just because I have academic degrees in those areas. In retrospect, my pursuit of an art profession wasn’t for the mastery of a specific art medium or context, but the pursuit itself came with experiences which helped me understand that my vocation isn’t defined by what I can physically create, but it’s in the service of people. I admit it might sound strange to say my professional background is “people”, but that’s a more accurate adjective than say, “art”. Art is often my means to an end, but it’s never the end in itself.

How do you connect to the arts? I identify as an artist, so creating art objects is a part of what I do. But I see art, in part, as being a master teacher, and I connect to it in that way.

What has it meant to you to be an instructor of The Simple Good? Growth. I came to The Simple Good with an intent to give back to the community that helped define me, and to personally develop humility through that pursuit of giving back. I believe humility needs to be mutual in the classroom (and in life) in order for knowledge to take root. So my role as an instructor with TSG is to lead and instruct with humility, I’m there to teach and to be taught.

Why do you think art is important for youth in Chicago? For the South Side? For the same reasons it’s important for anyone else, anywhere else! In general, art is a learned mode of communication that serves many purposes within individuals and communities, and its specific purpose is decided by the individual wielding it. Communication, self-awareness, social-awareness, creative problem solving, and interpretive skills are some of the things developed as you develop artistic expression, and those needs are universally important for human development. This may be getting away from your question, but I guess I’d like to think of it less as, “Why do south side Chicago youth need the arts?” and more as, “Why do many south side Chicago youth lack what they need to develop?”

What impact have you seen being made by The Simple Good? The primary impact I’ve seen is growth in my students’ awareness and appreciation for the overlooked simple good aspects of their personal lives, their communities, and of the world. With time, I believe that their awareness and appreciation of the simple good fosters a sort of hope and willpower that might otherwise not have had a chance to take root.

What does ‘the simple good’ mean to you? Love, without which good works or mindsets are short lived.

You can find Nathan on Linkedin by clicking here

Interested in supporting The Simple Good? Help us make an impact by donating here.