Faculty of the Issue: Mr. Robert Muntz


Michael Shaak

MuntzKnown by all for his exceptional Sculpture classes, Mr. Robert Muntz is one of the most creative and lively members of the Malvern Prep Staff. We managed to sit down and get an interview with the one and only.
Do you teach anything besides Sculpture?
Well, I used to teach Studio Art last year, like drawing and painting. I went and got my bachelor’s degree in art at Muhlenberg College, and that was my focus, painting and acrylics. Just with the draw of sculpture class this past year, I wasn’t able to teach Studio Arts, so now I have all Sculpture sections and Advanced Sculpture, and it’s been a fun transition I would say.
Do you like Sculpture better than Studio Arts?
Sometimes I do. I’ve been at Malvern now for 15 years and I always thought I’d be doing that (Studio Arts) forever, but sometimes it’s nice to have a new perspective. Thinking 3D constantly and not having to go back and forth between the two has been great this year.
I do love painting, and painting will always be in my heart, but you can paint in Sculpture and always have that 2D aspect. Like how it will look in a photo or look on a computer screen, that’s always in the back of my head, even though I’m working in the third dimension.
Another reason I like Sculpture is because you’ll have that real world experience, like building a set. Even though not everybody builds the same aspect of the set, they get to witness how it’s done. You get to learn how to build a structure, how to use a drill, how to use screws, how to make sure something is stable enough – what we call “Muntz Proof,” because if it will hold me, it will probably hold one of the kids here. It’s really cool because some people have never seen a woodshop, have never used a real tool. Building the set for “Grease” this year was something everyone gets behind and is proud of.
So real world stuff?
Yeah, like maybe it’s not a piece of art you love and put your heart into it, but you’re still learning the process of how to work with basic wood tools.
Have you always loved art since you were young?
Actually, I had no idea i was going to do it until I got my undergrad at Muhlenberg College. My mom, I have to give her credit, constantly had me doing crafts as a kid, art projects, and we were always making a theatre up in the attic with my sisters or using a video camera. These were VHS video cameras by the way, and were always setting up a play or something like that.
I never thought that I would use any of those skills, but as soon as I got to college – I think I went as an Accounting Major – I did a full 180 and became an Art Major.
So I guess I have to owe that to my mom. She was very hands-on and creative, and when I didn’t always have that creative stimulus, I would come home and see someone working on something and just get inspired. I didn’t really have exposure to that [as an Accounting Major], so as soon as I took my first drawing class, I was hooked again. That’s how I knew I would stay with the arts.
What’s your favorite part about teaching here?
There’s lots of favorite parts, Malvern is a wonderful place to work.
I would say like the family aspect of all the faculty, especially in the Arts Department. It’s just all a nice, loving family atmosphere. We all want to put our creative side out there, and at the end of the day we all have each other’s backs and it’s just a great place to be.
The family aspect of the students is great, as well. I try to create an open atmosphere in the classroom and the students respond to it. If you want to do something, you can come to me and work together. And with that open environment, I really enjoy learning with my students, right alongside them. That’s what really makes it for me. The come up with the idea on a project, and I’ve never seen it done before, and that’s amazing to me. It happens almost every class, and I’m like “I never would have thought of that.”
It’s really cool. It’s that open environment that still makes it really exciting after 15 years.