Block I Art Teachers

Illini father-daughter duo Howard and Carli Kanter share a passion for art

Father and daughter Howard and Carli Kanter Father and daughter Howard and Carli Kanter both studied visual arts at the College of Fine + Applied Arts and teach art to middle-schoolers. (Image courtesy of the Kanters)
Illini father-daughter duo Howard and Carli Kanter share a passion for art

Growing up, Carli Kanter, ’22 FAA, always had a sketchbook in her hand. “We brought them everywhere—to restaurants, on vacation,” she recalls. 

When your father, Howard Kanter, ’91 FAA, MA ’94, is an artist and your family regularly spends weekends gazing at student works-in-progress at the School of Art + Design, doodling at dinner is highly encouraged. For Carli, it also inspired her to pursue art and art education as a career, just like her dad.

The pair lives in Wilmette, Ill., with lawyer mom Sharon (Arnold) Kanter, ’91 LAS, JD ’94, and both father and daughter teach art at local middle schools. Carli teaches at Chippewa Middle School in Des Plaines, while Howard teaches at Algonquin Middle School.

And even though Carli’s mother spent 28 years as a Cook County state’s attorney, she also flexed her artistic muscles as an undergraduate when she helped design BLOCK I card grids for Illini football games. Three decades later, Carli teaches her seventh graders that same grid method.

Carli and Howard draw inspiration from music and infuse their art with humor. One of their favorite joint projects involves silkscreening vibrant posters for fantasy concerts they’d like to see, such as The Smiths with Oingo Boingo and Talking Heads. “Our philosophy,” Carli says, “is if nobody else is making it, we can…and we should.”

Carli’s brother, Jack, currently a University of Iowa sophomore, may not have gotten the family artist gene, but blue and orange are still two of his favorite colors. As Howard recounts, “He’s in the business school, and during study group introductions, he says, ‘I’m the only one here whose dad is disappointed I didn’t go to art school.’” 

photo illustration collaged self portraits of Howard and Carley Kanter

Howard and Carli Kanter self portraits (Imagery courtesy of the Kanters)