AHS Art Teacher
I was at our high school graduation and one of my art students pulled me aside and said, “you helped me get through this, thank you!” If one kid every year gets through and does something with their life, it feels like an accomplishment and that’s what gives back to me. That’s the only reason I keep doing it, because almost everything else about it is grueling!
I don’t know what it’s like to not be an artist. Growing up in Klamath Falls I remember being so wild and having so much energy. One day when I was about two, I was drawing on the walls and my Mom was immediately right there saying no, no, no! I was lucky, because she did a lot of crafts and she got me paper, brushes, and paints and supported me with my creativity. I was really fortunate because I had her support, and the support of others like my uncle, who gave me inspiration and allowed me to continue to grow as an artist. I never stopped.
It feels so good to be in a classroom with kids making art. I still get tingles from it. In my classroom I have a gratitude wall. All my letters from students go up on the wall. Most of them are expressions of gratitude. ‘Thank you for helping me get through this.’ I look at this wall and I think back to my experience. Nobody made me an artist, it was all me doing the work, but having just the right people in the right places, kind of helping you along, pushing you forward, giving you good, positive feedback about your work, about you. That’s what I do. That’s what helps things grow.