After 13 amazing years in Howard County Public Schools, I took a leave of absence to pursue my Masters in Fine Arts at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. It was a bittersweet day. My career had been good to me, and I always thought when I retired I would go back to school, but the time came sooner than I had planned for. Although sad to leave my community, I was more than excited to travel, make art, and to make my place in the art world. An adventure has begun!
My work was chosen to be featured in the Teacher as Artist Exhibition at Pyramid Atlantic Print Facility in Maryland. It was exciting that Transitions and Transformations was chosen for the postcard and publication material. It was a great show, and two out of my 3 pieces exhibited sold :)
As I worked intuitively on "Transitions and Transformations" I realized by the 3rd layer (which was supposed to be the last!) that things were not pulling together as well as I wanted. I decided to turn to the chine colle technique to see if adding shaped paper into my print would do the trick! It did... ;) See my steps below!
Inspired by HOT TEA's street art, I decided to have BMMS students create a piece to fill the gap in our hallway space upstairs. They enjoyed throwing the yarn back and forth, and seeing the rest of the school's enthusiastic reaction to their piece. I am grateful for artists like HOT TEA who can show our youth safe, non-destructive ways to show their art in public spaces, and how that art makes a difference to those in the community.
In November of 2014, I challenged myself to lead 60 participants in our school's cafeteria in a Paint Night in order to bring our community together through art. I asked our local high school's National Art Honors Society students to help as volunteers, and together we led our community in coating a canvas with newspaper, and painting a table scene of Marylander's enjoying a summer crab feast! The newspapers made everyone's paintings so unique, and the younger students had a good time with dressing up their crabs too. :)
Burleigh Manor opened up in 1992, and I attended the middle school myself as a 7th grader! The murals started my 8th grade year, although I wasn't chosen to work on it- my skills were in athletics then. Two years later, the murals started to become paintings on wood panels hung in the 2nd story of the Media Center, wrapping around it giving the space so much color, life, and energy! The murals are anywhere from 8 x 8 feet to 7 x 11 feet with sometimes extra pieces and three-dimensional elements. Below are some of the murals that I had the privilege of leading anywhere from 20-40 8th graders in idea generation, execution, and completion.
My mural students had a CRAZY idea to make a plaster figure of Spiderman to accompany their mural that year. Their crazy teacher (Me) said sure! Over the course of 2 months, we used one of our students as the model, and in parts covered her in plaster gauze, reassembled the parts, painted and dressed Spiderman. He is looking into the back of a camera, checking out the image he just took- which is the mural on the wall. It was a really interesting perspective to take! I always wonder what else there is to do for these murals, and each year, we come up with something!
In March of 2012, the FACS teacher, the 8th grade team, and myself hosted Burleigh's 4th Empty Bowls night to benefit the Howard County Grassroots Organization. Over the last 4 years, we raised about $16,000, giving $12,000 to Grassroots. This event has been so successful because of the support of the community, the dedication of the teachers and staff, and the excitement of the Burleigh Manor students.