As an artist who makes a living from his art, it really warms my heart to see just how much a role our local High School art teacher, Lisa, plays in the lives of her young students. My daughter, being one of them. Let me explain.
Tonight, after a long day of running Nikki to the airport an hour and a half away. Not to mention, we left the house at 1:30am. Pretty much stopped long enough to dump her off. Tuck and Roll, we refer to it as. Headed back home, just in time to get the kids off to school, get a shower and get to my scheduled business appointment at 10am. Which was in Carlisle, a half hour from my house. Ate lunch, drove home by 2pm at which now I could lay down on the couch. (Kids blaring the TV and dog nudging and licking me) Back up by 5pm, with the voice of my daughter, “Dad, wake up! We have to go to that thing tonight.” “What thing?” I asked still half asleep with dog spit on my left hand. “That thing Mrs. Harman is having.” So, back up I got, brushed my pearly whites (teeth) and back out the door we went. Now you are all caught up.
Ok, now we arrive at the Adams County Arts Council, where they are having their First Friday Events. These are my people you know. I have my studio there. Well, I had a studio. Gave up the Studio. And now I am back to the Studio. I just need my own space, that’s another story. Anyways, the first thing in the door, I’m already hunting down Bert. Bert is my studio neighbor and life advisor.
It’s not hard to find him, he’s the one with the camera taking everyone’s picture. He grabs both Zachary and Tori and gets their picture. He’s about the only person I ever met that could convince these two to get close enough to one another to even get a picture.
Chris, the lady who runs the Adams County Arts Council, (we will just refer to it as ACAC, for simplicity) grabs me for a brief conversation. At this time, Tori’s friends are making their presents known and with Bert taking their pictures too, I know it’s safe to leave them unattended. When returning, I see that Tori’s art teacher, Lisa is there talking with everyone. She takes Tori over to her art that is being displayed and gets her picture. Now, for bragging sake, this was not the only piece Tori has ever had displayed at the ACAC. Anyway, I, who am a self proclaimed student of life and part time people watcher, notice that she does this with each student. Then she uploads them onto the School’s Facebook Page. I realized that for Lisa, being an art teacher doesn’t stop when the last school bell rings. She has been a part of Tori’s life since 9th grade, I would suppose. Tori has helped her several times at her Gallery, The Blue Brick Gallery CLICK HERE for link to their website and CLICK HERE for their Facebook Page. And several First Fridays at the Gallery, doing pottery. It’s honestly, very enlightening to know that a teacher is more than a teacher to a child. And not just one child, but many. It made me realize how much of a part my High School Art Teacher, Miss Gunnett, played in my life. Even though I didn’t take art until my senior year and only did so to earn an easy credit. But just for the record, I knew I could draw way before then. But that’s another story too.
I would have to say, that it’s not odd to me at all to see that the teacher my daughter will always remember, like me, was her art teacher.
Tori is graduating High School in a few weeks and then in October she is leaving for Art School. I know from experience, that in my past, Art School was not a so called Good Choice. Because artists don’t make a lot of money. Everyone wants to be an artist, but only few ever make it. Art is a hobby, not a profession. Or so this was reaction I had upon announcing my decision to go to art school. But with her, she decide to go and then one day (half way through her senior year) she changed her mind. Now, this was the child who would literally sit in the dark and try to draw. All the time. Every night, she was drawing something. And now, her mind had been changed about not going. I asked her why. Of course she stumbled around excuses. So, I finally just said it. “Who persuaded you to give up art school?” “Let me guess” I said. “Art is not a good career choice. Which one of your friends told you this.” I knew it couldn’t have been a teacher. They all knew that Tori’s dad is an artist and that would seriously be the wrong thing to say to a daughter of a professional artist. I say professional, because I do it every day no matter how I feel. She finally fessed up and told me. My response, “Artists can make a good living. You see it every day.” I explained to her, that I did not have the support she has. I did not have the resources she has. I had already paid my debt and earned my stripes so to speak. And I was always willing to show her. Tori has literally been a professional artist since 14 years old. She doesn’t realize it. She has designed logos. She has sold art for online scrapbooking. She hasn’t made a fortune, but she got paid for her art at a younger age than me. Just a side story. I think it’s funny when people I know ask me, “Do you think she will ever be as good as you?” My response, and I’m sincere when I say it, “Yes, she will be better than me.” The puzzled looks I get are priceless. But it’s true. She has a passion and unlike me she has the resources. I didn’t have the internet. I didn’t have the support she has with family and other artists. I only knew a few artists when I was her age. Through me, she has met hundreds of artists that are friends of mine, from all over the world.
But the fire is always started with the spark. The spark is the art teacher. She may have gotten her talent from me, but that passion came from the role her art teacher has played for years.