Third Annual Artist Teacher Exhibition Puts an Artistic Spotlight on FCPS Teachers
FCPS artist-teachers make an impact on students and the local art world
The artwork of 57 Fairfax County Public Schools teachers is on display at the Annandale Campus of Northern Virginia Community College as part of the third annual Artist Teacher Exhibition. The works were selected from more than 200 submissions by juror Renee Sandell, a professor in George Mason University's School of Art.
"This is the third time that we have organized this annual event to recognize the hard work and talents of Fairfax County art teachers," said FCPS Art Resource Teacher Aaron Stratten, who organized the exhibition. "For many years, one of our goals in Fairfax County Public Schools has been to seek out and hire candidates who are not only great art teachers, but also great artists. Three years ago we decided, in the Fine Arts Office, that we show how much we value these teachers by offering them an opportunity for exhibition."
A reception was held for all of the featured artists on Tuesday, Nov. 16 in the Richard J. Ernst Community Cultural Center at NOVA-Annandale. The two-story venue features a total of 80 artworks ranging from paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, mixed-media pieces and more.
The well-attended event gave artists the chance to mix and mingle and to discuss their work with students, colleagues, friends and art lovers. Stratten noted that the event is very special to the teachers. "They're all very passionate artists," he said.
Each artist-teacher had a different story to tell with his or her piece. Some were inspired to create by people or events in their life while others drew inspiration from their favorite literary works. Although their approaches to their work differ, all 57 teachers have one thing in common: a dedication to the arts.
"My piece is made with glass and it's very small and it's a butterfly that is flying in an abstract form," said Sally Gilliam of Mount Vernon High of her work. "It's a butterfly that's happy and free."
"Well, this piece is sort of a nod to my favorite novel 1984," said Kim Jenkins of Marshall High about his artwork. "I really like the book, the movie and the adaptation. I wanted to sort of produce my own take on it." Jenkins also said that he shared his creative process with his students to get them to think outside of the box.
Phyllis Coleman-Lacy of Lake Braddock Secondary said her late husband inspired her. "This is a piece that I did when my late husband found out how ill he was," said Coleman-Lacy. "I did an interpretation of him as a beautiful bird being destroyed. He died in 1996, but he had a really beautiful spirit and it was just my interpretation."
Kate Sharunenko of Freedom Hill Elementary shared a similar story. She became a runner after her father passed away a few years ago and used running material to create her piece. "I [joined] a running group that went through Arlington Cemetery and this is a picture of the running path I went on," Sharunenko said. "It shows the path opening up through the cemetery. I was actually training for the Marine Corps Marathon, which unfortunately I missed because I was sick so hopefully I will get to do it next year. But the Marathon actually goes on this running path. So that kind of pulled everything together."
All artwork from the teachers will be on display at NOVA-Annandale until Saturday, Nov. 20. The exhibit is free and open to public for viewing.