Eighteen Central Coast art teachers have a show of their own in “No Grades, Just Talent,” at Art Central in San Luis Obispo.
Though they are temporarily leaving behind their classrooms to present their art to the public, their work as artists is indelibly linked to their work as teachers.
“Being both an art teacher and an artist is this continuous learning cycle,” said Amber Wickersham, who teaches at Templeton High School. “Even if I do not have the time to create my own work for a while, my skills are still being sharpened through teaching students and learning from their experimentation and ideas.”
“Alternatively,” she added, “when I am creating my own art I am learning new techniques and ideas to share with them. It is a symbiotic relationship that benefits both my students and myself.”
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Wickersham is showing two pieces of art in “No Grades, Just Talent”— an oil painting, “Objectification of Women,” and a blackand-white photograph, “Time Stands Still.”
Wickersham talked about art’s role in the development of the intellect.
“It has been proven time and time again that exposing students to the arts enhances their academic skills,” she said. “Art gives students hands-on experiences through a creative/positive outlet while making them well-rounded individual.”
Larry Le Brane is showing three pieces in the show — two paintings and a glass bowl. He teaches privately and at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.
“Art is an internal process where I’m just talking to myself basically, and teaching art is external communication where I’m in a dialog with my students,” he said. “It’s a combined left brain-right brain process.”
Le Brane said he wanted to do something a little different by creating a piece inspired by his wife’s artistic salad. What resulted is “The Art of Food,” a mixed-media work featuring colored pencil and watercolor and acrylic paints.
“I see all the visual elements in the food — the shape, color, lines and texture, so it becomes a good subject,” Le Brane said. “When I start working, I don’t have a perceived outcome in mind, so I had fun doing the plate of food.”
Julie Steyer, who teaches at Atascadero High School, is exhibiting two colored pencil pieces. One, “Interlude,” is a mandala. The other, “Peace Messenger,” depicts a dove.
“My work expresses the relationship between humans and nature, and how our growth process is mirrored in nature,” Steyer said. “Having art in the schools is essential to having whole individuals and a healthy society.”
“I consider myself a teaching artist,” she added. “I love both professions.”