Cambrian: Opinion

Lady Tie Di: Art teacher unleashes student creativity

Fishing around online, in the paper, at social gatherings for something to write about, I came across a need (one of the many) at the middle and high schools: “Please save all plastic bottle caps, any shape and size, for a mosaic Suzette Morrow will be doing with her art students.” My goodness, I can hardly wait to see what amazing work of art will come of this request!

You see, Suzette is not only a teacher but a talented and ingenious artist herself. As a creative soul, parent, teacher and just darn nice person, she has brought the arts ahead leaps and bounds in our upper grades. I am happy our district has chosen to nurture this crucial subject in our schools. I’m happy that Suzette has been able to come on board and carry on from Stephanie Arehart’s (grammar school artist-in-residence) foundation.

I am also pleased to announce Mrs. Morrow is being recognized for her work with our students by the California Art Education Association. They have awarded her the Exemplary Program Award for 2012 and will be honored in November at the CAEA conference in Riverside. The CAEA is the largest Californiabased visual arts organization and includes grades K-12, community college, university professors, art specialists and others in the visual arts fields. To say this is quite the honor is no small statement.

Santa Lucia Middle School Principal John Calandro said, “Her expertise and commitment to her work and students underscores our district’s belief in the importance of art education. Not only are our students learning at a high level, but they are creating works of art to enhance our campuses and community.”

Indeed, stroll onto the middle school campus and take a look at the side of the gym. Once a rather dull, large, homely stucco wall, now the vision of an undersea world. Her high school students created many sculptures for the Cambria Historical Society’s Scarecrow Festival. Many of her students participate in art shows in the area.

Joining our district staff in 2010, Suzette is being honored for her “exemplary use of community resources, authentic assessment and sequential visual arts programs. She describes herself as an illustrator, painter, “techniques hunter,” photographer, sculpture and Youtuber (check out her sites at,,http://the,

Ever humble, Morrow said, “I am excited to share the award with all of the people that support the arts here in Cambria. I feel really blessed to have such an amazing community and administration that promotes having an exemplary art program. We have all worked together and folks are noticing we have something really special here!”

Of course, having someone as creative, nurturing, resourceful and humorous as

Suzette — well, that just gives us all a mighty big leg up! Oh, and if you have those bottle caps to share, please drop them off in the offices of the high school or middle school for Mrs. Morrow. Then look out for what they become!

Dianne Brooke’s column is special to The Cambrian. Email her at, or visit her website at