My Significant People: the impact of arts education

Monday, 16 June 2014 01:04 PM Written by  Emily Marko

 

These last weeks of the school year have moved me into a reflective state on my childhood school days. As my daughter and I dig into college planning I find myself trying to remember how I made such big decisions at a young age. How did I end up where I am right now – a Visual Problem Solver?!

I found part of my answer at an event for GPAC, the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, where I created visual notes for a roundtable discussion about Arts Education. I found the conversation interesting and important, but what was most serendipitous during that session is my art teacher from elementary school happened to be an attendee. We chatted for a bit about life, art and education before the session began. As the evening went on I had this feeling I couldn’t quite define. I said my good-byes and went home, but I could NOT sleep that night – I just stared at the ceiling trying to figure out that feeling which was bringing me to the brink of tears.

Emily Marko-1

How could a small interaction with a person I hadn’t seen since elementary school affect me so much? I also wondered how is it that I actually remember this teacher so vividly and not only her, but also a piece of artwork that I created in her class close to 30 years ago.

As I pondered this, I had flashes of more memories from my childhood and into my college years. It wasn’t a bad feeling at all. It was a mixture of gratitude, love and feeling so VERY fortunate – fortunate to have been influenced by some really Significant People.

So how did I get here? With a lot of different experiences – the great and not-so-great ones. Some experiences I fell into, others I was pushed into and there were a few I worked so hard to have. The combination of all of those experiences, plus Awesome Family and some Significant People is what got me to right now. Many of those Significant People were only a blink in my life. Some were teachers who I really only knew for 180 days or less, but left a lasting impression and truly helped carve out my path.

The Arts have always been prominent in my life in some form. My parents (part of the Awesome Family) raised me with craftiness. Who else had retro lamps made out of deodorant bottles or a one-of-a-kind RV made completely out of spare airplane parts for their Barbies?!

But I also realize now there was a huge influence in the Arts that came from those Significant People. They may not remember me, but I sure do remember them. So, Thank You….

  • Dr. Sarah Tambucci for fostering my creativity and independence in art at the very beginning of my school days.
  • Mr. Bowman for trying your best to teach me how to play the drums. Sorry I just did not have enough rhythm to get the beats down.
  • Mr. Edward Nemec for sharing your love of books, theater & jelly beans.
  • Mr. Robert Rodrigues for assigning visual projects like designing a newspaper so I could learn about history.
  • Mr. Hugh McGinn for teaching the skills of photography and the awesomeness of Hootie and the Blowfish.
  • Mr. Mark Barzan for giving me the opportunity to try out different art forms and the courage to choose art in college.
  • Mrs. Lisa Trainor for the opportunity to help create the school yearbook. Who knew that would be the start of my love for page layout & design.
  • Professor Rick Heisler for growing my photography skills and giving me an opportunity to teach others.
  • Professor Howard Lieberman for teaching me how to draw naked people with a three-foot stick.
  • Professor Lauren Lampe for guiding a lost transfer student through the graphic design journey.
  • Professor George Founds for scaring the bee-gee-bees out of me, but at the same time expanding my vocabulary and truly teaching great graphic design.

Thank You for helping me get to today. I have made my own mistakes, successes and decisions, but I believe the memories, lessons, and inspirations I took from all of you have added shape to who I am as a person and Visual Problem Solver.

So, how have the Arts influenced you? Who are your Significant People?

 

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