Aesthetic art appreciation for education

Columnist Nicole Welk cites the teachers who inspired her to become an artist.

Columnist Nicole Welk cites the teachers who inspired her to become an artist.

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LEE MILLER TTN Students who express their creativity through the arts all started somewhere. Welk encourages them to thank their teachers.

A new semester has begun, and I hope everyone had a wonderful break before returning to the books, the syllabi and (for my fellow artists and art appreciators) the paint, ink and clay that come with school work.

In this column, I have talked about various subjects, from using coffee shops to display and sell work, to art taxes and animation. I’ve explained why I think the ancient arts deserve to be preserved, and how crafts should be appreciated in and outside the category it has been given.

While resting during winter vacation, I came to the realization that my passion for the arts started at a very young age and were nurtured and cultivated primarily by my teachers from elementary school into high school. I give credit to my parents for supporting my love for the arts, but those who made me improve as an artist and art historian (as my major at Temple is art history) came from my public schooling. So, I dedicate this week’s column to all grade school art teachers for still keeping the fire alive, and preparing the student and professional artists of today to create great art.

There really isn’t a day to appreciate just art teachers. There is a week dedicated to the appreciation of teachers in general in May, but I feel one does not need a special day or week to thank the art teachers of our youth.

During the break, I visited my high school art teacher with my good friend, who also studies art at Temple. We surprised her after her school day was over, and just the way her eyes lit up when she saw her two former art students was rewarding in itself.

We spent the better part of an hour telling her about what we were creating and studying currently, and in those moments, we expressed our gratitude toward her as our teacher.

With this small gesture, visiting our teacher after class hours and keeping her up-to-date on our studies, we showed our appreciation for her vigorous lessons, talent, and encouragement for us to become artists. She was not only a teacher who improved our skills as artists and gave us unlimited opportunities to express ourselves, but a friend who supported us to pursue our passions, giving us the confidence to follow our dream careers.

I encourage all of you to thank the teachers who gave you such confidence to pursue your goals as artists. I know many of us would not be in college for such a career without the help of these teachers, and we owe it to them. And with numerous art programs being shut down in public schools around the nation, this appreciation and support is very much needed for our teachers – and art programs in general.

With regard to supporting teachers in general, for those majors not necessarily in the arts, you do not have to wait till May to thank the special teachers of your youth. Visit them over the break, write a letter or send a card. Even just sending an e-mail mentioning your aspirations and how they helped along the way means quite a bit to a teacher.

I’m sure you all have had teachers who inspired you to do more than was required, and who encouraged you into the majors you now pursue. I know I thank those who have taught me in the past and for supporting my love for the arts. They are part of the backbone for this column. Appreciate them, thank them, and most importantly, don’t forget the people whose inspiration has enriched your education.

Nicole Welk can be reached at

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