Art Teachers Exhibit

MNPS Art Teachers to Show Their Own Art at the Frist
Posted on 02/09/2022
mother and child artwork by MNPS teacher Jacolyn Wingo

Jacolyn Wingo loves watching her young students at Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School discover what they can do while mixing paints and turning their ideas into art. She has a “wall of love” in her classroom to display their paintings.artwork of jacolyn wingo

Now Wingo’s own art will be on display at the Frist Art Museum, ready to be loved by visitors from around the world. Wingo is one of 18 MNPS art teachers whose work will be shown in “Nashville Art Teachers: Beyond the Classroom,” an exhibit the Frist will host March 4 through Aug. 28 in its Conte Community Arts Gallery.

The exhibit “salutes the heroic efforts of teachers during the challenging circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Frist’s website says, and will be presented at the same time as “Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful,” a tribute to a longtime Washington, D.C., public school art teacher who was the first Black woman to have her work featured in the White House’s permanent art collection.

Allison Ross, MNPS’s coordinator of visual arts, said art teachers “often have very little time in their lives to dedicate to continuing their own artistic practice,” but these teachers have done it – with beautiful and inspiring results.

“Each day in the classroom is spent sharing their talents, encouraging innovation and imagination, and inspiring their students to become better creatives and critical thinkers,” Ross said. “It can be a challenge in the remains of the day to balance the demands of home with time to focus on imaginative endeavors. I’m very proud of these teachers for finding time for self-expression."

Wingo, who worked in the health care industry before deciding she wanted to do more with her art, has been a teacher for two years. She's excited about the Frist exhibit, which will include an acrylic-and-watercolor portrait from her “Embrace Series” showing the unconditional love of a mother for her son.

At Robert Churchwell, Wingo works to build up students’ confidence as they start to paint, knowing they can get upset when their work isn’t perfect right away.

Trust the Process

“I just tell them that it’s a process and to trust the process, and the end result will be better than what you think.”

Jeff Clark, who has taught at Goodlettsville Middle School for 13 years, said the Frist was the first museum he ever visited. That happened when he was a senior in high school, the year after he took his first art class.

Years later, having left the construction industry for the classroom, he teaches his students that “you can just make stuff just for the fun of making it,” and not everything they do has to be universally appreciated.

“The journey is more important than pretending you’re already at the finish line,” he said.

Clark's painting at the Frist shows the Skyline Arch, a natural attraction he and his wife saw on a trip to Utah’s national parks a few years ago. The adventure out West broadened his perspective, showing him “a different kind of world” than he knew growing up in Middle Tennessee. 

fabric art by teacher ScobeyErin Scobey, another teacher whose work will be exhibited, has taught at DuPont Elementary School for 10 years. She also owns a small business making earrings and other art products and works on her art every night after her children go to bed.

“I have to make art,” Scobey says. “For me, that’s therapy in a lot of ways. And I love to be productive. I can’t sit still. So it doesn’t feel like work. It’s a passion.”

Using fabric and thread, she painted the piece that will be shown at the Frist soon after her second child was born. Making it helped her process a difficult birth experience and the raw emotions that came with that, and learning it had been selected for the exhibit was validating, she said.

In the classroom, Scobey loves seeing her students’ eyes light up when she demonstrates how to do something. She believes in “beautiful oops,” encouraging students to let themselves make mistakes and learn from them.

“I like for them to be problem-solvers and see how they can use art to do that,” she said. “It's like, this is a life skill. You’re learning more than just how to paint. You’re learning critical thinking and problem-solving.”

Metro Schools Art Teachers Also in the Display

Along with Jeff Clark, Erin Scobey and Jacolyn Wingo, the following MNPS art teachers’ work will be on display in “Nashville Art Teachers: Beyond the Classroom” at the Frist Art Museum, 919 Broadway, starting March 4:

  • Sara Eberhart, Crieve Hall Elementary
  • Ted Edinger, Tulip Grove Elementary
  • Sydney Ellison, Two Rivers Middle
  • Diana Garigliano, Julia Green Elementary
  • Leigh Hardcastle, Croft Middle
  • Briena Harmening, Hillwood High
  • Jan Hatleberg, Meigs Middle
  • Lisa Jones, Wright Middle
  • Janet Malone, Norman Binkley Elementary
  • Beth Seawell, Shayne Elementary
  • Scott Mast, Hunters Lane High
  • Marti Profitt-Streuli, Nashville School of the Arts
  • Jianna Shafer, Inglewood Elementary
  • Shayna Snider, Hume-Fogg High
  • Anna Torrence, Isaac Litton Middle

skyline art by art teacher j clark

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