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My Town: 'Teaching Is An Art' exhibit turns attention to local educators | Arts & Culture

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My Town: 'Teaching Is An Art' exhibit turns attention to local educators
My Town: 'Teaching Is An Art' exhibit turns attention to local educators

ROCKFORD, Mich.– For the first time, current and retired Rockford area art teachers are being recognized in a special show, “Teaching Is An Art” hosted by Arts Rockford in their new facility at 52 Courtland in downtown Rockford.

Retired Rockford East Middle School art teacher Patti Mollema came up with the concept and communicated with art teachers throughout the school system to encourage participation and involvement with the exhibit, which will run through Feb. 16.

“In addition to being excellent teachers, these individuals are also artists themselves and we’re delighted to give them an opportunity to show and sell their work,” said Mollema.

Eight teachers from the Rockford school system have work in the show, along with another four retired art teachers from the Rockford area.  Each teacher and artist was given a space to fill in the gallery for this varied show with something for everyone.

  • Two watercolors and three unique “assemblage” pieces combining both two dimensional and three dimensional objects are on display from Leta Holloway.
  • Roguewood Elementary School art teacher Emily Horvat has a signed and numbered abstract screen print in the exhibit.  
  • High school art teacher Barbara Kent has a large mixed media two dimensional piece created with pastel, charcoal, tea, velum, gouache and acrylic paint hanging over the cozy fireplace.
  • Rachel Kibbe's ArtPrize entry, a cut paper work layered and sandwiched between two sheets of plexiglass, is on display, as well as an non-objective acrylic piece.
  • Nationally-known avian artist David Edward Kuecherer has three paintings of local lakes and birs in the show.  Kuecherer taught in Wisconsin before relocating to Rockford with his wife several years ago. He has been entered into “Birds in Art”, an international juried competition, three times.  
  • Rockford high school art teacher Cyndi Len works in both two- and three-dimensional mediums.  She has numerous pottery works in the show displaying an assortment of glazes and techniques.
  • Kathleen McDonald works in watercolor, mostly of nature and done on location. She also works in ceramics.  In addition to several paintings, she also has a large bas relief framed ceramic crane on display.
  • Freshman Center art teacher Sara Mullen works in a wide variety of media, perhaps the most unusual being encaustic mixed media, a technique using melted wax to encapsulate other substances such as paper or objects.  She has several of these works on display as well as a recently finished pastel landscape.
  • Unique stained glass creations by Rockford resident and retired art teacher Eileen Urbanski fill the gallery with colored light.  Her pieces range from abstract geometrical to depictions of trees and landscapes.
  • Chris VanderHart lives in Rockford and is retired from teaching art for the Kenowa Hills school system.  Her watercolor work on display features local winter scenes.
  • Retired elementary art teacher Kenn Vidro has numerous acrylic paintings on display in his very popular “cartoon” style, which has captivated young artists throughout his career.  Vidro will also have copies of his book for sale.
  • Patti Mollema had just enough room left in the gallery to hang two of her oil paintings; one is a large portrait in oil on canvas and the other a small oil on panel still life.

The “Teaching Is An Art” show will be on display through Feb. 16 at Arts Rockford.  For arts center hours and information on art, dance, acting and music lessons, visit the Arts Rockford website. Updates and current photographs are also available on the Arts Rockford Facebook page.

Arts Rockford programs and events are partially funded by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for Arts.  The center can also be reached at (616) 560-7156 or  artsrockfordmi@gmail.com.