April Spotlight: Art Department

April Spotlight: Art Department
Posted on 04/30/2021
SpotlightCarolyn “Karry” Comfort

karry

How long have you been an Art Teacher?

As a teacher, I am known as Carolyn Comfort, I go by Karry though. As a working artist, I go by Karry Fuller Comfort. I have been exhibiting & selling artwork in CNY for over 30 years. Currently my work is represented by a local gallery, “The Copper Easel” 216 W. Dominick St., here in Rome.

I am in my twelfth year of being an art educator. I have taught for Rome City School District since I began. I grew up attending RCSD, K-12. I am pleased to teach in the district that graduated from.

What is your favorite part of your job?

The favorite part of my job is introducing concepts to students that help them to be successful and confident in their abilities. Everyone can learn to create unique and beautiful art. The methods that I teach, especially regarding “special concepts”, when taken seriously, can help the individual student to want to learn more. This is what I love about teaching!

How do you believe art impacts students?

I believe that “the arts” in education are an especially important part of becoming a well-rounded human being. Art education at its most elementary level helps students develop and work their fine motor skills, lean to create, and appreciate art. It helps students express themselves in a manner that they may not be able to otherwise. As a fine artist, an art educator and an adjunct professor of art I have had much experience of the way creating an original work of art can build confidence and make learners more curious. Art is everywhere, everything is designed, it takes an artist to do this. It is something that grows with you as you develop skill. It is something that a student can excel at well into later years of their lives. 

Katie Thomas 

art

How long have you been an Art Teacher?
I have been teaching art for about 20 years, and have had experience teaching in preschool through high school.
 
What is your favorite part of your job?
There are many things I enjoy about my job, but the most important is my students. I really have the opportunity to get to know my students. It’s a special part of my job that I get to see students from kindergarten to sixth grade. I have the opportunity to watch students use what they have learned and grow and change and flourish, from year to year. It’s a credit I share with my coworkers. Even when things are hard, I appreciate being fortunate to be amongst people who work super hard to provide their best for the students.
 
How do you believe art impacts students?

Art impacts each child differently. What I provide for students is a safe and calm place to explore and develop ideas, explore creative mediums, and build on a base knowledge of skills. Art allows students to experience lessons that will affect more than just paper, for example: more than one perspective matters. I teach that there is more than one way to solve what appears to be a problem. I teach that often good things can arise from accidents, and that it’s okay to fail sometimes. Art is a good place to practice those life skills.

Some students come with a smile because they want to explore with supplies, and some students overcome what they think they can’t do. Some students just need a good place to express emotion.

Art impacts us as a society in so many ways on a day to day basis, I want to teach children an awareness and appreciation for that as well. I may be a little biased, but I believe art is more important for students now than ever before.

Jacqueline Plyman 

jackie

How long have you been an Art Teacher?


I have been an Art teacher for almost 25 years. I am so thankful that I get to work with little Artists. 

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of the job is working with kids and sharing my talents. I know I am successful with a lesson that moment when we finish an art project and my students look at their work and feel proud of what they have accomplished. My goal is to help build confidence, as well as skill. Many times, people are not aware of their abilities. It is my job to help them unleash their creativity. I provide a comfortable atmosphere where students learn how to "step out of their comfort zone" and express their ideas. Sometimes I wear headbands with cat ears, Pokémon hoodies, or sneakers that light up....  I like to relate to the kids and make them feel comfortable.
How do you believe art impacts students?

I believe Art has a great impact on how students think and reason. Art helps build confidence in decision making. There are no wrong answers when you are creating a piece of artwork. I teach my students to "think outside of the box" and problem solve. These are useful skills for real life situations. It is a learned skill to see things as an "Artist" sees things. These skills are useful when dealing with everyday situations such as visually trying to imagine how a new paint color will look on a wall, or how to turn a large piece of furniture to fit through a doorway. Art class allows students to have fun while learning. It is a very personal experience. Students get to learn about themselves and unlock their imagination while they are creating. They get to learn how to manipulate art materials to achieve certain outcomes. Art class is scheduled once a week in Elementary school. Parents always tell me if they are scheduling appointments their artist will not be happy if they have to miss school on the day art is scheduled.

Stacy Finney

stacy


How long have you been an Art Teacher?

I went back to college to get my degree in Art Education in my mid-thirties. After graduating, I taught art part-time and subbed for five years, and have been teaching art full time for five years.
 
What is your favorite part of your job?

I love seeing student’s excitement when they persevere and create something that didn’t think they were capable of. I think that the ability to work through problems and learn from your mistakes is one of the greatest lessons we, as teachers, can give to our students.
 

How do you believe art impacts students?

The life skills of being willing to try something new, and push through those first few attempts and learn from your mistakes are huge. I tell my students that I make mistakes each and every day, but I never make the mistake of not learning from it or learning how to fix it. In art, students know that they are in a safe place to make mistakes and learn from them, and this is a skill they can take with them in all aspects of their life.

Jennifer Schaffauer

jennifer


How long have you been an Art Teacher?


How long have you been an Art Teacher?
This is my 3rd year teaching for the Rome City School District, but I’ve been teaching art for 12 years now.

What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is creating an experience where my students learn they can create something they never knew they could before! 

How do you believe art impacts students?
I believe the arts can do many things for our students. Art teaches students they can grow any skill by practicing. It can give them an escape, help them gain confidence, strengthen hand-eye coordination and even help them connect with other subjects in school.  

Susan Colmey 

art


How long have you been an Art Teacher?
I have been an art teacher for 12 years.

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part about being an art teacher is sharing my passion for fine art, and watching my students grow confidence in their art-making. Because art can be a peaceful practice, it allows the students in the art room to relax and build trusting bonds with each other (as well as with me), which is very rewarding.

How do you believe art impacts students?

Art has always been incredibly beneficial to students, as a way to de-stress and express their emotions - and challenge themselves with new skills and increased creativity. During this pandemic/isolation time, I've noticed more of a necessity for art-making. Creating art allows students to express their fears, worries, and otherwise indescribable emotions in a safe and rewarding way. There are times that I feel I am teaching not only important skills, but coping mechanisms as they make their way through this tumultuous and historic time. To say I love my job is an understatement - I spend most days full of pride as I watch my students soar. 

Tammra Cook 

tammra


How long have you been an Art Teacher?

I started teaching at Staley and Gansevoort Elementary Schools in September 2020.
 
What is your favorite part of your job?

I LOVE when my students tell me Art is their favorite class!!! The best part of every day is when I see delight on students’ faces as they successfully complete a project or learn something new.
 
How do you believe art impacts students?

Art is all encompassing, giving us an outlet as well as a sanctuary for creative expression. Students that are encouraged to use their artistic voice as well as skills learned in the art room while at home and during other classes will have a more rounded education as well as a more colorful life! 

Mary Lou Kernan 

art


How long have you been an Art Teacher?
I have been an art teacher at various positions for 32 years and this will be my 23rd year in Rome as an Art Teacher. 

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of the job, especially the elementary, is seeing the tremendous growth of the children's art skills as they move through the grades.

How do you believe art impacts students?

The arts are everywhere and impact everyone in so many ways. By educating the students to have an awareness and appreciation of the Arts, I believe, will help them grow into a well-rounded, creative person.

Amanda Benoit

amanda b


How long have you been an Art Teacher?

How long have you been an Art Teacher? 
I've been an art teacher for 12 years. 
 
What is your favorite part of your job? 
The best part of my job is witnessing students taking pride in their work and being excited about what they've created.

How do you believe art impacts students? 
Art allows students to build multi-sensory connections. It enables and stimulates visual, tactile, cognitive, and therapeutic elements within the creative process. I believe these connections are relevant for life's everyday challenges. 

Bridgette Gates

gates


How long have you been an Art Teacher? 
This is my first year!
 
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love my job! Seeing the students and their enthusiasm for art and learning new things is very inspiring.
 
How do you believe art impacts students?

I think that every student has the innate ability to be artistic. It may not look the same to everyone and it may not be conventional all the time, but I believe that students should have the opportunity to express themselves artistically, try new things and find their niche. They may not necessarily love everything we do in class, but I hope that they learn to appreciate different forms of art and find their own "art personality". Art gives everyone the opportunity to explore and hopefully learn a skill that they will always have.


Megan Anderegg 

megan


How long have you been an Art Teacher?
22 years at all levels k-12

What is your favorite part of your job?
Helping students discover their talents and develop their skills as artists.

How do you believe art impacts students?
Art is integrated into so many aspects of our lives. I think students are relieved to be able to hold a pencil or paintbrush and not look at a screen during art class. Art offers students a unique experience that often leads to lifelong passions for creating whether it be drawing, painting or another artistic form.

Emily Reger 

emily

How long have you been an Art Teacher?


My very first teaching job began in 1996, at JN Fries Middle School in Cabarrus County, North Carolina. Cabarrus County is located right outside the Charlotte area. In 2001, we moved to Raleigh NC. I decided to focus on finding a better balance for my work and young family life. I became involved with other artists, working together in a studio space and collaborating exhibitions. I also taught private art lessons to children and adult painting classes. During this time, I also worked part time in a private elementary school. In 2005 my family had grown, and we decided to take advantage of a job opportunity in Central New York. I still had a strong desire to maintain that work family life balance. I began having art classes in my basement for kids in our neighborhood and church. These classes became so successful that I realized there was a real need for this type of activity in our community of Clinton NY. In 2017, I felt a desire to go back to teaching in a public school and I was offered a job at Staley Elementary in Rome NY.

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of this job is listening to students while they are creating something. They will come up with elaborate stories about their work. Sometimes I have to stop what I am doing to write these stories down. The students seem to enjoy that idea and it will often take the objective I had for the day in a different direction. When I allow this flow to happen, I notice that the students experience this desire to purge one idea after another. They become so curious and this game of “Mrs. Reger, what happens if….” Begins to unfold. 

“Mrs. Reger, what happens when I mix yellow and blue and white together?!”

“Mrs. Reger, what happens if I color with this yellow crayon over this orange marker?!”

“Mrs. Reger, what would happen if I cut out this spider and glued it on a piece of paper and made its legs out of string? Mrs. Reger, would it still be called a spider if it had 12 legs?”

I try to balance the class with directed drawing assignments that involve vocabulary, the Elements of Art and Principles of design. Understanding how to use these adjectives and verbs, when discussing visuals of any kind, helps to communicate professionalism.

How do you believe art impacts students?

Art class for many students can be a breath of fresh air. It has an opportunity to offer a break from the rigors of assessment. Art class offers opportunities for kids that are hands on and collaborative.


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