ROCK SPRINGS — The Community Fine Arts Center will have 13 art teachers participating in this year’s finale of the Youth Arts exhibits held annually.
“This is going to be a really big show,” CFAC director Debora Soule said.
“Inviting the teachers to exhibit has happened several times since 2007, but we will have the most participating this year! All are full-time instructors in the school district, teaching elementary through high school classes, and these dedicated teachers and artists continue to find time to create their own artwork.”
An opening reception for the Sweetwater County School District (SCSD) No. 1 art instructors will be Tuesday, May 30 at the CFAC from 5:30-7 p.m. The exhibit will be on display through June 28.
Abbie Showecker has been working in the district for the past four years. She began teaching drawing at Rock Springs Junior High but transferred to teach at Rock Springs High this school year. With a love for pop culture, animals, and literature, her work is a mix of nature and whimsy.
Annette Tanner has been an art teacher with SCSD No. 1 for also four years, and loves being able to work with the students every day. Her passion is helping students develop their creativity and artistic ability and helping them grow in all areas of their lives. Currently, Annette works with the kindergarten through third graders at Desert View Elementary and Sage Elementary, but has also been at Overland and Desert School in Wamsutter previously.
Tanner has a B.A. in Theater Arts, a B.S. in Elementary Education, and has a K-12 art endorsement as well. She loves to learn new art forms and methods and considers herself a “jack of all art forms, master of none”. Since she was a small child, she has made art- whether drawing, sculpting, sewing, crocheting, painting, printing, or anything else that sparked her interest. She loves performance art as well as fine art and is excited to pass this love along to her students.
Dana Sykes enjoys painting landscapes in acrylic paints and has recently begun working in watercolors. She also enjoys painting animals in watercolor. She took art lessons from Pinedale, Wyoming artist Patsy Edwards when she was younger and Ruth Rawhouser gave her tips when she did her student teaching in Big Piney. Sykes graduated from college with a BA in Education.
Sykes is currently teaching art at Stagecoach Elementary and Desert School in Wamsutter. She taught art in Arkansas for grades K-12 before moving back to Wyoming to teach art. Skyes has also earned her special education degree.
David Doporto has been teaching art at Rock Springs High School for 21 years. He previously taught art in Utah. Thirty-one years of teaching and he still loves to be in the studio classroom every day, drawing and painting along with his students. Doporto’s artwork reflects his passion for the outdoors as well as what his students are currently working on. Outside of the classroom David is a tattoo artist at a local studio where he specializes in floral and outdoor themed designs. He shares his latest artwork on Instagram @doportodesigns.
Halli Riskus has been an art instructor at Sweetwater School District #1 for 28 years. She currently is at Rock Springs Junior High but has taught both elementary and secondary students in the district. Halli has participated in professional art shows, Art on the Green and has work at a local shop in Green River. Her work reflects the natural wonders found in Wyoming.
“My art is a reflection of my beliefs that we are created for beauty and a relationship with the Creator of that beauty,” Riskus shares. “The natural world is full of stories: love, fails and restorations. I try to capture the snapshots that speak to my place in that moment of time and share it with those who want to hear.”
Wyoming native Jamie Morgan was born in Laramie, and attended Boise State University to earn her Bachelor’s degree in K-12 Art education and Advertising Design. Having grown up in Wyoming in close proximity to Yellowstone National Park, her love of the outdoors grew tremendously. Throughout her life, Jamie has always been fascinated by images and how the world is represented through the eyes of others which naturally drew her to visual arts and photography.
After completing her degree, Morgan delved even more into her photographic practice, taking photos of weddings, graduations and family portraits as she taught high school, junior high and college art courses. The images that Morgan uses in her art generally come from her own photographs and experiences. The landscape and the animals, are all part of the narrative. She has completed countless custom pictures and enjoys dabbling in a variety of mediums to “keep it interesting.”
Morgan currently is teaching kindergarten through 3 rd grade at Walnut and Northpark Elementary School, and believes wholeheartedly that she “has the best job here!”
Katelynn Beckermann is one of the art instructors at Rock Springs High School. She shares with her students her belief that the process of art making and creativity involves fears and mistakes and it is through critical thinking that one finds a way to work around those fears and mistakes, finding solutions.
From her artist statement, Beckermann said, “It is this exercise of creative thinking when facing the unexpected that has allowed me to grow when facing challenges in my own life. To me, making art has become a process of unraveling the chaos of real life and getting it all down onto the page, then transforming it into something serene even while working with the mistakes that were made, rather than erasing them or restarting. This form of art-making has become a beautiful and therapeutic process for me. My hope as an artist is that the feelings behind this process can still be seen in the final result, even if they are not interpreted in the same way they were felt before landing on the paper. To invoke any feeling at all in the viewer, that is my goal.”
Katelynn Carter is a first year teacher at Rock Springs High School. She graduated from Western Wyoming Community College in 2019 with an associates of Fine Arts. Continuing her education at Weber State University in Ogden, UT, she received her Bachelors of Fine Arts.Carter has a passion for ceramics especially functional pottery. She also enjoys photography and painting. When she works in 2D media, she connects with abstract compositions that focus on color, shape, and line. Carter enjoys processes that allow her to fall into a meditative state. Her neurotrophic pieces are a great example of a way she focuses on this technique.
Kendra Lewis is an art teacher and librarian at both Eastside and Pilot Butte Elementary School. Throughout her life, she has been drawn to many art mediums. In college, she set a goal to establish an understanding of as many mediums as possible in order to teach her potential students a range of skills. Her work, though varied in mediums, has a common thread of being influenced by her past. Her artwork is an investigation into family history, personal interests, and a shared belief that we are all intrinsically connected.
Nanci Rollins teaches fourth through sixth grade art at Eastside and Pilot Butte Elementary Schools. She is originally from Montana and has taught art in Colorado and Wyoming since
Rollins is a visual artist that works in a wide variety of media including watercolor, acrylics, paper maché, crochet and more. She loves creating things that bring smiles to others and give them a piece of joy. Rollins creates art whenever she is able to outside of teaching and spending time with her family. Her children enjoy creating art with her and inspire a lot of her work. She works to crochet sculptural pieces that are not subjects usually seen in that media.
Nathan Wonnacott is a Wyoming artist located in Rock Springs. He currently teaches Sculpture and Graphic Design at Rock Springs Junior High. While his body of work covers a wide variety of media, he has recently focused his artwork on drawing and painting. He enjoys studying wildlife in their own habitat and works to incorporate their natural movement into dynamic compositions.
Shari Kumer has been teaching art in SCSD No. 1 for 25 years, and is currently at Black Butte High School. She likes working in all kinds of different mediums, including: acrylics, watercolors, fused glass, pen, pencil, and colored pencil.
Kumer experiments with different styles, depending on her mood. Her “Little Mountain Aspens” leans toward realism, but still has a painterly quality, as does “Sage Creek Daydream.” “Night Lights” is a diptych created for her son in which Kumer tried to capture the feeling of overlooking the lights of Salt Lake City on one side and Rock Springs on the other.
Kumer recently started drawing floral motifs on felt hats with pen and ink. These “Tatts on Hats” present a unique challenge due to the inability to sketch in pencil first and the permanence of the ink. The hats can be wearable art or displayed on a wall as decoration.
Wrylee Padilla is teaching his first year at Rock Springs high School. Born and raised in Rock Springs, he received an associates of Arts from Western Wyoming community College in 2019 and two years later he received his BFA with a 3D emphasis from Weber State University. Along with ceramics, teaching has become a passion of his and he “couldn’t be more excited to be teaching in my hometown.” Ceramics has been a positive and consistent outlet for Padilla.
Concentrating on the process of working with clay, he focuses on the form and surface treatments. His work consists primarily of wheel thrown functional pottery while lately exploring hand-building techniques.
“We think this is a wonderful opportunity to let the students see their teachers as artists and community members,” said Soule. “We have some of most dedicated and talented teachers here in Rock Springs and we are glad to put the spotlight on them for this exhibit.”
CFAC hours are Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday noon to 5 p.m. The gallery is located at 400 C Street in Rock Springs and has free admission as part of the Sweetwater County Library System. Events, concerts and classes are also part of the scheduled activities at the CFAC.