In this new feature of the Wyman Frame blog, we’ll be highlighting people and businesses that choose to frame their items at Wyman Frame, a division of Dale Rogers Training Center (DRTC).
DRTC supports people with disabilities through paid vocational training, in-house programs and work opportunities as well as competitive community employment.
What motivated you to teach art?
I have always loved drawing, painting and creating things. My grandmother was a self-taught artist, and I loved spending time with her making stuff. My first art teacher in middle school, Mr. Pyle, was wonderful. He loved art and kids and I wanted to carry on the tradition he taught me. I also love children and have learned everything can be taught through art.
Art has also been a lifelong therapy for me. When drawing or painting, all of the other troubles of the world disappear. You can enter a timeless zone where nothing else matters.
How long have you been teaching art?
I graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1980, with a degree in Art Education, and again in 1992 with a M.Ed. in administration. My first teaching job was as artist in residence for Oklahoma City Public Schools in 1981. I was the 5th grade art teacher for the entire district. Since then I have taught in public and private schools and also taught private students. Through my experience teaching in the schools, I discovered many students were not getting enough art and were not exposed to quality materials due to budget restraints. The Art House was opened in 2001 and was a long-time goal to give children and adults the opportunity to explore the arts in a stress free environment.
What made you see the need to teach art to kids with disabilities?
Through my teaching experiences I have learned that children and adults with disabilities can learn confidence through the visual arts. When students learn to do something they did not believe they could do, their confidence and self-esteem grows. As a result, they are more willing to try new things.
How does learning art improve their lives?
In art you can make a mess, but you can’t mess up. Too often people with disabilities have been told they did something wrong. Through the process of creating, every mark is valid. We may like some better than others, but the work itself is not wrong. We also learn to clean up the messes we make.
Creating art changes how we view the world. Colors come alive as we learn color mixing. You can start to see shadows and form as you learn to look more closely. We learn to experience the world in a whole new way.
Working in small groups also allows students to interact with others while creating. Friendships develop with others who enjoy the creative process.
Most memorable success story in teaching kids with disabilities?
I have recently been working with a student who did not speak much when she first started coming to art class. Her drawings were simplistic in nature. She slowly began to talk more to me and the other students. She is now able to draw and paint beautifully and loves creating portraits. Recently she has begun to accept commission work and is starting to sell her work. She now has several art friends and seems to be much happier.
Favorite story about working with Wyman Frame/Dale Rogers Training Center?
I have always enjoyed working with everyone at Wyman Frame and Dale Rogers Training Center. I have found the staff to be knowledgeable and helpful.
Joan’s next round of classes begin August 21, 2017. She has several classes available, limited to 10 students each. Kids with disabilities may join any class; adults with special needs meet for class on Wednesdays from 10:00-11:30am or Thursdays from 6:15-7:45pm. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 405-524-0933.
Joan Wegener, Art House