A handful of Ahwatukee Foothills high school fine arts teachers recently set up paintings, watercolors, and other art last month at a school district office, proving that while they are still teachers, they are also practicing artists.

Stacy Marko, a teacher at both Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe high schools, said being able to show their work to staff and others is a great opportunity.

“It gets to show people that we don’t just teach everything, but we are artists,” Marko said.

The Tempe Union High School District Office’s gallery room represents teacher and student art from every high school in the district, including four Ahwatukee teachers.

The gallery usually held mostly student art until Marko made the inquiry about having teachers submit art for display. Through a few email chains, she found out which teachers were on board, and all of the district’s current art pieces went up in one single day in August.

Lynn Smith, a teacher at Mountain Pointe High School, has three pieces hanging in the gallery. Though she teaches drawing, painting and honors art, she also teaches a section in ceramics, like Marko.

“It’s interesting when kids find out that I sketch and paint instead of only ceramics,” Marko said.

In the short time that the art has been curated, staff members have shown their interest and appreciation for the new displays.

An employee came up to Marko while in the gallery one afternoon, raving about her favorite painting Marko has displayed.

“It also encourages people to keep working,” said Smith. “It’s encouraging on every level.”

Smith has been a teacher at Mountain Pointe for five years, and has worked for the Tempe Union High School District for 15 years.

For Smith, she sees an opportunity for her art students. She noted that by having a different venue for her art other than the classroom, it gives the students exposure to new places.

Through talking to her students though, Smith said she was pleasantly surprised at how many students do attend arts shows or have ventured out to museums.

“I think slowly things are changing,” Smith noted about art awareness. “And it’s important that we as teachers and artists keep working.”

To see artwork by Ahwatukee Foothills teachers, and others in the district, visit the Tempe Union High School District Office, 500 W. Guadalupe Road in Tempe.


Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dmartinez@ahwatukee.com

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