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Meet Melissa Newberry with Bemis School of Art!

How did you first become interested in art?

My Grandma was an artist and a nurse. From the time I could hold art materials, my grandma was encouraging me to create. I remember my first drawings of people all had jack-o’-lantern heads and my art just kept getting more creative from there. When my grandma passed away, my mom still encouraged me to create as much as possible. There were numerous days I pretended to be sick so my mom would have to come and get me. When she would pick me up we would go to the craft store to find a new art materials to explore.

Who or what inspires you? Why?

My Grandma and mom were my first inspirations in art. Now my inspiration stems from contemporary artists. I love going to museums or even art fairs and seeing what everyone makes. I love learning from new people and hearing about their art experiences. Hearing from a variety of artists keeps me curious and ready to create.

What led you to become an art teacher?

I loved art since before grade school. I think being able to teach art and see students light up when they find a new medium they enjoy is very fulfilling. What made me want to be a teacher is the teachers I had growing up that never gave up on me when others labeled me as a trouble maker. Art was always a safe and judgment-free place.

What about your background or life experiences have created special or unique connections with students?

In high school I passed all of my classes and kept to myself, however I fell into the ‘wrong’ crowd. I often felt I was being judged by teachers or was marked guilty by association. I feel like a lot of times people find it easier to judge a book by its cover before they read the story. I was not the perfect A+ student, but I tried and have always believed you should treat others the way you want to be treated. I think that mentality is why I care so strongly for my students. I felt judgment from teachers and peers and because of that, I open my arms to all students. There are no bad students, just students that haven’t been understood yet.

If you could place 3 tiny houses anywhere in the world to live in, where would you put them?

Colorado would be where the first tiny home would be placed. I was born and raised here in Colorado Springs so Colorado will always hold a special place in my heart. The other two tiny homes would be hard to place because I feel like I haven’t traveled to all of the places I wish to. I would love to go to Montana, Alaska, Hawaii, Europe, Japan, etc. If I could keep my two tiny homes on standby, I’d travel and then place them.

What was the last book you read and loved?

Some of the best books I’ve read are books I read to my students. The most resent book I have been reading to my students is Pete the Cat Crayons Rock by Kimberly and James Dean. I love reading to my students because they get so excited by the story and pictures, finding inspiration to create their own work! When I have time, I love reading biographies and thrillers.

If you could time travel, when and where would you go?

I think I would have to go into the future. Traveling back, I’d be too worried about altering the past and changing something in my present day. I also love knowing teasers of shows and what happens in books so maybe I’d like seeing the future.

What’s your “dance like nobody’s watching” song?

Don’t Stop Me Now- Queen

What’s on your bucket list?

I have an active bucket list. My main two items currently are to travel to Hawaii and to go to Alaska to see the northern lights.

If you had to write a life ‘motto’ what would it be?

Treat others the way you want to be treated or stay curious.

See what Melissa is teaching now