ART – It’s a heART thing

BFSDoArt Alum Deena Scarborough is featured "mom" of the August edition of Moments Magazine.

BFSDoArt Alum Deena Scarborough is featured “mom” of the August edition of Moments Magazine.

Editor’s Note: This article appeared in the August 2013 Moments Magazine, Statesboro Herald. Deena Scarborough, Bachelor of Fine Arts, is an alumnae of the Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art, Georgia Southern University.

 by Julie Lavender 

When a child creates, value is immediately attached, not only with the art piece but with the art experience,” says Portal Art Teacher Deena Scarborough. “With this in mind, one of Picasso’s quotes inspires me to encourage children to deeply connect with that magical feeling and hold on to it indefinitely: ‘All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once they grow up.’”

Well, Deena has certainly found her way to remain an artist and thrives on inspiring her students to do the same.

Married to Brian and mother of Abigail, 9, Amelia, 6, and Ariel, 3, the Scarboroughs are Statesboro residents and attend Fletcher Memorial Baptist Church.

Deena didn’t start out as an art teacher. In fact, she didn’t even take a formal art class until ninth grade. And it was in those high school and, later, college classes that she discovered her personal artistic eye, passion for creativity and appreciation for fine arts.

“My professors encouraged me to follow what was in my heart. It wasn’t until after college that I asked the Lord to guide my heart and my future.”

With a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design from GSU, Deena loved the creativity in her work but hated spending all of her time behind a computer.

“An exciting career shift came when the Spirit clearly told me to quit my job, then later told me to be an art teacher. Within a few months, I was the new art teacher at Portal Elementary School. It’s been 11 years and the position has been expanded to Portal Middle and High School.”

Deena knows first-hand the value of art in a young child’s life.

“Art gives children a deep sense of self-worth. By working with the same children over the course of many years, I’ve seen some with low self-esteem develop a much more positive sense of personal worth when allowed and encouraged to openly create and succeed.

“We are creative beings all made in the image of our Creator, therefore each of us have the capability of using our imaginations to produce something amazing.”

Deena likes to encourage children to think outside the box while at the same time weaving personality into their product. She believes this gives kids an unlimited resource of solving challenges creatively.

“Each day in the art room is a chance for students to freely show what is in their soul; it’s a place where there is really no wrong answer.”

She encourages this creative problem-solving technique with her own girls, as well, through drawing, coloring, painting, singing, acting and dance.

Deena hopes her girls and students will impact the world with their own unique application of creativity.

“Whether that’s with a paintbrush or pencil, crayon or clay, my goal is to empower students to feel that art is heart and is meant to be an extension of who they are.”

Deena’s path of finding out “who she was” began with her mother and grandmother. Both, she says, set good examples of making ideas come to life by using their imagination and skills and modeled artistic expression through sewing, crafting, painting and more.

“I was in awe of what they could do, yet like many children, when I used my crayons, my intense focus was to stay in the lines of the pre-printed image to make it look just right, mostly aiming to please,” she says. “As a mom, I hope to instill in my children that their value is not based on what another person says, but on the fact that they are one-of-a-kind and have been remarkably and wonderfully made.

“My hope is for every mom to encourage their children to be as uniquely themselves as possible, to cultivate their creative talents and show what they are personally capable of imagining … even if it’s outside the lines.”

Besides art time offered in school, local kids have additional opportunities to express their creativity.

The Averitt Center, located downtown, offers Art After Hours, each school day from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m., with time for snacks, homework and three art lessons per day.

“Kids take classes in visual arts, sculpting, drawing, dance,” says Kate Fitch, public relations consultant for Averitt Art Center.

“The arts are more than just fun. Not only do they build creativity and imagination, but the arts help develop problem-solving, communication, and critical thinking skills which are important in all aspects of learning.”

Ann Walsh, owner of downtown’s Free Spirit Pottery and Glass Studio also encourages the artist within.

“Art builds confidence,” Walsh says with enthusiasm. “Without the opportunity to explore art, many children and adults are inclined to believe they have no artistic abilities. With so many art mediums to choose from, I feel there is something for everyone to unleash that creative side.”

Within house, Free Spirit offers pottery painting, glass fusing, canvas painting and clay for hand-building. And in the last three years, Walsh has taken art on the road with after school art programs and camps.

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Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art • PO Box 8032 • Statesboro, GA 30460 • (912) 478-5358 • • (map)