When you stop by Artisan’s Gallery through February 13, you might notice that we’ve received a record number of donated artworks for our arts education auction, Hearts for the Arts! It’s exciting to see so many artists coming together to support bringing the arts to the next generation, like Open Studios artist Terry Dowell and her students.

Terry teaches encaustic art at her Aptos-based studio, Rocket Encaustic, and this year 11 of her students donated a work of heart-themed art to Hearts for the Arts! Along with two donated pieces from Terry herself, this means that Terry is the force behind 13 of the 95 pieces in this year’s auction. Only a few of these students have ever shown a work of art in public before, and we’re so grateful they have all taken the leap to share their creations.

We chatted with Terry to find out more about the drive behind this exciting group effort.

It takes a lot of courage to display your art for the first time! How do you help your students stay inspired and motivated?

One of my favorite quotes is by Henri Matisse: “Art takes courage.” Here’s something that I keep posted in my studio for my students and myself to refer to daily:

As an art teacher, why is participating in Hearts for the Arts is important to you?

The funds raised during Hearts for the Arts are vital to our community. We need art to give our community the voice and vitality that wouldn’t be here without your support. I have been teaching art, in some form, for 33 years now and I’ve seen children who have been exposed to art, in some way, go on to flourish using their creativity throughout their lives and careers. They don’t have the fear that they can’t draw, write or paint or play an instrument. They go on to approach the arts in a positive way in their adult life and pass it on to their children and friends.

What is the impact of arts education?

I truly believe that living in a world surrounded by art can change politics and balance conservative thinking. Some people can relate to art and its message better visually than through the rhetoric that we hear everyday. This avenue of communication starts very young with big, colorful crayons, finger paints, playdough, and banging on pots and pans. An environment of creativity is supported by the arts education programs in Santa Cruz at all age levels and every dollar is put to use to enhance and power the lives of many budding artists.

What is your goal in supporting arts education?

I’ve had adult students that claim that they had a teacher, when they were young, that was critical of their art, or they themselves compared themselves to others and deducted that they were NOT an artist. My goal is to prove that that is not true and unravel this negative thinking. We are all born with artistic abilities…it just takes practice..some people need more practice than others!! Just like taking piano lessons and then practicing…it all takes practice and that’s why we need funding for the arts…to support all artists and education in our community.

Why should community members consider participating in the Hearts for the Arts auction?

If you buy a piece of art that was donated to the Hearts for the Arts by the artist you are supporting our children, teachers, artist and most of all the community that we love. Even the artist that donate their artwork get to feel the thrill of seeing their art on the wall in a fabulous setting like Artisans Gallery. Without the arts education programs we would not foster the colorful, rich environment that we all value in Santa Cruz.

Hurry in to Artisans Gallery to see all of the encaustic works by Terry and her students before our auction ends February 13!

Encaustic art students:

Jane Ferguson
Nancy Brookie-Connor
Teri Goldiner Robbins
Susan Chilcote-Wade
Jeanne Sofen
Sheri Del Core
Jannette Sargent Hamill
Kati Kattanek
Joan Lowden
Kathie Sinor
Lauri Martin

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