The Art of Teaching Art
Every day, Karen Sharp works on her art.
Her medium, though, is not oil painting. Or drawing. It’s not sculpture, either.
It’s her students.
“All my students are little art works,” said Sharp, the Fine Arts instructor at Ouachita Christian School. And they’re not finished works of art, she added, until they graduate.
When she was a professional artist – that is, in the commercial world – Sharp worked in advertising/graphic design for several years.
“It’s totally different when you’re in commercial art. You don’t go into the studio much unless you’re are an illustrator. You don’t paint, you don’t do any sculpture, you don’t do art history.”
Now, she gets to ply all those skills she attained in college and in her advertising days in the classroom, teaching all levels of art now for more than 30 years.
“If we get stuck on something, she helps us out,” said junior Peyton Owens in Art II. “We just relax in here and not worry about anything.”
The atmosphere Sharp creates in the classroom translates into success for many of her “art works” (aka students). Recently, more than 30 OCS students were recognized in the 2020-2021 National Scholastic Art Competition.
Sharp’s lifelong love of art (she started taking lessons when she was 7) and its results don’t stop when her students graduate. Many have gone on to successful careers in art, architecture, etc. “So many discover something about themselves, some gift that God has given them,” Sharp said.
“The kids are so good,” Sharp said. She recognizes she can push many of them to ask how they can make their work better. It’s apparent Sharp is asking the same thing of herself.