Art Educator Spotlight: David Condry
Original Works is an art-based fundraising company providing schools, community groups and clubs with innovative fundraising products created from children’s original art. All across the country, talented and committed art teachers utilize our programs to enhance their lesson plans and help raise money for their schools or groups.
Meet The Art Teacher: David Condry
Meet David Condry, an elementary visual arts instructor at Motsenbocker American Academy in Parker, Colorado. Our Q & A interview with “Mr. See” gave us great insight into how art teachers in schools are using Original Works fundraising programs to enrich their students’ classroom experiences, and and add fun and interest to their fundraising efforts!
Q. How long have you been teaching, and what was it that sparked your interest in becoming an art educator?
A. This will be my 8th year of full-time art teaching, though I had done quite a bit of after-school and extra-curricular art teaching before then. I’ve always been a visual artist but could never quite choose one single style or emphasis – everything interests me! So, teaching art is perfect because it gives me a chance to sample everything.
Q. In your position, what are some of the biggest challenges you face?
A. I like to go big. I want every student to connect with joy and inspiration in my classroom, whether or not they identify as an artist. This means offering a lot, taking on a lot of diverse projects both during regular class time and on the side.
For instance, I brought UV lights into the art room for glow-art, I do mural artworks around campus, I offer a wide diversity of extra-curriculars including my own student rock band program, I started a growing library of drawing instruction handouts, and I fill regular class times with tons of creative experimentation opportunities for the kiddos.
I have also been very involved in organizing and producing the annual Artist’s Choice Exhibit we hold at the school each year. Following is a video that captures the creativity and excitement from the 2019 edition.
Going above and beyond takes a lot of energy, patience, optimism, and downright gritty perseverance to keep everything afloat. But it’s so worth it. My students and I make magic happen every day.
Q. What was it that interested you in running an Original Works program?
A. As a professional freelance illustrator by training, I appreciate how the high-quality reproductions of visual art lend a feeling of achievement to my students. There’s something so satisfying about seeing your art on a coffee mug, magnet, or sketchbook cover. You feel like your work is connecting to a broader audience. It’s important for young artists to feel that.
Q. What were the greatest benefits the kids received from participating in the Original Works fundraising program?
A. The kids gain a strong sense of community surrounding our Original Works art projects every year. We try to really hype up the whole experience so that everyone feels a sense of ownership regardless of their level of participation.
Q. Speaking of the kids, tell us about one of your most memorable experiences in the classroom.
A. One year, a certain homeroom finished a project very early in the week. We had time leftover to collaborate on this crazy extra project in which we covered a skateboard with chewed bubble gum and sent it to one of our favorite content creators online. They made this amazing video of pro skaters getting their shoes stuck to this outrageous creation of ours! It was a smash success, and hilarious besides.
Q. The Original Works programs focus on creativity and self-esteem, while providing a vehicle for raising needed funding. What will you be doing with the funds you raised from the Original Works program?
A. Each year, I use the funding to further expand the kinds of visual art media that I teach.
This year, we’re using the money to really build up our printmaking supplies while using leftover funds to build some finger board ramps for the art room. That’s right – finger board ramps. I like to have a wide variety of options available in class for kids that finish their work early. This year, my students and I are finding a lot of creative inspiration in the world of skateboarding. But in lieu of installing a full skatepark in the art room, finger boarding just seems a little safer for our purposes. 🙂
Q. Since art educators from around the country will be reading this post, do you have anything you would like to share with your peers?
A. Embrace your weird, wonderful self. Kids can tell when you’re enjoying your work. And they’ll reciprocate by enjoying your class. Find ways to bring your interests and idiosyncrasies into everything you do at school. This will make your teaching infinitely more accessible, more interesting, more powerful. The kids will never stop thanking you for it.
Thank you to Mr. See for sharing his time and perspective with in our Art Educator Spotlight! We love hearing from art teachers who utilize the Original Works programs in their classrooms! If you are ready to inject the Original Works fundraising fun into your classroom, call us today at 800-421-0020, or get our free program brochure today.