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Blog » Marty Clements: Art Educator Spotlight

Marty Clements: Art Educator Spotlight

Since 1989, Original Works has been working with schools across the country to help them plan, organize and implement successful fundraising programs in pre-K, elementary, middle and high schools! With high quality products, superior customer service and attention to detail, we work with schools, organizations, and great art teachers like Marty Clements to create and complete successful fundraising programs to raise more money for their schools.

Meet Marty Clements, an Original Works Fundraising Coordinator! 

Meet The Fundraising Coordinator:

Name: Mary Clements Title: Program Coordinator
School(s): Ault Elementary, Texas
School Experience With Original Works:  20 Years

Q. How long have you been teaching, and what was it that sparked your interest in becoming an art educator?

A. This year marks my 34th year as an elementary teacher. I’ve been privileged to teach every age and every subject, but of the 34 years, 20 of those were as an art educator. I didn’t start out to be an art teacher, but luckily and very happily it was dropped in my lap. My primary degree was elementary education. Starting in a small district, there was no art teacher so I incorporated art into my every day classroom. Later in my career in a larger district, our principal at the time was needing a new art teacher. Since I had the education for it, I raised my hand and haven’t looked back.

My biggest inspiration in art has always been my grandfather – born in 1886, he died in 1986. He became an artist in his 80’s and 90’s with shows across Texas at different museums. His love of creating was contagious and made me want to share that same wonderful feeling with others.

Q. In your position, what are some of the biggest challenges you face?

A. As an art teacher, I try to look at my challenges as opportunities if possible. I suppose my biggest challenge are the numbers of students I serve. Like so many art teachers today, I have 2 classes at a time with between 40-50 students per class. Being the only art teacher, I am responsible for around 1,000 kids a year with no aides.

The opportunity? Lots of kids to help instill a love for art! Another challenge (always) is the budget. Thanks to Original Works I actually have one. Most of my supplies are purchased with funds raised through this program. The opportunity here is to get families
invested in their children’s art education. They love it and most look forward to ordering every year. Since 2020, COVID has brought a whole new series of “opportunities” to work through. I’m still working on those…

Q. What was it that interested you in running an Original Works program?

A. I saw this as a great way to raise funds for my program as well as to create some great PR for our school in the community by providing a “professional” keepsake for families. Everyone loves kid’s art, right?

Q. What were the greatest benefits the kids received from participating in the program?

A. My students biggest benefit would have to be to have their art work – a piece of themselves – valued by their family and displayed on something, as one child put it, “real”. The money raised allows them to experience different supplies that I might not have the money to purchase otherwise.

Q.  Speaking of the kids, tell us about one of your most memorable experiences in the classroom.

A. Most memorable, and close to my heart, was the year I had my own son as a student in 5th grade. We had just changed schools, so being the only art teacher put him squarely in my class. I worried at first about so many things that could go wrong in that scenario, but it turned out to be a wonderful experience for both of us. He later went on to graduate from the University of Texas with a degree in fine art… proud mom, or what??

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. All funds raised will be put into supplies for future use. Things that might not be affordable otherwise or that the kids may never have experienced using before are made possible with the money raised. For example, in the past I have been able to order watercolor pencils, metallic pens or liquid watercolors. These are not typical medias provided by an elementary art budget.

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. Speaking as an elementary teacher I will speak to the elementary teacher. Dealing with our young students, we have been given the singular opportunity to possibly “make or break” a person’s love for creating and/or appreciating art.

Just today I was giving a short demonstration to a group of teachers during our professional development day. One wonderful teacher approached me afterward and said with surprise that she had actually enjoyed it. She said when she first entered my room she had a sense of “PTSD” from her days in that same room as a student with a different teacher. This art teacher had made her feel inadequate and left her with the impression that she was not an artist and would never be. She had hated art class. She was a terrible artist. Never forget the enthusiasm and joy you find in art is contagious and will last a lifetime.

We are thrilled to have Jane Montero share her time and perspective with us! Be sure to check out our other Art Educator Spotlights here! Lean more about how teachers across the country are using Original Works fundraisers to bring students artwork to life!

Contact us at 518-584-9278 to schedule your school fundraiser today! Better yet, download our FREE brochure here and let us help you get your fundraiser started!

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