This is the first year as an art teacher at Perkins Academy for Mindi McCoy. While she has taught in the district for six years, she is thrilled to teach what she loves the most. In a three-day period, McCoy will see every one of Perkins’ 450 students comes through her classroom door.
“I always knew I would do something with art; I was always creating, drawing, painting and building things as a kid,” she says. “My mom got me a table top pottery wheel when I was little, and I thought that was the best thing ever. I remember her making homemade Playdoh for me all the time as well. I can’t say I chose this area to teach, really; it chose me, as I have always felt like art is a part of who I am.”
Entering college in the fall of 1989, McCoy majored in art but wasn’t sure the lifestyle was for her.
“I was really unsure if I could ever be happy living from commission to commission, and I also didn’t feel like I could work as a designer for a corporation,” she says. “I have never sold a piece that I have made. I don’t think I could become that detached from something I made to just sell it to a stranger for money. I feel like I put a little of myself into what I have made and either think it isn’t worthy or just can’t determine a monetary amount worth parting with it. I have given things to family and friends — people that I know will appreciate the object.”
McCoy strongly believes teaching art is important because it instills lessons that can’t be measured on a standardized test.
“Self confidence, the ability to think independently and critically, the ability to problem-solve creatively, collaborative skills such as teamwork, organization and planning, time management, intrapersonal and other social skills.
“The list goes on,” she says. “These are the skills employers look for. Participation in the arts during school helps develop the whole person with skills that will benefit them a lifetime.”
MCoy’s wish for each of her students is to leave her class with an appreciation for the arts and the ability to consider art without being afraid.
“Not everyone who leaves my art class will pursue a career the arts, but I hope they all have the ability to appreciate and support the visual arts throughout their lives,” she says.