Gina James Pritchard has a deep-seated passion for art, and this year she began sharing that passion with the students at Rolling Green Elementary School.
This is Pritchard’s first teaching assignment after graduating from the University of Northern Iowa. The Altoona native majored in art education and minored in art history.
Pritchard’s interest in art started when she was in high school, and it has become an integral part of her life.
“It feeds my soul,” she says. “I love making art.”
Pritchard works in mixed media, using collages, pen and ink and acrylic paint.
“A lot of my work is about my connection to the natural world,” she says.
Pritchard participated in the Des Moines Arts Festival this summer as an Emerging Iowa Artist. In November she will participate in Decorous Art and Poetry Night at the Des Moines Social Club.
Being able to share her passion for art with others is what led Pritchard into teaching.
“I want to be able to inspire that passion in others,” she says.
The kindergarten through fifth grade students are ready for inspiration.
“These kids are very, very open-minded kids,” she says. “They all have a great way of viewing things that shows they can be creative and be working and producing at the same time. I’ve been very impressed with their fearlessness and their uniqueness.”
Rolling Green has a year-round class schedule, so Pritchard has been with her students since late July. Her biggest surprise during her first year?
“They will take simple materials and make something fantastic,” she says. “They will completely blow my mind and make something completely different that what I had envisioned.”
Pritchard loves how her first teaching assignment is going.
“I feel like I’m doing what I was meant to be doing with my life,” she says. “I’ve been very happy with how Urbandale as a district has been able to start me out and get me going in the process.”