Thursday, January 15, 2009


Valley Art Educators Exhibit Their Own Work | Art displayed at the Armory Center for the Arts now through Feb. 22

Written by Diana Martinez | Editor | San Fernando Valley Sun

Wednesday, 14 January 2009 -- LAUSD art teachers from throughout the San Fernando Valley are currently on exhibit at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena.

"An Art Educated Collection" is an exhibit, which showcases the collective work of the many talented artists who teach in San Fernando Valley public schools," said Spike Dolemite, founder of the Arts in Education Aid Council.

Dolomite has been a strong advocate for keeping art education in public schools and said she considers art teachers working in public schools, "heroes."

She points out that teachers often dig deep into their own pockets to bring art supplies into the classroom and is increasingly concerned with the practice to slash art education first as schools are told to cut budgets.


From 3D art forms to paintings, the San Fernando Valley teacher's exhibit at the Armory in Pasadena reflects various mediums.

Through her organization, the Arts in Education Aid Council, it's Dolomite's philosophy that the arts can be restored in public schools in the San Fernando Valley and elsewhere, "one school at a time," and by showcasing the work of public school art teachers increases public awareness and honors teacher's diverse talent in a variety of mediums. One featured artist is Sylmar High school art teacher, Josh Rohan who works with an art academy and the humanitas program at the school, blending art, history and teaming up with other teachers.

"I teach ceramics and then humanitas is the one where I teach art history along side an English and a history teacher. We work at the pace that the history teacher is on.

It's world history. So whatever kind of unit he's on, what ever period of history, then in my class we examine the art of that time."

Rohan's situation at Sylmar High is enviable, far better than many other art teachers who work in public schools who are facing possible layoffs.

"It's a little frightening [to know that teachers are facing possible layoffs, but talking with my principal we have an art grant that's good for three years here so she says we're going to be okay here.

Hopefully we'll be able to ride it out over here. We have five art teachers over here."

As teachers are under increased pressure each year to improve test scores and work with fewer dollars, It's funny because every year they have different programs starting to try and improve student achievement and then there's a crisis and they cut everything and go back to square one. I've been teaching for seven years now and I see the same thing over and over again.


Teacher Jenelle Song and daughter in front of her work inspired by students, titled "Directions."

Having his artwork exhibited said Rohan helps him to give a first hand account to his students about the path for an artist. Like any skill, practice his said is necessary to maintain his skill. Rohan was selected as one of the winners in the juried competition at the Armory.

"That piece [entered in the exhibit]was kind of different for me. Normally, I've been painting, for the last few years, a lot of landscapes and a lot of kind of abstract landscapes. I've always sort of doodled, and drawn characters and people and the human form. A lot of my friends, and even my parents, have been telling me to start painting more figures, to get more people in there instead of just the landscape.

So in that piece I did. I just went of some doodles I did and it came together pretty quickly. So I was surprised that I was selected but I was happy about it."

Rohan said like many artists, he is inspired from a lot of different areas. The piece in the show can even be compared to graffiti art.

"A lot of the kids around the school are into graffiti. It's always a dilemma with them because you want to say that you can appreciate all art forms but at the same time I don't want to encourage anybody to do illegal activities. So you can get yourself in trouble there. For me it was more of a graphic style with really vibrant colors, almost like aerosol art."


Sylmar High School art teacher, Josh Rohan said he didn't realize when he was a student that he could study art in college.

The exhibit is being sponsored by Continental Art Supplies; a family owned, local art supply store that has been in business for 48 years, in partnership with the Armory Center for the Arts. The Arts in Education Aid Council is a nonprofit organization with a goal to restoring the arts to public schools in the Valley.

The Armory Center for the Arts is located at 145 N. Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103. The exhibition will be up through Feb. 22.

Gallery is open from Tuesday - Sunday, noon - 5 p.m. For more information On the show call (818) 610-2050 or visit

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