Anacapa Scholar: Frank Juarez

An inspiring Midwest artist shares his craft.
All year long, the campus welcomes visiting scholars, artists in residence, and other guests who share their special expertise. Some become members of the campus community for extended periods of time, others are here only briefly to deliver lectures or meet with students. 

Recently, we welcomed a Wisconsin artist to campus. 

Visitor: Frank Juarez, artist, photographer, gallery owner, and art department chair at Sheboygan North High School.

What he did on campus: While on campus Mr. Juarez attended and guest-taught Ms. Mahoney’s beginning to advanced studio art classes. In those classes he introduced students to the Midwest Artist Studios Project, which highlights artists living in the Midwest. In addition, he brought the artists into the classroom via videoconference so that students could have the opportunity to interact with them via a critique and/or Q & A.

Mr. Juarez also visited with faculty from other disciplines to help brainstorm ways to bring more creativity into the classroom through interdisciplinary projects. Additionally, Mr. Juarez spent time interacting with the local artists of the Ojai Valley.

His impressions of Thacher:  It is difficult to pinpoint one aspect of my residency that I enjoyed the most. I enjoyed every minute of it. I found students to be friendly, welcoming, and knowledgeable about the campus. The staff made my stay comfortable. The scenery was breathtaking. Coming from a public high school in Wisconsin with a student population of 1500+, a staff of 125+, and teaching about 117 students, Monday-Friday to a school with a student population of 250, a faculty of 50, and teaching about 30 students, Monday-Friday was quite the adjustment. At Sheboygan North High School one thing we do well is to get to know our students; I definitely saw this in the culture of Thacher. 
 
Thacher provides a lot of resources to its students and staff, which contributes to their social, health, and emotional well being. I left Thacher with a sense of rejuvenation and more motivated to continue to discover ways to assist in the success of my students. Having been involved in various arts organizations and former President of the Wisconsin Art Education Association, I have been exposed to many art programs. Under the guidance of Mrs. Elizabeth Mahoney, Thacher has a great art program that does make a difference in how they see the world and to their level of curiosity and enthusiasm about learning. 
 
This has truly been one of my highlights in my 16-year teaching career as an art educator.
 
For more on Mr. Juarez and a day-by-day account of his visit to Thacher, check out his blog.

Our impressions of him:

I was fortunate to get a chance to work with him during our freshmen art class. I thought that the program that he has created at home is a great way to get high school kids involved with the arts. Usually when I think of art and artists, as I'm sure is common with most people, I think of two types of people. I think of the tortured artists, like Van Gogh. The other type of artist would be the classic painter, who always seems to have died before appreciation for their art developed. Previous to the discussion with Mr. Juarez, I would not really think of being an accomplished artist as something attainable for people today. It seems as though we see accomplishment for artists as something that can only be attained after death. Mr. Juarez helped me see that success in art is not limited to past generations, but there are actually many successful artists who create masterpieces in my own community.—Ursula Gately '19
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