Fostering Appreciation for the Arts
Marquette Bateman-Ek loves teaching art. Now that might not be much of a surprise given she works with students all day long, but Mrs. Bateman-Ek did not start her career out with the goal to become a teacher. Instead, she graduated with a social work degree and spent many years in camp ministry. While she enjoyed what she was doing, she felt there was something missing. “When you’re a creative person, you have to do creative things. I think that’s a part of how God feeds your soul. I was missing that component,” Mrs. Bateman-Ek remarks. So, she took her many years of working with students and her love for art and set out to see if she could combine the two into a teaching career.
Fast forward 17 years, and Mrs. Bateman-Ek is grateful she went down the path she did to become an art teacher at New Life Academy. A philosophy she holds in her art department is: “I’m not trying to create artists. I’m trying to create people who appreciate art. And if they appreciate art then they can foster the arts and support those who are naturally gifted and talented within those areas. I think everyone has the skill to draw and paint better than they think. We’re all innately creative because God created us that way.”
Mrs. Bateman-Ek says there’s no shortage of inspiration to draw from for her work. “I love art history, museums, and the outdoors. Just looking at the natural environment and thinking of the creator God individualizing each piece of creation drives me to create because this was made for us. I also love how each student brings their own mark or ideas to an art project. I can assign the same project to every student, and I’ll get 20 different outcomes. That’s the beautiful thing about art.”
That beauty can be seen around the school, as Mrs. Bateman-Ek frequently displays her students’ art projects and collections. Many students mention that it feels like an art museum, especially when large scale portraits hang from the walls. “People are happier when they look at art. A big goal for me is that my students understand that their artistic skills can be improved upon with practice. I want my students to be astounded at what they’re able to produce. I want them to be proud of what they do.”
We’re grateful for the role that Mrs. Bateman-Ek plays at New Life Academy and how she inspires students to create something beautiful every day.